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Melkite Greek Catholic Church Information Center

His Beatitude, Gregorios III, Patriarch / Batriyark of the cities of Antioch, Alexandria and Jerusalem, of Cilicia, Syria, Iberia, Arabia Mesopotamia, Pentapolis, Ethiopia, of all of Egypt and the entire East, Father of Fathers, Pastor of Pastors, Bishop of Bishops, the Thirteenth of The Holy Apostles at the Latin Synod of Bishops, Sept. 30 - Oct. 28, 2001

The 10th general assembly of the Latin Synod of Bishops met in Rome Sept. 30 - Oct. 28. It focused on the theme "The Bishop: Servant of the Gospel of Jesus Christ for the Hope of the World" or role of the diocesan bishop in the universal Church. 247 bishops were active participants. There were 7 patriarch of the Eastern churches, 2 Latin patriarchs, 61 cardinals, 103 archbishops, and 41 presidents of episcopal conferences.

His Beatitude, Gregorios III, Patriarch / Batriyark of the cities of Antioch, Alexandria and Jerusalem, of Cilicia, Syria, Iberia, Arabia Mesopotamia, Pentapolis, Ethiopia, of all of Egypt and the entire East, Father of Fathers, Pastor of Pastors, Bishop of Bishops, the Thirteenth of The Holy Apostles's early statement

Greek-Melkite Patriarch´s Statement to Synod Catholic World News

Number: 16539 Date: 05-Oct-01 Type: B Code:

VATICAN, Oct 5, 01 (CWNews.com) - The Synod of Bishops continued deliberations on Friday, hearing a wide variety of messages from the prelates who made short addresses to the general congregation.

The bishops' addresses touched on different and sometimes striking themes:

...

- Melkite Catholic Patriarch Gregory III Laham of Antioch cautioned the Synod members against making comparisons between a national episcopal conference and a Synod of the Eastern Church, since the Eastern synods are self-governing bodies, whereas the episcopal conferences are merely administrative organizations created to help the individual diocesan bishops.

...

His Beatitude, Gregorios III, Patriarch / Batriyark of the cities of Antioch, Alexandria and Jerusalem, of Cilicia, Syria, Iberia, Arabia Mesopotamia, Pentapolis, Ethiopia, of all of Egypt and the entire East, Father of Fathers, Pastor of Pastors, Bishop of Bishops, the Thirteenth of The Holy Apostles´s Statement to Synod

Greek-Melkite Patriarch´s Statement to Synod ZENIT - The World Seen From Rome

Code: ZE01102623

Date: 2001-10-26

Greek-Melkite Patriarch´s Statement to Synod

"The Way to Go Together in the Third Millennium"

VATICAN CITY, OCT. 26, 2001 (Zenit.org).- Greek-Melkite Patriarch Gregory III Laham of Antioch sent a letter to participants in the Synod of Bishop, at the conclusion of the assembly. Below is a translation of the letter.

* * *

Dear Brothers in the Lord!

It has been a great pleasure for me to meet with you, my brothers, in this Synod, to know you, to collaborate with you, to dialogue, to hear news of the different local Churches, in a word, to exchange points of view with you.

We Orientals are a particular group in the Synod, as you no doubt noted from our different dress and head wear, but also in our way of thinking and in our specific concerns. You must also have noted that we have a certain particular position in the context of the universal Church, as regards the concept of Church, ecclesiology, ecumenism, and relations between East and West.

My position is in line with that of my predecessors. In this context, I would particularly like to name my predecessor of blessed memory, Maximos IV Saegh. He was one of the greatest men at Vatican Council II who smoothed the way so that Latin Christians could also pray in their mother tongues. He was also the one who proposed the creation of Episcopal Conferences and promoted the idea of the Synod of Bishops during the Council, which has contributed decisively to the beginning of decentralization.

My predecessor of blessed memory, Gregory II, was also one of the great men at Vatican Council I. Both always spoke on behalf of the great absent one, the Orthodox Church. It is like this today, too. We Eastern Catholic Patriarchs and Bishops, particularly those of the Byzantine rite, have tenaciously and consistently preserved the great legacy of Orthodoxy and its meaning in the heart of the Latin Church.

It is with great pleasure that I see that you, too, have discovered these aspects. I think, however, that the Synod might only be the beginning. It is because of this that I place the accent on the Greek word synodos at the beginning of the letter: syn-odos, the way to go together in the Third Millennium.

The reason why I wish to have contacts with you is, above all, because we are brothers in the Lord. We are in community with you as pastors of the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church, whether of Eastern or Western tradition.

In the second place, I also wish to give you some theological and ecclesiological input, perhaps in the form of documents of the local Church, to further the intra-ecclesial dialogue, an imperative today.

Third, we are always keen to have you inform us about the faithful of our emigrant Church, who perhaps are in your diocese, so that we can take pastoral measures to maintain their Eastern tradition or bring them back to it. With this kind of help from you, perhaps we can send a priest for these faithful, who for the time being would naturally be under your jurisdiction. In this context and for the future, one could also think of the eventual constitution of a pastoral unity of the Eastern Churches or -- if circumstances call for it -- the creation of an exarchy or even of an eparchy, as has happened in some countries.

Lastly, I wish to assure you that my best wishes go with you, and that I always remember you in my prayer. May this be the beginning or reinforcement of continual contacts for many years, "eis polla eta!"

In this spirit I also wish to give you the various addresses of our different houses and institutions in the East, where you are always welcome, alone or with a group, privately or as a pilgrim.

Wherever possible, we readily offer you hospitality. But even if we do not have the possibility to offer you hospitality, we will try to organize something. We will willingly make the effort so that a trip to the roots of Christianity will be possible for you.

The Holy Father has said that the Church must breathe again with two lungs; from here stems the meaning and importance of our mission, we who are in full communion with the Church of Rome, but who at the same time have remained and remain faithful to the East and to Orthodoxy.

The Holy Father once coined a beautiful expression, that the words of the West have need of the words of the East, so that the world will be able to receive the Word of God. The West must take a step toward the East, because it is said: "ex Oriente lux" (light from the East).

Our mission consists in contributing more maturity and thus smoothing the way to full unity slowly and patiently, but also with perseverance, so that "we will all be united, [...] so that the world will believe" (John 17:21) and I wish to add: so that the world will have hope.

Here is the list of our addresses:

Holy Land:

Greek-Catholic Patriarchate
P.O. Box 14130
Jaffa Gate
91141 Jerusalem
Tel: 00972-2-6271968
Fax: 00972-26286652

Egypt:

Greek-Catholic Patriarchate
Daher Street 16
11271 Cairo
Tel: 0020-(0)2-5904697 / 5905790
Fax: 0020-(0)2-393946

Syria:

Greek-Melkite Catholic Patriarchate
Bab-Charqi-Damascus
P.O. Box 22249
Tel: 00963-11-5433129 / 5433130 / 5433131
Fax: 00963-11-5431266

Lebanon:

Greek-Melkite Catholic Patriarchate
Raboueh-Antelias
P.O. Box 70071 Antelias
Tel: 00961-4-413111 / 417566
Fax: 00961-4-525655
E-mail: gcp@pgc-lb.org

POPE WELCOMES CATHOLIC PATRIARCHS PARTICIPATING IN SYNOD

Press Release on Holy See's Web Site

VATICAN CITY, OCT 26, 2001 (VIS) - John Paul II this morning welcomed the six Catholic patriarchs who are participating in the Synod of Bishops and told them that their "presence at this meeting ... expresses in an especially meaningful way the catholicity of the Church."

He received Cardinal Stephanos II Ghattas, patriarch of Alexandria of the Copts, Egypt; Ignace Pierre VIII Abdel-Ahad, patriarch of Antioch of the Syrians, Lebanon; Gregoire III Laham, patriarch of Antioch of the Greek- Melkites, Syria; Cardinal Nasrallah Pierre Sfeir, patriarch of Antioch of the Maronites, Lebanon; Raphael I Bidawid, patriarch of Babylon of the Chaldeans, Iraq and Nerses Bedros XIX Tarmouni, patriarch of Cilicia of the Armenians, Lebanon.

"I happily welcome this occasion," said the Holy Father, "to express once again my spiritual closeness to your trials and to those of the populations entrusted to your pastoral care. Together let us pray so that the serious problems that you must face daily may find a ready and satisfying solution. At this time, my thoughts go to the land made holy by the presence and preaching of the Redeemer. The land in which He shed His blood for the salvation of the world and from which, when He arose from the dead, He sent His apostles to the world.

"I assure you," the Pope added, "that every day I follow with close attention the events involving the peoples of the Middle East and, in communion with the entire Church, I pray daily that we might see the dawn of a lasting and honorable peace for everyone. In this moment of intense fraternal communion, I ask you to extend to the clergy, consecrated persons and all the faithful an expression of my most cordial greetings." AC/APPEAL PEACE/CATHOLIC PATRIARCHS VIS 011026 (300)

Pope Welcomes Syrian Orthodox Patriarch Catholic World News

Pope Tells Catholic Patriarchs His Prayers With Them

Number: 16684 Date: 26-Oct-01 Type: B Code:

VATICAN, Oct 26, 01 (CWNews.com) - On Friday, as he met with a group of Eastern Catholic patriarchs, Pope John Paul II reiterated his concern for the security of the Middle East, and his keen desire for a workable peace agreement there.

At a time of world crisis, the Pontiff said, "my thoughts are directed toward the land that was sanctified by the presence and teaching of our Redeemer." He said that he prays daily for peace in the region, and for the people affected by the continuing violence and injustice there.

The Holy Father said that he would pray for the Eastern prelates, and for "the grave problems with which you must deal every day-- that a rapid and satisfactory solution may be found."

The Pontiff met with the patriarchs who were in Rome to participate in the Synod of Bishops, on the final day of the Synod's meetings. The Catholic patriarchs present were Michel Sabbah of Jerusalem (Latin); Stephanos II Ghattas of Alexandria (Coptic); Ignace Pierre VIII Abdel-Ahad of Antioch (Syrian); Gregory III Laham of Antioch (Melkite); Nasrallah Sfeir of Antioch (Maronite); Raphael I Bidawid of Babylon (Chaldean); and Nerses Bedros XIX Tarmouni of Cilicia (Armenian)

At Audience, Eastern Patriarchs Hear Plea for Mideast Peace ZENIT - The World Seen From Rome

Code: ZE01102604

Date: 2001-10-26

At Audience, Eastern Patriarchs Hear Plea for Mideast Peace

VATICAN CITY, OCT. 26, 2001 (Zenit.org).- John Paul II appealed for a "lasting and honorable peace" this morning when he received in audience six Catholic patriarchs of Eastern Churches.

Some of the leaders were from the Middle East, which gave the Pope the chance to address the situation in the land "made holy by the preaching of the Redeemer."

"I can assure you that I personally follow daily all the vicissitudes in which the peoples of the Middle East region are involved and, in communion with the whole Church, I pray daily for the rising dawn of a lasting and honorable peace for all," the Holy Father said.

In response to a 1998 papal request, the Eastern leaders gave John Paul II proposals for the concrete living of relations between a patriarch and the Bishop of Rome.

The patriarchs´ proposals will be important in finding solutions to the issue of papal ministry, which divides Catholics and Orthodox.

"The written proposals you gave me will be the object of careful reflection in order to take advantage of any aspect that might contribute to a more effective presence of the Church in today´s world," the Holy Father told the patriarchs.

The patriarchs are attending the Synod of Bishops, which ends Saturday.

2 Eastern Leaders Talk About Unity with Orthodox

2 Eastern Leaders Talk About Unity with Orthodox ZENIT - The World Seen From Rome

Code: ZE01102521

Date: 2001-10-25

2 Eastern Leaders Talk About Unity with Orthodox

Ukrainian Cardinal More Cautious About Prospects

VATICAN CITY, OCT. 25, 2001 (Zenit.org).- Two Eastern-rite Catholic leaders hope their communities will be a bridge of unity between the Roman and Orthodox Churches. But they showed different degrees of optimism on how fast that will happen.

Gregory III Laham, patriarch of Antioch of the Greek-Melkites, and Cardinal Lubomyr Husar, archbishop major of Lviv, Ukraine, met with journalists Tuesday to explain their Churches´ situation and eventual steps that might be taken after the Synod of Bishops. They are attending the synod, which ends Saturday.

Patriarch Gregory, whose see is in Damascus, was pleased with the welcome given by the synod to Eastern-rite Catholics (who have the same origin as the Orthodox, but are in communion with the Holy See of Rome), and noted a certain willingness "to listen to the voice of this little Eastern flock."

The issue of the relations between the Catholic and Orthodox Churches has been addressed at the synod. John Paul II has promoted the ties.

Gregory III announced that he wrote a letter, which was distributed to the synod participants, in which he proposed the reinforcement of relations between Middle Eastern Catholic Churches, and those of Eastern Europe and India, for the purpose of full unity with Rome.

"The synod does not end in Rome; we wish to walk together in the third millennium," the patriarch said.

Cardinal Husar, who must contend with Moscow´s Orthodox Patriarch Alexy II, was somewhat pessimistic. The "step from the ear to the heart might take longer and be more difficult than imagined," the Ukrainian cardinal cautioned.

The cardinal said he was disappointed "by the position of the patriarch of Moscow, who continues to speak of the ´Uniates´ -- a pejorative term used by Orthodox, who refer to Eastern-rite Catholics as a ´problem.´"

In fact, the Russian patriarch was categorically opposed to the papal visit to Ukraine last June.

According to the Ukrainian cardinal, "the closer we get to a solution of the problem between the Catholic Church and the Orthodox, the more excuses are found not to come to an agreement. Patriarch Alexy accuses Eastern-rite Catholics of using violence against Orthodox, but we are not aware of any such case."

"Because of this, we have asked him to point out at least one such case, but he has not given us an answer," the cardinal concluded.

Gregory III reported on progress in "the dialogue between patriarchs and the Pope, which is developing very well," and recalled that "in 1998 the Holy Father received all the patriarchs of the Middle East in audience." On that occasion, the Pontiff asked for support to have his Petrine ministry better understood.

The patriarchs responded by preparing a 20-page document, including proposals to develop relations between patriarchal Churches and the Apostolic See. The Holy Father said the document would be "studied with special care."

As John Paul II states in his encyclical "Ut Unum Sint," the papal ministry is a critical point for progress in the ecumenical dialogue. The Pontiff himself initiated a debate with the other Churches to find ways to apply his ministry, which might be accepted by the Orthodox, but without undermining Christ´s mandate to his Apostle Peter.

Gregory III announced that a conference of Eastern Catholic Churches will be held Nov. 19-23 in Rome, organized by the Oriental Institute.

Eastern Prelates Say Their Traditions Important In Synod Discussion

Eastern Prelates Say Their Traditions Important In Synod Discussion Catholic World News

Number: 16648 Date: 23-Oct-01 Type: B Code:

VATICAN, Oct 23, 01 (CWNews.com) - As the Synod of Bishops moves toward a close, two prelates from Eastern Catholic churches spoke to the press in Rome today, emphasizing the importance of the Eastern tradition in the bishops' discussions.

Patriarch Gregory III Laham, the head of the Greek Melkite Catholic Church, acknowledged that the Eastern churches were not heavily represented at the Synod. "But the influence is important," he said. "We are here to provide some sense of the existence of the Orthodox who are also Catholics."

Cardinal Lubomyr Husar, the Major Archbishop of the Ukrainian Catholic Church, said that "Latin paternalism" is gradually becoming less pronounced in the Vatican's approach to the Eastern churches. And he expressed satisfaction at the growing recognition that the Eastern Catholic tradition is "not a museum-piece, but a living part of the Church which should be respected for herself."

His Beatitude, Gregorios III, Patriarch / Batriyark of the cities of Antioch, Alexandria and Jerusalem, of Cilicia, Syria, Iberia, Arabia Mesopotamia, Pentapolis, Ethiopia, of all of Egypt and the entire East, Father of Fathers, Pastor of Pastors, Bishop of Bishops, the Thirteenth of The Holy Apostles Offers Arab Christian Perspective on World Events

Speaking on 23 Oct. during a break in the sessions of the Synod of Bishops at the Vatican, Melkite Patriarch Gregory III said "more development and work" must be done in the Holy Land "to guarantee peace. Only in this way can fundamentalism, radicalism and terrorism be combated." He added that "the anger of funda-mentalists is also directed against moderate Arab leaders," and that "Islam is not compact; it differs from one place to another." He added that in Syria "Relations between Muslims and Christians have improved since the attacks on the United States. Dialogue is accelerating in response to terrorism." The opinion of Patriarch Gregory III is important to the West because of the prominence of the Melkite Church in the Middle East and because he was patriarchal vicar in Jerusalem for 26 years.

Syrian Catholics and Orthodox to Mark Easter on Same Day

Syrian Catholics and Orthodox to Mark Easter on Same Day ZENIT - The World Seen From Rome

Code: ZE01101906

Date: 2001-10-19

Syrian Catholics and Orthodox to Mark Easter on Same Day

John Paul II Proposed This in Damascus

VATICAN CITY, OCT. 19, 2001 (Zenit.org).- It´s official: Catholics and Orthodox will celebrate Easter together in Syria, beginning next year.

"I signed the decree at the beginning of September for Greek Catholic faithful in Syria," Greek-Melkite Patriarch Gregory III told the online edition of Inside the Vatican magazine.

On May 5, when he was visiting Damascus, John Paul II proposed that Christians in the East and West celebrate Easter on the same day, as a visible sign of the quest for full unity.

The difference in Easter dates was the result of Pope Gregory XIII´s reform of the liturgical calendar in 1582. Eastern Christians, most of them Orthodox, continued to calculate the date of Easter according to the old Julian calendar.

Now, the 350,000 Greek Catholics in Syria will return to celebrating Easter according to the Julian calendar. From 1724 to 1857 their Church used the Julian calendar and then changed to the Roman calendar.

The new move is an effort to build better relations with the Orthodox. "Seeing the necessity of the local Church, I find it´s better that we go back to the other calendar," Gregory III explained.

The patriarch said he hopes that other rites will follow and that eventually the whole Catholic Church will celebrate Easter together with the Orthodox.


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Melkite Greek Catholic Church Information Center
Martha Liles
Web URL address: Melkite Greek Catholic Church Information Center or http://www.mliles.com/melkite/
E-mail: mliles@mliles.com or mliles@mliles.com

Melkite Greek Catholic Church Information Center is an unofficial Melkite Greek Catholic Web site and has not been reviewed or approved by any Melkite clergy person.
Melkite Greek Catholic Church Information Center contains a range of World Wide Web sites on Melkite faith, belief, practice, history, etc. Melkite Greek Catholic Church Information Center does not endorse any World Wide Web site nor takes any responsibility for the contents of any World Wide Web site. Melkite Greek Catholic Church Information Center offers these links with the understanding that Melkite Greek Catholic Church Information Center can not vouch for any of the contents on each site. Listing a site does not indicate acceptance nor endorsement of the doctrines / ideas / theology of the World Wide Web site. Please remember that Web sites will change their content and their location. It is the user's responsibility to decide whether or not the content on a particular World Wide Web site is appropripate.

Melkite Greek Catholic Church Information Center is dedicated to my cousins: Bucky (Richard C. Liles) and Shirley (Shirley Jean Liles Buck). Bucky fell asleep in the Lord on Dec. 12, 2000 and Shirley fell asleep in the Lord on Nov. 8, 2001.
O God of all spirits and of all flesh, who have destroyed death, overcome the devil, and given life to the world: grant, O Lord, to the souls of your servants Bucky and Shirley, who has departed from this life, that it may rest in a place of light, in a place of happiness, in a place of peace, where there is no pain, no grief, no sighing. And since You are a gracious God and the Lover of Mankind, forgive him/her every sin he/she has committed by thought, or word, or deed, for there is not a man who lives and does not sin : You alone are without sin, your righteousness is everlasting, and your word is true. You are the Resurrection and the Life, and the repose of your departed servants Bucky and Shirley. O Christ our God, and we send up glory to You, together with your eternal Father and your all-holy, good and life-givng Spirit, now and always and for ages upon ages. Amen.

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