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First Visit of 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 (Patriarcat Grec Melkite Catholique) to His Holiness Ioannes Paulus II (John Paul II) - General Audience on Monday, 12 February 2001

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, the Bishops, the Priests and the Publics attended a General Audience with His Holiness Ioannes Paulus II (John Paul II) on Monday, 12 February 2001.

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

Holy See's Web site

 ADDRESS OF JOHN PAUL II 
TO THE MELKITE GREEK CATHOLICS

Monday, 12 February 2001

 

Your Beatitude,
Dear Brothers in the Episcopate,
Dear Brothers and Sisters,

1. The arms of the Successor of Peter, the Bishop of Rome, open joyfully to welcome the Patriarch of the Melkite Greek Catholics, who has come to celebrate our full ecclesial communion. With this gesture, I spiritually embrace the Bishops, priests, religious and faithful of the Melkite Greek Catholic Church present here, as well as all her members who today proclaim their fidelity to Christ by their commitment and often at the cost of great difficulty.

There is no symbol more profound than the liturgical action we have just concluded:  celebrating the fullness of ecclesial communion by sharing the Body and Blood of the Lord. In them the Church's unity shines out, as well as her faith, hope and love. In them, we have a foretaste of the deep joy we ask of the Lord:  that of the day when all Christians will be reunited, drawing from the one Bread and the one Cup the strength to bear a unanimous witness of evangelization.

2. Union with the See of Rome in no way diminishes your own characteristics or treasures; on the contrary, it strengthens them and makes them a precious gift that enriches the whole Catholic world. The Pope appreciates your attachment and fidelity to the traditions of the Christian East, of which you are rightly proud; he hopes that they will always be jealously guarded and fully rediscovered, in order to be accessible to the men and women of our day and thus to nourish their Christian life. You are a strong, consistent Church rooted in your identity:  take care to continue your pastoral commitment, developing your ancient treasures and giving suitable answers to the questions of our contemporaries. Your efforts to be fully integrated into the milieu where your faithul live shows that Christianity can accept everything good found in cultures and, at the same time, fruitfully enrich them.

Your ecumenical commitment is especially appreciated. I urge you to find sacramental strength and theological incentive in the Divine Liturgy, to participate more and more actively in the search for unity, with prudent courage and in union with the whole Catholic Church, so that the time of full communion will come quickly.

3. Your Beatitude, I offer my fraternal wishes that the Spirit will make fruitful the distinguished task to which you are called, and that you may be a model for the people entrusted to you:  after the example of the Good Shepherd, care with the same love for all the sheep of your flock, building them up by your priestly prayer, by the ardent love of a "pater et caput" who has received the mission to guide them and by the spirit of universality that comes from belonging to the Catholic Church:  this will help you to view your decisions and choices in the broader horizon of the good of the Church and of humanity. In the troubled context of the Middle East, be an ardent defender of the weak and a tireless peacemaker. Always keep a special place in your heart for your children in the diaspora so that, knowing their Pastor loves them, they will always feel a part of their Mother Church, while being fraternally united with the other local Catholic communities and their Pastors. Go out to them all, not with human power and wealth, but only with the unarmed love of Christ, who, though he was rich, became poor to enrich all people.

4. Your Beatitude, please convey my particularly grateful greetings to your venerable predecessor, Patriarch Maximos V. We are indebted to his pastoral zeal for many achievements that have contributed to the progress of the Melkite Greek Catholic Church. Assure him of the affectionate gratitude of the Pope, who prays for him and asks God to grant him an abundance of his consolations.

In returning to your see, be assured that the Successor of Peter accompanies you with his prayer. May the warmth of the holy kiss we have exchanged support you in the efforts and joy of your pastoral endeavours!

With these sentiments I cordially give you all my Apostolic Blessing.

Francais / French

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

Holy See's Web site

 CONCÉLÉBRATION AVEC LES ÉVÊQUES
DU PATRIARCAT D'ANTIOCHE GRECS-MELKITES CATHOLIQUES

PAROLES DU SAINT-PÈRE

Lundi 12 février 2001

 

Béatitude, chers Frères dans l'Épiscopat et dans le Sacerdoce,
Chers Amis,

Nous allons concélébrer le Sacrifice du Seigneur. Dans le Christ, se réalise la communion dans la foi et dans l’amour des Pasteurs et des disciples autour du Successeur de Pierre. Votre présence ce matin est particulièrement significative.

Je vous salue, chère Béatitude Grégoire III, nouveau patriarche de l’Église grecque-melkite, vous qui dans la communion avec l’Évêque de Rome apportez les richesses spirituelles du peuple dont le Seigneur vous a confié la charge, manifestant ainsi la catholicité de l’Église. Je prie le Christ de vous accorder en abondance ses dons, afin que vous puissiez être chaque jour, avec l’ensemble des évêques et du clergé, un pasteur selon le cœur de Dieu.

Ma pensée se tourne vers les communautés de votre patriarcat, demandant au Seigneur de les accompagner dans leur vie spirituelle et dans le témoignage de foi et d’espérance qu’elles ont à donner auprès de l’ensemble de la population. Prenant appui sur le dynamisme dont nous avons été témoins au cours du grand Jubilé, puissent-elles demeurer intimement unies au Christ, pour obtenir de Lui la force de la foi, le courage de l’espérance et l’audace dans l’annonce de l’Évangile! Que la Théotokos et les saints de votre Église intercèdent pour vous tous!

Italiano /Italian

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

Holy See's Web site

UDIENZA AI PARTECIPANTI AL PELLEGRINAGGIO DEL PATRIARCATO DI ANTIOCHIA DEI GRECO-MELKITI (SIRIA) , 12.02.2001

UDIENZA AI PARTECIPANTI AL PELLEGRINAGGIO DEL PATRIARCATO DI ANTIOCHIA DEI GRECO-MELKITI (SIRIA)

Alle 11.45 di questa mattina, nell’Aula Paolo VI, il Santo Padre ha ricevuto in Udienza i partecipanti al Pellegrinaggio del Patriarcato di Antiochia dei Greco-Melkiti (Siria) ed ha loro rivolto il discorso che pubblichiamo di seguito:

DISCORSO DEL SANTO PADRE

Béatitude,

Chers Frères dans l'Épiscopat,

Chers Frères et Soeurs,

1. C'est avec joie que les bras du Successeur de Pierre, l'Évêque de Rome, s'ouvrent pour accueillir le Patriarche des Grecs-Melkites catholiques, venu célébrer notre pleine communion ecclésiale. Par cette accolade, j'embrasse spirituellement les Évêques, les prêtres, les religieux, les religieuses et les fidèles de l'Église grecque-melkite catholique, ici présents, ainsi que tous ses membres qui, aujourd'hui, par leur engagement et souvent au prix de grandes difficultés, proclament leur adhésion au Christ.

Il n'y a pas de symbole plus profond que le geste liturgique que nous avons accompli: célébrer la plénitude de la communion ecclésiale en échangeant le Corps et le Sang du Seigneur. En eux resplendissent l'unité de l'Église, ainsi que sa foi, son espérance et sa charité. En eux nous goûtons d'avance la joie profonde que nous implorons du Seigneur: celle du jour où tous les chrétiens seront réunis, puisant à l'unique Pain et à l'unique Calice la force de rendre un témoignage unanime d'évangélisation.

2. L'union avec le siège de Rome n'amoindrit pas votre spécificité ni vos richesses propres, mais au contraire elle les fortifie et en fait un don précieux qui enrichit la catholicité tout entière. Le Pape apprécie votre attachement et votre fidélité aux traditions de l'Orient chrétien, dont vous êtes justement fiers; il souhaite qu'elles soient toujours jalousement gardées et pleinement redécouvertes, pour être accessibles aux hommes et aux femmes d'aujourd'hui et ainsi nourrir leur vie chrétienne. Vous êtes une Église forte, cohérente, enracinée dans son identité: ayez soin de poursuivre votre engagement pastoral, en valorisant les trésors anciens et en donnant des réponses adéquates aux questions des hommes d'aujourd'hui. Vos efforts pour vous intégrer pleinement dans le milieu où vos fidèles vivent montrent que le christianisme sait accueillir tout ce qui existe de bon dans les cultures et qu'il peut en même temps enrichir ces cultures de manière féconde.

Votre engagement oecuménique est aussi particulièrement apprécié. Je vous exhorte à trouver dans la divine Liturgie la force sacramentelle et le stimulant théologique pour participer toujours plus activement à la recherche de l'unité, avec un courage prudent, en union avec l'Église catholique tout entière, afin qu'arrive rapidement le temps de la pleine communion.

3. Béatitude, je vous adresse mes voeux fraternels pour que l'Esprit féconde l'oeuvre éminente à laquelle vous êtes appelé et que vous puissiez être un modèle pour le peuple qui vous est confié: à l'exemple du Bon Pasteur, prenez soin, avec un égal amour, de toutes les brebis du troupeau, en les édifiant par votre prière de prêtre, par l'amour passionné du "pater et caput" qui a reçu la mission de les guider, et par l'esprit d'universalité qui vient de l'appartenance à l'Église catholique: cela vous aidera à placer vos décisions et vos choix dans l'ensemble plus large du bien de l'Église et de l'humanité. Dans le contexte tourmenté du Moyen-Orient, soyez en même temps un ardent défenseur des faibles et un infatigable artisan de paix. Gardez toujours une place particulière dans votre coeur pour vos fils de la diaspora, afin que, se sachant aimés de leur Pasteur, ils se sentent toujours membres de leur Église Mère, tout en étant en fraternelle union avec les autres communautés catholiques locales et leurs pasteurs. Allez à tous, non pas avec la puissance et la richesse des hommes, mais seulement avec l'amour désarmé de la pauvreté du Christ qui, de riche, s'est fait pauvre, pour enrichir tous les hommes.

4. Béatitude, portez mon salut particulièrement reconnaissant à votre vénéré prédécesseur, le Patriarche Maximos V. On doit à son zèle pastoral de nombreuses réalisations qui ont fait progresser l'Église grecque-melkite catholique. Assurez-le de l'affectueuse reconnaissance du Pape, qui prie pour lui et qui demande à Dieu de lui accorder l'abondance de ses consolations.

En retournant à votre Siège, soyez assuré que la prière du Successeur de Pierre vous accompagne. Que la cordialité du saint baiser que nous avons échangé soit un soutien dans les efforts et la joie de votre engagement pastoral!

Avec ces sentiments, je vous donne à tous de grand coeur la Bénédiction apostolique.

[00241-03.01] [Texte original: Français]

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

Holy See's Web site

POPE WELCOMES PATRIARCH OF GREEK-MELKITE CATHOLICS

VATICAN CITY, FEB 12, 2001 (VIS) - John Paul II this morning welcomed His Beatitude, Grégoire (Gregory) III , patriarch of Antioch of the Greek-Melkite Catholics, "who has come to celebrate our full ecclesial union." Joining the patriarch was a pilgrimage group of nearly 700 persons, including bishops, priests, religious and lay faithful.

"Union with the See of Rome," said the Pope, speaking French, "does not lessen your specificity or the treasures that are yours, but rather it strengthens them and makes of them a precious gift which enriches all of the Catholic world. The Pope appreciates your attachment and your fidelity to the traditions of the Christian Orient."

"You are a strong Church," he went on, "coherent and rooted in your identity: take care to pursue your pastoral commitment, making use of ancient treasures and giving suitable answers to the questions posed by man today." The Holy Father also expressed appreciation for their ecumenical commitment, encouraging them to "actively seek unity, with a prudent courage, in union with the entire Catholic Church, so that the time of full communion will rapidly arrive."

Addressing His Beatitude, Grégoire (Gregory) III , the Pope expressed his "fraternal best wishes" and said: "May you be a model for the people entrusted to you, following the example of the Good Shepherd."

"In the tormented context of the Middle East," he declared, "be at the same time an ardent defender of the weak and a tireless artisan of peace. Always keep a special place in your heart for your children of the diaspora. ... Go to everyone, not with the power and wealth of men, but only with the defenseless love of the poverty of Christ who, though rich, became poor to enrich all men."

AC/GREEK-MELKITE CATHOLICS/GREGORY III VIS 010212 (290)

Eyewitness Report By Bishop John A. Elya

HISTORIC VISIT OF THE CHURCH OF ANTIOCH TO THE CHURCH OF ROME FEBRUARY 9-15, 2001
An Eyewitness Report
By Bishop John A. Elya
Eparch of Newton for the Melkite Catholics in the United States

Pope Receives Patriarch, Hails Melkites for Ecumenical Work

On Monday morning 12 February, Pope John Paul II received His Beatitude, Grégoire (Gregory) III, the new Patriarch / Batriyark of Antioch and leader of the Greek-Melkite Church, and expressed appreciation for this Church's commitment to ecumenism, according to a religious news service. ¡ "I exhort you," the Pope told the Patriarch and 1,000 fellow guests gathered in Paul VI Hall, "to find in the Divine Liturgy the sacramental strength and theological stimulus to participate ever more actively in the search for unity, with prudent courage, in union with the whole Catholic Church, so that the hour of full communion will arrive rapidly." ¡ The Pope described the patriarch as an "ardent defender of the weak" and "tireless architect of peace," especially in the Middle East. This was the patriarch's first visit to Rome, following his recent election as leader of this ancient Church. ¡ The Greek-Melkite Church, of Eastern origin and Orthodox tradition, and submerged in the Islamic world, is like a hinge between Eastern and Western Christianity. It reached full communion with the Apostolic See of Rome in 1724, but maintains its own rites, liturgy and canonical peculiarities. It numbers 1.26 million faithful, half of whom live in the Mideast. ¡ The Pope spoke affectionate words in his greeting to his guests, who assembled in Paul VI Hall after a concelebrated Mass. John Paul expressed his admiration for their proud fidelity to Eastern Christian traditions, and describing their Church as "strong, consistent, rooted in its own identity." ¡ For his part, in greeting the Pope, His Beatitude, Grégoire (Gregory) III , who succeeded Maximos V, made an appeal on behalf of Mideast Christians. The patriarch asked the Pope to "help Christians to stay in those lands." He added: "The Arab world needs your presence, your word, your ministry, your international influence." ¡ Lastly, the Pope had a pastoral recommendation for all Greek-Melkite priests and bishops: "Go out to all, not with the power and wealth of men, but only with the disarming love of Christ who, being rich, became poor to enrich all men."

Catholic World News

Catholic World News

Number: 14846 Date: 12-Feb-01 Type: U Code:

VATICAN, Feb. 11, 01 (CWNews.com) -- Pope John Paul II met with Patriarch Grégoire (Gregory) III of Antioch, the leader of the Melkite Catholic Church, in Rome on Monday.

The Pontiff and the Patriarch celebrated the Divine Liturgy in St. Peter's Basilica on February 12, as the Melkite prelate came to pay his respects for the first time since his election in November of last year. Patriarch Gregory was accompanied by about 700 Melkite Catholics from all around the world.

The meeting with the Holy Father was "a very great joy," Patriarch Gregory said. He told the Pope: "The Arab world needs your presence, you words, you ministry, and your international influence."

Becoming more specific and more pointed in his remarks, the patriarch continued by saying that the Pope offers "precious hope for the Palestinian cause." He added: "We cannot allow a single people to undermine the peace and equilibrium of such a great number of Arab countries, to sow the seeds of conflict and of hatred, to ruin them economically, and to put the Christian presence in danger." The patriarch added that the Melkite Catholic Church is "deeply engaged in questions of justice, peace, and the rights of the Arab peoples, especially in Palestine, Lebanon, Syria, and Iraq."

The Melkite Catholic Church is one of the most important Christian communities in the Middle East-- second only to the Maronite Catholic Church in the number of her faithful. Emigration and shifting population patterns have produced Melkite communities in Europe, the Americas, and Australia, but the Byzantine Catholic community remains centered primarily in Syria, Lebanon, and the Holy Land. Patriarch Gregory resides in Damascus-- and will greet the Pope when he visits there in May.

In his remarks to the Pope, the Melkite patriarch also observed that the Eastern-rite Catholic community can play an important role in ecumenical affairs. The Melkite Church in particular enjoys close ties with the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch. "We have always been a Church of dialogue," Patriarch Gregory said. "The Melkite Church is very much involved in the concrete efforts to regain unity with the patriarchate of Antioch." That Orthodox patriarchate, he added, is the most influential Orthodox group in the Arab world. Pope John Paul applauded that ecumenical effort, and urged the Melkite Church to show "prudent courage" in continuing the drive toward Christian unity. He also acknowledged that Melkite Catholics have faced enormous difficulties in the "tormented context" of the Middle East. "You should be, at one and the same time, ardent defenders of the vulnerable and tireless builders of peace," he said.

Zenit

Zenit

Greek-Melkites Hailed for Ecumenical Effort
Pope Receives Patriarch / Batriyark of Antioch

VATICAN CITY, FEB. 12, 2001 (Zenit.org).- John Paul II this morning received Gregory III , the new patriarch of Antioch and leader of the Greek-Melkite Church, and expressed appreciation for this Church's commitment to ecumenism.

"I exhort you," the Pope told the patriarch and 1,000 fellow guests gathered in Paul VI Hall, "to find in the Divine Liturgy the sacramental strength and theological stimulus to participate ever more actively in the search for unity, with prudent courage, in union with the whole Catholic Church, so that the hour of full communion will arrive rapidly."

The Pope described the patriarch as an "ardent defender of the weak" and "tireless architect of peace," especially in the Middle East. This was the patriarch's first visit to Rome, following his recent election as leader of this ancient Church.

The Greek-Melkite Church, of Eastern origin and Orthodox tradition, and submerged in the Islamic world, is like a hinge between Eastern and Western Christianity. It reached full communion with the Apostolic See in 1724, but maintains its own rites, liturgy and canonical peculiarities. It numbers 1.26 million faithful, half of whom live in the Mideast.

The Pope spoke affectionate words in his greeting to his guests, who assembled in Paul VI Hall after a concelebrated Mass. John Paul expressed his admiration for their proud fidelity to Eastern Christian traditions, and describing their Church as "strong, consistent, rooted in its own identity."

For his part, in greeting the Pope, His Beatitude, Gregory III , who succeeded Maximos V, made an appeal on behalf of Mideast Christians. The patriarch asked the Pope to "help Christians to stay in those lands." He added: "The Arab world needs your presence, your word, your ministry, your international influence."

Lastly, the Pope had a pastoral recommendation for all Greek-Melkite priests and bishops: "Go out to all, not with the power and wealth of men, but only with the disarming love of Christ who, being rich, became poor to enrich all men."

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