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

'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)

Christ is Born!

Your Nativity, O Christ our God, * has dawned upon the world the light of knowledge. * for through it, those who served the stars * were taught by a star to worship You, the Sun of Righteousness * and to know You, the Dawn from on high. * Glory to You, O Lord! (Troparion, Tone 4)

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

Today the Virgin gives birth to the Transcendent One, * and the earth offers a cave to the Unapproachable One. * Angels and shepherds sing His glory; * Wise Men journey with a star * for there is born for us an infant Child, the God Who is before all ages. (Kontakion, Tone 3)

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

Let us go forward with the heart completely attentive and the soul fully conscious. For if attentiveness and prayer are daily joined together, they become like Elias' fire-bearing chariot, raising us to heaven. What do I mean? A spiritual heaven, with sun, moon and stars, is formed in the blessed heart of one who has reach a state of watchfulness, or who strives to attain it.

St. Philotheus of Sinai