Rabweh - From 21 to 23 February 2017, the Synod of the Melkite Greek Catholic Church took place in Rabweh in the presence of almost all bishops. Also invited and present at this meeting were the Apostolic Nuncio of Syria, Cardinal Mario Zenari and the Apostolic Nuncio of Lebanon, Archbishop Gabriele Caccia.

The Synod thanked the Holy Father Francis for his attention to issues of the Melkite Church’s domestic issues.

During the working sessions, it was noted with regret and concern that serious difficulties had emerged recently over inter-episcopal relations on the one hand, and administrative problems on the other. Frank discussion among the participants allowed consideration of possible solutions.

Some bishops who had either failed to reply to two prior invitations to synod, or who had issued certain inappropriate press statements, admitted that they had acted improperly and wished to express their regret on that account. However, there was acknowledgment that occasional unintentional mistakes had been made in Melkite Church administration.

Finally, a spirit of brotherly reconciliation and renewed commitment to move forward together in communion for the restoration of ecclesial peace prevailed over past misunderstandings and enabled significant decisions to be made for the Melkite community’s welfare.

Election to membership of the permanent synod then took place, with one new member and his deputy being elected. The permanent synod, together with the patriarch, is tasked with taking requisite decisions for the smooth running of the Church.

The synod invites all the faithful to step forward afresh along the way of discipleship to the Lord Jesus and to walk together with their bishops, in order to give the Middle East, deeply troubled by war and violence as it is, a witness to charity and a sign of hope.

May the prayers of our most holy Mother, the Virgin Mary of Nazareth, accompany our Melkite Greek Catholic family and Church so that we may live “the Joy of Love,” which the Holy Spirit pours into the hearts of his loved ones.

On this occasion, at the threshold of Great and Holy Lent, we call upon every pastor and parishioner to offer works of repentance and charity, so that the world may see the light of our Church and glorify God the Father and that we may thus walk together towards the joys of Resurrection.

The Synod concluded with a liturgical service to which the Fathers and Mothers Superior of our monastic orders were invited.

23 February 2017


Teachings of Christ

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God." (John 3:16-18 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

"Take my instruction instead of silver, and knowledge rather than choice gold, for wisdom is better than jewels, and all that you may desire cannot compare with her." (Proverbs 8:10,11 ESV)

Pray Without Ceasing

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

Wisdom from the Church Fathers

When you are praying, watch over yourself so that not only your outward man prays, but your inward one also. Though you be sinful beyond measure, still pray. Do not heed the devil's provocation, craftiness, and despair, but overcome and conquer his wiles. Remember the abyss of the Saviour's mercy and love to mankind. The devil will represent the Lord's fact to you as terrible and unmerciful, rejecting your prayer and repentance; but remember the Saviour's own words, full of every hope and boldness for us: `Him that cometh to Me, I will in no wise cast out'; and `Come unto Me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden' - with sins and iniquities, and wiles and calumnies of the devil - and I will give you rest.'

St. John of Kronstadt, My Life in Christ