CWN -The bishops of the Chaldean Catholic Church, an Eastern Catholic church in full communion with the Holy See, have concluded a six-day synod in Erbil, Iraq.

The prelates prayed for the liberation of lands conquered by the Islamic State and for peace in Syria and Iraq. They also agreed that priests and religious who left their dioceses without permission from their superiors had to return.

The synod said that the many priests who fled from Iraq and Syria without permission from their bishops have been "raising doubts among the faithful." The final statement from the Chaldean bishops exhorted those priests to "leave their current dioceses immediately" and regularize their status with their diocesan bishops.

The Chaldean Church has been troubled by conflicts between Chaldean communities abroad, which have welcomed priests along with other refugees from the war-torn Middle East, and bishops in Iraq and Syria, who are fighting to maintain an active Christian presence there. The conflicts have provoked tensions particularly in the large Chaldean community in southern California, where one priest, Father Noel Gorgis, has been ordered to leave a local parish.

The bishops also agreed to “changes into the text of the Chaldean Mass, recently prepared and suggested by the new Patriarchate Liturgical Committee based on scripts of 2006 and 2014,” according to the patriarchate. These changes await the approval of the Holy See.

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Teachings of Christ

“I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?” (John 11:25-26 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

"My son, do not forget my teaching, but let your heart keep my commandments, for length of days and years of life and peace they will add to you." (Proverbs 3:1,2 ESV)

Pray Without Ceasing

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

Wisdom from the Church Fathers

It is a fearful thing to hate whom God has loved. To look upon another – his weaknesses, his sins, his faults, his defects – is to look upon one who is suffering. He is suffering from negative passions, from the same sinful human corruption from which you yourself suffer. This is very important: do not look upon him with the judgmental eyes of comparison, noting the sins you assume you’d never commit. Rather, see him as a fellow sufferer, a fellow human being who is in need of the very healing of which you are in need. Help him, love him, pray for him, do unto him as you would have him do unto you.

St. Tikhon of Zadonsk