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His Beatitude, Patriarch Gregorios III,

A new Patriarch for the Melkite Greek Catholic Church was elected on November 29, 2000. He is His Beatitude, Gregory III Laham. The new Patriarch was Archbishop Lutfi Laham, formerly Patriarchal Vicar in Jerusalem. May God Grant him Many Years! He was granted Communion by Pope John Paul II on Dec. 5, 2000.

Text of letter Date: Friday, 15 December, 2000, From: Bishop John Elya, To:His Flock, Subject: New Patriarch / Batiryark of Antioch and all the East

By the grace of God, at the Electoral Synod of the Patriarchal Melkite Greek Catholic Church held at Rabweh, Lebanon on November 27-29, 2000, the Most Reverend Archbishop Lutfy Laham, Patriarchal Vicar of Jerusalem was elected as the new Patriarch / Batiryark of Antioch and all the East. The new Patriarch took the name of Gregory III, following the famous Patriarch Gregory II Youssef, the great champion of Eastern traditions. Patriarch Maximos V Hakim had tendered his resignation to the Holy Synod on November 22, 2000. The attached picture shows the new Patriarch Gregory III greeting his predecessor and asking for his blessing before the solemn Installation at the Patriarchal Chapel on November 29, 2000.

New Patriarch Takes the Name Gregory III

His Beatitude, Gregory III Laham is the name taken by the new Melkite-Greek Catholic Patriarch / Batiryark of Antioch & All the East, of Alexandria, and of Jerusalem. The last Patriarch Gregory reigned from 1864 to 1897. He took a strong stand against the declaration of papal infallibility at the First Vatican Council in 1870.

The Holy Synod of the bishops of the Melkite Church elected Archbishop Lutfi Laham, Patriarchal Vicar in Jerusalem, to succeed H.B. Maximos V Hakim, who retired on 22 November, the 33rd anniversary of his election.

The new Patriarch was enthroned immediately. He sent a letter announcing his election to the Pope, who responded in a letter affirming communion between the Melkite Catholic and Roman Catholic Churches.

The new Patriarch takes office immediately. He will send a letter announcing his accession to the throne to the Pope, who will send a letter affirming communion between the Melkite Catholic and Roman Catholic Churches .

Pope John Paul II Sends Letter to Our New Patriarch

The text below is from the Holy See's Web Site.

LETTERA DEL SANTO PADRE AL PATRIARCA DI ANTIOCHIA DEI GRECO-MELKITI CATTOLICI PER LA CONCESSIONE DELLA "COMUNIONE ECCLESIASTICA" , 09.12.2000

LETTERA DEL SANTO PADRE AL PATRIARCA DI ANTIOCHIA DEI GRECO-MELKITI CATTOLICI PER LA CONCESSIONE DELLA "COMUNIONE ECCLESIASTICA"

Il Santo Padre ha concesso la comunione ecclesiastica richiestaGli da Sua Beatitudine Grégoire III, canonicamente eletto Patriarca di Antiochia dei Greco-Melkiti Cattolici nel Sinodo dei Vescovi della Chiesa greco-melkita cattolica tenutosi a Raboueh (Libano) il 29 novembre 2000.

Pubblichiamo di seguito la Lettera che il Santo Padre Giovanni Paolo II ha inviato al Patriarca:

À Sa Béatitude Grégoire III
Patriarche d'Antioche des Grecs-Melkites

L'heureuse annonce de l'élection de Votre Béatitude au Siège patriarcal d'Antioche des Grecs-Melkites est pour moi source de joie dans le Seigneur. Grâce soit rendue à Dieu Tout-Puissant pour ce don fait à son Église dans 1a personne de Votre Béatitude en qualité de Pasteur et de guide de la bien-aimée communauté grecque-melkite!

Avec mes chaleureuses félicitations et l'assurance d'une charité toute fraternelle, j'accueille de grand cœur, vénérable Frère, votre demande de communion ecclésiastique, conformément à l'usage et au vœu de toute l'Église catholique. Puisse le Seigneur vous assister, Béatitude, tout au long de votre nouveau ministère, que je souhaite des plus féconds, en union avec nos Frères dans l'épiscopat, les Pères du Synode patriarcal! Ainsi, la Parole qui sauve sera sans cesse proclamée, vécue et célébrée avec amour selon les antiques traditions spirituelles et liturgiques de l'Église grecque-melkite, pour la plus grande consolation des âmes confiées à votre paternelle sollicitude, tout particulièrement à l'aube de ce troisième millénaire, et pour le bien de l'Église universelle.

Je vous assure, Béatitude, de ma prière instante et confiante auprès du Père de miséricorde afin que, par l'intercession de la Toute Sainte Mère de Dieu, la Vierge Marie, et de tous les saints, particulièrement de ceux, innombrables, qui ont magnifiquement illuminé l'Orient chrétien, votre mission patriarcale soit comblée de ses dons les plus abondants.

Je vous adresse, Béatitude, un baiser très fraternel ainsi qu'à tous les membres du Saint Synode, accordant à vous-même et à tous, Évêques, prêtres, religieux, religieuses et fidèles de votre patriarcat, mon affectueuse Bénédiction apostolique.

Du Vatican, le 5 décember 2000

IOANNES PAULUS II

 Sua Beatitudine Grégoire III

S.B. Grégoire III (Loutfi Laham, B.S.) è nato in Daraya, arcieparchia di Damas dei Greco-Melkiti il 15 dicembre 1933.

E' stato ordinato presbitero il 15 febbraio 1959.

Eletto alla Sede titolare arcivescovile di Tarso dei Greco-Melkiti il 9 settembre 1981, ha ricevuto l'ordinazione episcopale il 27 novembre 1981, con l'incarico di Ausiliare e Protosincello di Gerusalemme dei Greco-Melkiti.

Nel Sinodo dei Vescovi della Chiesa Greco-Melkita, in data 29 novembre 2000 è stato canonicamente eletto Patriarca di Antiochia dei Greco-Melkiti, succedendo a Sua Beatitudine Maximos V, che aveva presentato la rinuncia all'ufficio patriarcale per motivi di salute. Il nuovo Patriarca ha assunto il nome di Grégoire III. Il giorno successivo all'elezione Sua Beatitudine ha chiesto al Santo Padre la "comunione ecclesiastica".

[02778-03.01] [Texte original: Français]

The text below is from the Holy See's Web Site.

9-Dec-2000 -- Vatican Information Service LETTER TO NEW PATRIARCH OF ANTIOCH OF GREEK-MELKITES

9-Dec-2000 -- Vatican Information Service

VATICAN CITY, DEC 9, 2000 (VIS) - Made public today was a Letter from John Paul II to His Beatitude, Gregory III, canonically elected as patriarch of Antioch of Greek-Melkite Catholics in the Holy Synod of Bishops of the Greek-Melkite Catholic Church, which was held in Charfet, Lebanon on November 29, 2000.

In the Letter, written in French and dated December 5, the Pope wrote: "With my warm congratulations and the assurance of an entirely fraternal charity, I welcome with a full heart, venerable brother, your request for Ecclesiastical Communion, in conformation to the usage and desire of the entire Catholic Church. May the Lord assist you, Beatitude, throughout your new ministry, which I hope to be most fruitful, in union with our brothers in the episcopacy, the Fathers of the Patriarchal Synod!"

Pope John Paul II Sends Letter to Our New Patriarch, Shortened English Version

On December 5 Pope John Paul II sent a letter to His Beatitude, Gregory III, newly-elected Melkite-Greek Catholic Patriarch / Batiryark of Antioch. The Pope wrote: "With my warm congratulations and the assurance of an entirely fraternal charity, I welcome with a full heart, venerable brother, your request for Ecclesiastical Communion, in conformation to the usage and desire of the entire Catholic Church. May the Lord assist you, Beatitude, through-out your new ministry, which I hope to be most fruitful, in union with our brothers in the episcopacy, the Fathers of the Patriarchal Synod!"

Catholic World News Feature [NOV. 29, 2000]

Number: 14438 Date: 11-Dec-00 Type: U Code:

Pope Recognizes New Melkite Patriarch

VATICAN, Dec. 11, 00 (CWNews.com) -- Pope John Paul II has confirmed the election of Patriarch Gregory III as leader of the Melkite Greek Catholic Church, and extended "full ecclesiastical communion" in a letter dated December 9.

The new Melkite Patriarch, Loutfi Laham, takes the place of Patriarch Maximos V Hakim, who resigned at the age of 92 after a series of health problems. Upon his election by the Melkite synod meeting in Lebanon on November 29, the new Patriarch promptly asked the Pope to extend full communion-- a request that prompted the Pope's positive response.

In his message, the Pope praised the "ancient spiritual and liturgical traditions" of the Eastern Church. As the Melkite Patriarch of Antioch, Gregory III presides over an Eastern-rite Church that includes five dioceses in Syria, seven in Lebanon, and one each in Jordan, Israel, Brazil, Canada, Mexico, Australia, and the United States. There are about 1.2 million Melkite Catholics.

Catholic World News Feature [NOV. 29, 2000]

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* NEW PATRIARCH FOR MELKITE GREEK CATHOLIC CHURCH

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NEW PATRIARCH FOR MELKITE GREEK CATHOLIC CHURCH

BEIRUT, Nov. 29, 00 (CWNews.com) -- Archbishop Loutfi Laham has been elected as the new Patriarch of the Melkite Catholic Church.

After his election by the Melkite synod, which is meeting in Lebanon this week, the new Patriarch chose the name Gregory III. He becomes the Patriarch / Batiryark of Antioch for the Melkite Church, and the leader of the 1 million faithful who belong to the Eastern-rite Church. The new patriarch is fully expected to obtain the prompt recognition of Pope John Paul II, and to extend the full communion between the Melkite Church and the Holy See.

Patriarch Gregory replaces Patriarch Maximos V Hakim, who was forced to resign at the age of 92 after suffering a serious stroke earlier this year.

The new Melkite spiritual leader was born in Daraya, near Damascus, in Syria in 1933. He was ordained to the priesthood in 1959, and to the episcopate in 1981.

The Melkite faithful are concentrated in the Middle East, in Syria, Lebanon, and the Holy Land; but there are also substantial numbers in the United States and Canada.

Biography

His Beatitude, Patriarch Gregory III was born in Dec. 15, 1933 in Daraya, Syria, near Damascus. He entered the Monastery of the Holy Savior in Lebanon in 1943 and made perpetual vows in 1954. He received his baccalaureate degree in Lebanon before finishing his studies in Rome. He was ordained on February 15, 1959. In 1961, he was granted a PhD in Oriental Theology from the Oriental Institute in Rome. He taught at Holy Savior and at the University of the Holy Spirit, Kaslik. In 1974, when Patriarchal Vicar in Jerusalem Archbishop Hilarion Capucci was arrested by Israeli authorities, Fr Laham became Patriarchal Administrator. He was appointed Archbishop of Damascus on Sept. 9, 1981. He was consecrated bishop on Nov. 27, 1981 by Patriarch Maximos V with Archbishops Saba Youakim and Francis Abou-Mokh. He was appointed Patriarchal Vicar of Jerusalem and Titular Archbishop of Tarsus. Patriarch Gregory III speaks Arabic, English, French, German, Greek, Italian, and Latin. His many publications include Al-Wahadat Quarterly (1962-1981); four volumes of liturgical prayers in Arabic; Introduction to Spiritual Life in the Byzantine Rite (in Arabic, 1990); and The Voice of the Shepherd (Arabic sermons).

While an archbishop, Patriarch Gregory III wrote: "The greatest ecumenical initiative of our Church is the one taken in 1996 to unify the two branches, Catholic and Orthodox, of the Patriarchate of Antioch." He went on to call upon "the Heads of the Churches, to think seriously of launching a prophetic, ecumenical initiative on the occasion of the Great Jubilee."

Synod of Bishops October 2001

His Beatitude, Patriarch Gregory III Laham at Latin Synod of Bishops, Sept. 30 - Oct. 28, 2001

First Visit of Patriarch Gregory III to Pope John Paul II

Patriarch visit Pope

Patriarch Visites USA for Three Weeks in May

Our Melkite Patriarch, His Beatitude, Gregory III, visited the US from 11-30 May. He presided over the Fourth Congress of the Melkite Bishops of the Countries of Emigration, meeting in Boston, in Detroit, and in Cleveland. Patriarch Gregory also visited Southern California and Miami. His Beatitude met with our clergy in Southern California and in Boston, listening to the unique concerns of our Church in the USA.

New Patriarch Will End USA Visit This Week

His Beatitude, Gregory III, our Melkite Patriarch, is visiting the US for three weeks. He presided over the Fourth Congress of the Melkite Bishops of the Countries of Emigration, meeting 11-12 May in Boston, 13-15 May in Detroit, and 16-21 May in Cleveland. Patriarch Gregory visited southern California 21-25 May, and will be in Miami, Florida, 25-30 May. He was the guest of honor at a banquet hosted by St Ann Church, North Hollywood, CA, on Wednesday 23 May. Ear-lier that afternoon, His Beatitude met with clergy of the Southern California area, as he had met with New England-area clergy in Boston, listening to the unique concerns of our Church in the USA.

New Patriarch Will Visit USA in May

His Beatitude, Gregory III, Melkite Patriarch / Batiryark of Antioch and All the East, of Alexandria, and of Jerusalem will visit the United States in May. He will preside over the 4th Congress of Melkite Bishops Outside the Patriarchal Territory. The bishops will meet 11-12 May in Boston, 16-21 May in Cleveland, and 23-25 May in Detroit.
Also, His Beatitude, Gregory III will dedicate the new church building of Our Lady of Redemption parish in Warren, MI, near Detroit. Further, His Beatitude, Gregory III will preside over the 100th anniversary celebration for St Elias Church in Brooklyn, Ohio, a suburb of Cleveland. The event will take place on 20 May, 2001. St Elias Church contributed $1000 to our New Home Campaign last year.
Patriarch Gregory III will visit St Ann Church in North Hollywood, CA, from 21 to 25 May. He will be the guest of honor at a banquet hosted by St Ann Church, North Hollywood, CA, on Wednesday 23 May. The banquet at 7:30 pm will follow a Divine Liturgy celebrated by His Beatitude at 6 pm. He will not be travelling to Northern California.
Finally, Patriarch Gregory III will visit Miami, Florida, 25-30 May. Patriarch Gregory will rededicate St Jude Church after recent renovations.

Patriarch's 2001 Visit to the Eparchy of Newton(3/27/01 - revised 05/06/01) His Beatitude, Gregory III Laham Visits the Eparchy of Newton Melkite Greek Catholic Church Eparchy of Newton

Links

The Patriarchal Head of the Greek Melkite Catholic Church His Beatitude, Patriarch Patriarch Gregory III Melkite Greek Catholic Church Eparchy of Newton

Synod Elects New Patriarch(11/00) New Melkite Patriarch Gregory the Third Melkite Greek Catholic Church Eparchy of Newton

Canadian Catholic iEnchiridion, Patriarchs of the East

Patriarch Gregory III St Cyril Church, Heliopolis. Cairo, Egypt.

Picture of Patriarch Gregory III

His Beatitude,  Patriarch Gregory III (on left) with His Beatitude,  Patriarch Maximos V Hakim (on right)
His Beatitude, Patriarch Gregory III (on left) with His Beatitude, Patriarch Maximos V Hakim (on right) [an error occurred while processing this directive]
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