Rabweh, Lebanon - The Holy Synod opened in Rabweh under the presidency of His Beatitude, Patriarch Gregorios III. Present were some thirty bishops and exarchs from eparchies in Arab countries and other countries throughout the world: Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, the Holy Land, Israel, Egypt and Sudan and Canada, the USA, Mexico, Argentina, Venezuela, Brazil, and Australia and New Zealand, together with some retired bishops.

His Beatitude's opening address focused on Saint Paul and his significance in the life of the Church.

Practical issues for discussion by the Holy Synod included: the question of whether to divide the Eparchy of Beirut into two - in the event, it was decided not to do this - and how to help the Eparchy of Tripoli prepare for the imminent retirement of its bishop.

Other questions concerned: the regulation of the Holy Synod itself with its bye-laws as well as that of the Permanent Synod (Synodos Endimousa;) the scope of the work of the General Moderator for the Administration of Justice for the Patriarchate, including his duties and prerogatives; the management of transition within eparchies upon the retirement at seventy-five years of age of their bishops.

In view of the forthcoming Papal Proclamation of the Year of the Priest, to take place on 19 June, the one hundred and fiftieth anniversary of the death of Saint Jean Marie Vianney, Curé d'Ars, the Synod considered the role of the Seminary of Saint Anna, Rabweh, and appointed a committee to prepare a programme of events to highlight the role and mission of the clergy.

The Synod considered the importance of peace, especially for Lebanon, Palestine and Iraq and, meeting on the eve of the elections in Lebanon, prayed for a good outcome for all its people.

V. C.


Teachings of Christ

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another." (John 13:34-35 ESV)

Theophany

When You were baptized in the Jordan, O Lord, * worship of the Trinity was revealed, * for the Father's voice bore witness to You, calling You His “beloved Son”, * and the Spirit in the form of a dove confirmed the certainty of these words. * O Christ God, * Who appeared and enlightened the world, glory to You! (Troparion, Tone 1)

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever and to the ages of ages. Amen.

You have appeared to the whole world today, * and Your light, O Lord, is signed upon us, * who with knowledge sing praise to You: * "You have come, and You have appeared, O Unapproachable Light." (Kontakion, Tone 4)

Random Proverb

"My son, keep my words and treasure up my commandments with you; keep my commandments and live." (Proverbs 7:1,2 ESV)

Pray Without Ceasing

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

Wisdom from the Church Fathers

Self-accusation before God is something that is very necessary for us; and humility of heart is extremely advantageous in our lives, above all at the time of prayer. For prayer requires great attention and needs a proper awareness, otherwise it will turn out to be unacceptable and rejected, and 'it will be turned back empty' to our bosom.

Martyrius of Edessa