RealAudioMP3 The Melkite Patriarch of Damascus himself, Gregorios III (Laham), bluntly admits that the synod was his idea.  Speaking on Tuesday in the Aula of the Synod at the Vatican, he gave a powerful warning about a "clash of religions," if Christianity were to disappear from the Middle East.  In an interview, he told our synod observer Stefan Kempis:

"We have slowly grown into this, so it is interesting to see these bishops doing something like this for the first time: most are bishops new to a synod, but they have felt at ease there.  I thank God for the really congenial Eastern atmosphere at this Synod: there has been enthusiasm, joy and humour.”

There was at times a lively debate, with many problems on the agenda, such as for example, the emigration of many Christians from the Middle East.

"Yes, emigration - and the threat of emigration, means that the Middle East is becoming empty and losing pluralism.  Then more clashes will occur there between Islam and Christianity!  And then the difficult problem of dialogue with Islam came up for discussion.  When we experience fundamentalism, terrorism and terrorist actions, we get the feeling: ‘How can we go on in the face of so many attacks?’  But the majority said: ‘That is our role, to shape the Middle East and gradually bring the different values of Christianity to the predominantly Muslim Arab society.’”

(What were the most interesting ideas and comments you've heard at the Synod?)

"For example, the suggestion of many to hold such a Synod in the Middle East - at a local level. Then there was the desire to do all in our power to put an end to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, since this conflict is the main reason for most of the multiple crises and wars that have caused Christian emigration.”


(10/13/2010 rv sk)

Link to Vatican Radio article in German: „Orientalisch-heitere Atmosphäre“: Gespräch mit Patriarch Gregorios

Translation from German: V. Chamberlain

Teachings of Christ

“If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel's will save it. For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul? For what can a man give in return for his soul?" (Mark 8:34-37 ESV)

Lenten Prayer of St. Ephrem

O Lord and Master of my life, drive away from me the spirit of despondency, carelessness, love of power, and idle chatter. (Prostration)

Rather grant to me, Your servant, the spirit of wholeness of being, humility, patience, and love. (Prostration)

Yes, O Lord and King, grant that I may see my own faults and not condemn my brother; for You are blessed to the ages of ages. Amen. (Prostration)

Random Proverb

"Do not say to your neighbor, “Go, and come again, tomorrow I will give it”—when you have it with you." (Proverbs 3:28 ESV)

Pray Without Ceasing

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

Wisdom from the Church Fathers

Wrath is a reminder of hidden hatred, that is to say, remembrance of wrongs. Wrath is a desire for the injury of the one who has provoked you. Irascibility is the untimely blazing up of the heart. Bitterness is a movement of displeasure seated in the soul. Anger is an easily changeable movement of one’s disposition and disfiguration of soul.

St. John Climacus, “The Ladder of Divine Ascent"