Holy Synod of the Melkite Greek Catholic Church in 2014

Conclusion of the Synod of the Melkite Greek Catholic Church

24 6 2015
Conclusion of the Synod of the Melkite Greek Catholic Church
On Saturday 20 June,at the summer seat of Ain Traz (Lebanon), the Holy Synod of the Melkite Greek Catholic Church finished the work it had begun on 15 June.
A feature of this synod was the arrival of the pilgrim statue of Our Lady of Fatima,on the morning of 15 Junejust a few hours after the opening. Hundreds of faithful turned up to honour Our Lady and to pray for peace. Patriarch Gregorios IIIof Antioch and All the East, of Alexandriaand of Jerusalem, surrounded by the Synod Fathers,confided their meeting to the intercession of Our Lady of Fatima.
The Syriac Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch and All the East, Mor IgnatiusAphrem II, accompanied by bishops of his synod, visited the Synod of the Melkite Greek Catholic Church for the first time. This visitreciprocated one made byPatriarch Gregorios, accompaniedby many of his bishops,to the Synodof the Syriac Orthodox Church,meeting at its headquarters atMaaratSaidnaya (Syria).
In his address atMaarat, Patriarch Gregorios had emphasisedthat“what unites us is much greater than what divides us”especially nowadays, when“we are experiencing, in Syria and Iraq, the ecumenism of blood.”
As every year, the Apostolic Nuncio to Lebanon, Archbishop GabrieleCaccia, honoured the synod with his presence,bringing greetings and blessing from the Holy Father.His Beatitude and the Synod Fatherstook the opportunity to express theirattachment to Pope Francis and theirtotal support for his initiative on unifying and fixingthe date of Pascha.
The situation and future of the family wasat the heart of the Synod’s concern and the topic of a presentation by AbbotSemaanAbou-AbdoO.M.M., who highlighted the problems and challengesfacing the Christian family today in an extremely secularised worldthat leaves no room for God and Christian values.The Fathers decidedto create and developcentres of catechesis and Christian education in all eparchies,for better preparation for marriage and as listening and reception centresfor families in crisis.
The Syrian crisisand all Middle Eastern crises that are tearing the region apart andadversely affectingall eparchies in the Middle Eastwere discussed at great length by the Fathers, whoprayed for the way of dialogue and cease-fireto prevail over everything else and for the coming of a time to rebuild hearts and stones; beseechingthose sons and daughtersscattered abroadto look to their ancestral land and act as its real ambassadors in their new homelandand lobby for the way of peace to be open to all.
The bishops of theexpansionprofited from being together in Ain Traz to meet and discuss the particular situation of each of their eparchies.
The Fathers of the Melkite Greek Catholic Churchlaunched an appealto allLebanese political leadersto ensure that Lebanon havea President of the Republicvery soon in compliance with constitutional rules;they welcomed reconciliationand dialogue between the various parties and fully supported the Lebanese Army and security forces; recalling that Lebanon’s Melkite Greek Catholics ought, like other communities, to have access to the positions and functions traditionally reserved for them,and wishing to see their lawful quota of vacanciesallocated to them.
ArchimandriteNaimGharbi, Rector of the Major Seminaryof Saint Anna,gave a report to the Synodabout the seminary’s growth and development.
The Fathersstudied severaladministrative, canonical and pastoral matters,especiallythose concerningthe sacrament of marriage and the family,with aneye to the Synodon the Family next October at the Vatican,in whichPatriarch Gregorios III andArchbishop Georges Baccouni, Metropolitanof the Archeparchy of Acre, Haifa, Nazareth and All Galilee will take part.
They decided to add Saints SharbelMakhluf, Francis of Assisi, Rafqa, Rita, Nimatullah al-Hardini, Don Bosco, Ignatius of Loyola, Teresa of Avila, Thérèse of Lisieux, John Paul II, John XXIII, Vincent de Paul, Mary of Jesus Crucified andAlphonsineto the Ordo of the Melkite Greek Catholic Church.Those saints will be commemorated on their feast-day according to the Ordo of their original Churchso that they can be examples for everyoneon the path toholiness.
The synod firstlyelectedthe Most Reverend GeorgeBaccouni, Metropolitan ofthe Archeparchy of Acre, Haifa, Nazareth and All Galilee,to take part,on behalf of the Church,in the Synod on the Familynext October in Romeand then designated the Most ReverendGeorge Bakar, Titular Archbishop of Pelusium andPatriarchal Vicar in Cairoas a memberof the commission of the Joint Community Fund (JCF).The Most Reverend ElieBeshara Haddad, Archbishop of Sidon and Deir el-Qamar, will continue his mission as patriarchal administrator of Jordan. A listof three names has been submitted to the Holy Seefor the election of the futureholderof the Eparchy of Venezuela.
The Synod reiterated warnings against sales ortransfers of landand properties belonging to the Church, in violation of the canonical rulesand decided to think abouta system that respects the rules and interests of the faithful and the Church.