of Antioch and All the East
of Alexandria and of Jerusalem
Damascus, 12 April 2010
His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI
Most Holy Father,
On 16 April, the eve of your Apostolic Visit to Malta in the steps of Saint Paul, Your Holiness celebrates another birthday, your eighty-third.
On this occasion, I am happy to send you, Most Holy Father, in the name of my brother Hierarchs, members of the Holy Synod of the Melkite Greek Catholic Church and in my own name, our warmest wishes for the Holy Spirit to continue to help you during your onerous Petrine ministry.
At the moment when, once more, an insidious media campaign is being orchestrated, I want to assure Your Holiness of our full communion and total solidarity in prayer for you, which is an integral part of the daily Divine Liturgy.
As in the Acts of the Apostles (12: 5), so today, the whole Church is praying without ceasing to God for Peter.
Whilst awaiting our forthcoming meeting in Malta, I beg Your Holiness to bless us, your beloved in Christ.
Most devotedly and most respectfully and faithfully,
+ Gregorios III, Patriarch
SECTION FOR GENERAL AFFAIRS
From the Vatican, 22 April 2010
With all the Bishops of the Holy Synod of the Melkite Greek Catholic Church, you have addressed to His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI, a message of good wishes and support on the occasion of his birthday. He thanks you most warmly for that.
As the Church is going through a painful time, the unity of pastors and faithful around the Successor of Peter acquires a special significance. In this year dedicated to priesthood, the Holy Father wishes to demonstrate his trust with respect to your priests, and he encourages you to remain close to them in order to help them move forward along the paths of priestly holiness and to find the means for leading a really balanced life. At the prayers of the Virgin Mary, may the risen Christ grant bishops and priests to live in truth the commitments undertaken on the day of their ordination.
With all his heart, the Holy Father sends an affectionate apostolic Blessing to you and to the Bishops, priests and all the faithful of the Melkite Greek Catholic Church.
Associating myself with His Holiness' regards, I assure your Beatitude of my cordial and devoted regards in the Lord,
Tarcisio Card. Bertone
Secretary of State to His Holiness