Rome 23-24 April 2010

Report by Patriarch Gregorios III

of the Melkite Greek Catholic Church

The work of preparation for the Synod for the Middle East has made progress in this third reunion of the members of the Presynodal Council, who are the seven Patriarchs of the Middle East, the President of the Episcopal Conference in Iran and the President of the Episcopal Conference in Turkey. The work was led by Archbishop Nikola Eterović, Secretary General of the Synod of Bishops, Rome.

The members studied in a plenary session and in three groups the vast amount of material made up of answers from eparchies, institutions and religious to the questions of the Lineamenta, sent to all Churches in January 2010.

The next step will be for the Office of the Synod of Bishops to produce a document about this recent meeting of the Presynodal Council to be sent in a few days' time to Council members, who are asked to reply with comments as soon as possible to the Synodal Office. Then it will be the work of the Synodal Office to produce the final version of the document for the Synod for the Middle East, which will be proposed to Pope Benedict XVI, for his approval. This final document is called the Instrumentum Laboris and will be translated into Arabic and other languages and presented by His Holiness to the members of the Presynodal Council during the papal visit to Cyprus from 4 to 6 June.

The General Secretariat of the Synod will send further information about their eventual participation to all members of the coming Synod for the Middle East to be held in Rome between 10 and 24 of October. The General Secretariat of the Synod will send invitations to observe to Orthodox Churches, to Muslims and to Jews.

The Synod was prepared by the Presynodal Council in September 2009 and in November of the same year. This was the third and final meeting of the Presynodal Council.

All members of our Church are asked to pray for the success of this unique and very important event in the life of the Catholic Churches of the Middle East.

Ed.  V. C.


Teachings of Christ

“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand. I and the Father are one.” (John 10:27-30 ESV)

Saint Nicholas of Myra

The truth of your deeds has revealed you to your flock, * as a rule of faith, an image of meekness, and a teacher of abstinence. * Therefore, you attained the heights through humility, * and riches through poverty. * O Father and Hierarch Nicholas, * pray to Christ God that our souls may be saved. (Troparion, Tone 4)

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

In Myra, You were shown to be a servant of the sacred things, O Holy Nicholas, * for, fulfilling the Gospel of Christ, you, O Venerable, laid down your life for your people, * and saved the innocent from death. * Therefore, you were sanctified as a great initiate of the grace of God. (Kontakion, Tone 3)

Random Proverb

"My son, be attentive to my wisdom; incline your ear to my understanding, that you may keep discretion, and your lips may guard knowledge." (Proverbs 5:1,2 ESV)

Pray Without Ceasing

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

Wisdom from the Church Fathers

Abbot Macarius was asked: "How should I pray?" The staretz answered: "There is no need to waste time with words; it is enough to hold out your hands and say: 'Lord, have mercy.'  If you are hard pressed in the struggle, say: 'Lord, save me!' He knows what is best for you, and he will have mercy on you."

Abbot Macarius, quoted in St. Gregory Palamas and Orthodox Spirituality, Meyendorff, 1974, SVS Press