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

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” (Matthew 5:43-44 ESV)

Theophany

When You were baptized in the Jordan, O Lord, * worship of the Trinity was revealed, * for the Father's voice bore witness to You, calling You His “beloved Son”, * and the Spirit in the form of a dove confirmed the certainty of these words. * O Christ God, * Who appeared and enlightened the world, glory to You! (Troparion, Tone 1)

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

You have appeared to the whole world today, * and Your light, O Lord, is signed upon us, * who with knowledge sing praise to You: * "You have come, and You have appeared, O Unapproachable Light." (Kontakion, Tone 4)

Random Proverb

"My son, do not despise the Lord's discipline or be weary of his reproof, for the Lord reproves him whom he loves, as a father the son in whom he delights." (Proverbs 3:11,12 ESV)

Pray Without Ceasing

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

Wisdom from the Church Fathers

Why do you trouble yourself in a house that is not your own? Let the sight of a dead man be a teacher for you concerning your departure from hence.

St. Isaac the Syrian