Deisis (Novogorod)

Third Reunion of the Presynodal Council for the Middle East

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

“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)

Transfiguration

You were transfigured on the mountain, O Christ God, * showing Your glory to Your Disciples as far as they were able to bear it. * Through the prayers of the Mother of God, * let Your everlasting Light shine also upon us sinners. * O Giver of Light, glory to You! (Troparion, Tone 7)

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

Upon the mountain You were transfigured, O Christ God, * and Your Disciples beheld Your glory as far as they could receive it, * so that when they would see You crucified, * they would understand that You suffered willingly; * and they would preach to the world * that You are truly the radiance of the Father. (Kontakion, Tone 7)

Dormition

O Mother of God, in giving birth you preserved virginity; * and in falling asleep you did not forsake the world. * You are the Mother of Life and have been transferred to life, * and through your prayers you deliver our souls from death. (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.

Neither the tomb nor death could detain the Mother of God, * who is unsleeping in her prayers and our unfailing hope in her intercession; * for He Who dwelt in her ever-virgin womb, * transferred to Life the Mother of Life. (Kontakion - Tone 2)

Random Proverb

"One gives freely, yet grows all the richer; another withholds what he should give, and only suffers want." (Proverbs 11:24 ESV)

Pray Without Ceasing

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

Wisdom from the Church Fathers

The work of prayer belongs to the angels, and is, therefore, the special concern of the Church. Every other work, i.e., charity, nursing the brethren, visiting the sick, caring for prisoners, releasing captives, and other similar things, is done by the brethren in love and offered by them to God. Similarly, poverty, fasting, sleeping on the ground, prostrations, vigils, etc., are good and like a sacrifice to God, because they aim to subdue and humble the body so that we may be purified and approach God and become friends of God -- yet these things do not present us directly to God, whereas prayer does so and unites us with Him. A person praying acts towards God like a friend -- conversing, confiding, requesting -- and through this becomes one with our Maker Himself.

St. Symeon of Thessalonica