Deisis (Novogorod)

Patriach Gregorios III Speaks at the Sixth General Congregation on the Synodal theme «The New Evangelization for the Transmission of the Christian Faith»

H. B. Gregorios III LAHAM, B.S., Patriarch of Antioch of the Greek-Melkites, Head of the Synod of the Greek-Melkite Church (SYRIA) Sixth General Congregation Thursday October 11 afternoon 2012

New evangelization is synonymous to updating. This Council is an update. The council documents are the prelude to our Synod.

Three points to my intervention

1. Formation or creation of frameworks We, the Christians in the Orient, we bathe in a non-Christian world: we are the small flock, ad extra in relation to Islam, and ad intra because of the decrease of religious practice.

The Realpolitik imposes upon us to work in keeping in mind this dual reality ad extra and ad intra. This means to concentrate our pastoral work of the New Evangelization on this small flock, without excluding the whole of our faithful that practice to a lesser degree.

This small flock must be excellent, to form through it the team of agents of New Evangelization.

Even if the Church grows to huge dimensions, she must maintain the strategy of the small flock.

This is the meaning, the essence, the motivation, the reason for being of the Eastern small flock and everywhere. This is the apostolic strategy: to form the small flock to being with and for the large flock.

2. Vademecum of the Christian faith

Our faith is beautiful. However its content and its statements are very difficult.

The proclamation of the faith in Islam can be summarized by this dual witness: “There is no other god but Allah, and Mohammed is his prophet”.

For the Jews, the substance of the Faith is expressed by the double commandment: “I am your God! You have no other but me. You will love your God with all your heart, and your neighbour as yourself!”

Our beautiful Christian faith is too complicated: the terms, their content and their explanation. We bathe in an ensemble of dogmas, of mysteries: the Holy Trinity, the Incarnation, Redemption, the Sacraments (called mysteries by the Greeks).

These dogmas must be interpreted in a form capable of touching upon daily life, human aspirations, happiness and prosperity, the daily realities of our faithful.

From this, we can see the great importance and need for the New Evangelization to create a concise, precise and clear text on our Faith. This is important for our faithful ad intra, as well as for our fellow non-Christian citizens ad extra.

I hope that this proposition can find its path, and that theologians will be charged with it at the end of our Synod.

3. Practical programme

The New Evangelization is necessarily conditioned by the specificity of the local Church; in time, the context of Tradition, customs, culture, needs. For this reason, I have also presented an essay from an Eastern point of view, Melkite Greek-Catholic, Arabic, of the New Evangelization with practical propositions.
See the list in the complete text of my intervention.

[Original text: English] Source:http://www.vatican.va/news_services/press/sinodo/documents/bollettino_25_xiii-ordinaria-2012/02_inglese/b11_02.html#-_H._B._Grégoire_III_LAHAM,_B.S.,_Patriarch_of_Antiochia_of_the_Greek-Melkites,_Head_of_the_Synod_of_the_Greek-Melkite_Church_(SYRIA)_


Teachings of Christ

'Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day." (John 6:53-54 ESV)

Pentecost

Blessed are You, O Christ our God, * Who has shown the fishermen to be all wise, * by sending down to them the Holy Spirit, * and through them You have caught the whole world in Your net. * O Lover of Mankind, glory to You. (Troparion - Tone 8)

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

When the Most High descended, confusing tongues, * He divided the nations; * but when He distributed the tongues of fire, * He called all to unity; * and, with one voice, * we glorify the Most Holy Spirit. (Kontakion - Tone 8)

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

No one has to be embarrassed over his sinful state. ‘There is no man who, while living, does not sin,’ and the more sinful the man, the stronger will be God’s help in leading him out of his sinful mire. But the help of God comes only when the sinner repents with heartfelt contrition and has the will to reform. Not seeing in himself enough strength of soul to break away from sinful deeds, he asks for God’s help. This is where the mercy of God, Who does not wish the death of the sinner but wants him to be converted and live, is often evident.… If the voice of conscience awakens in us a feeling of remorse or repentance, then we must pray fervently to the Guardian Angel of our human existence that he may keep us from corrupt downfalls and help us ‘serve God with fear and trembling.’

Elder Macarius of Optina