Abandonment of Patriarchal Service
“Lo, I come to do thy will, O God.” (Hebrews 10: 9)

Patriarchal Headquarters, Rabweh
6 May 2017

Abandonment of Patriarchal Service is the culmination of my Catholic Christian, monastic and humanitarian life’s work: a period during which the Holy Saviour has bestowed his blessings on me.

On November 29, 2000, I was elected patriarch, so am now in the seventeenth year of my service at the Patriarchate, having completed many projects with the grace of the Saviour and thanks to the generosity and love of friends, especially German ones.

In January 2011, during a private spiritual retreat in Cairo, I wrote down a spiritual prayer and concluded, "I hope to resign from my patriarchal service in due time after seven to ten years.” Then, in the retreat for Damascus priests in Seidnaya in June 2011, I wrote a spiritual meditation saying, "I hope to give up my patriarchal service in either 2014 or 2015, when I am aged 83 or 84 or at most 85." God is behind the intention.

 

Years passed and because of the failure, for known reasons, to convene the Synod of June 2016, I decided to give up my patriarchal service for the good of the Church. I wrote a letter to that effect to the Congregation for Eastern Churches on 20 June, 2016. We were later able to hold a Synod between 21 and 23 February, 2017. We reached a beautiful ecclesial accord.

On the other hand and for the sake of the Church, which I loved so much, I placed my resignation at the disposition of His Holiness the Pope.

I looked back at my diary as I mentioned above in this statement, and found that the Spirit had guided me on a straight path. I saw that it was time for implementing what I wrote in 2011 and am ready to relinquish my patriarchal service by the age of 85, i.e. 15 December 2017.

This is my decision before the Redeemer and my monastic, priestly, ascetic and patriarchal conscience.

I have written four letters to His Holiness the Pope to explain my reasons, especially the need to live as we stated in the Agreed Synodal Statement (February 23 2017), to live in an atmosphere of companionship and love in June 2017. I explained in these letters the way I proposed to announce my resignation, asking His Holiness to enable this renunciation of office to take place in such a way as to preserve the patriarch’s dignity, preserve the dignity of the Eastern Churches and respect for Eastern traditions, as well as respect for other Eastern Catholic Patriarchs, for Eastern Orthodox Patriarchs of all Churches and for ecumenical dialogue.

The transition from one era to the next is an agreed order of things that was decided upon in February 2017. But coordination on the details of the mode and mechanism of transition has not been properly followed. I will continue to communicate with His Holiness the Pope and with the Congregation for Eastern Churches, to find a suitable outcome to this transition. We will remain in touch in this spirit of love and understanding, for the good of our Church, unity and future, for the glory of God and the welfare of souls.

I conclude by thanking “the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ” (Ephesians 1: 3). I also conclude with a phrase from my 2011 meditation on resignation, "`Love never fails!´ Thank you, Jesus, thank you, Mary, and let us commend ourselves and each other, and all our life unto Christ our God.“

Rabweh, 6 May 2017

 
+Gregorios III
Patriarch of Antioch and All the East,
Of Alexandria and of Jerusalem
Of the Melkite Greek Catholics

Rabweh Phone: +961 441 3111  Fax: +961 441 8113  Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Website: www.melkitepat.org/eng/home


Teachings of Christ

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’" (Matthew 7:21-23 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 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

Seek, my child, the nobility of the soul, for it is truth; that of the body is false. Do not seek honor from men, for this injures one; but rather, seek heavenly glory . . . . You are to be sympathetic with all the brethren and help them as much as possible; and, you are to minister to them that are unable or weak. Do not desire to live by another's labors . . . . Never ridicule anyone, and especially when they are in misfortune. When you hear that a certain brother is disorderly, supplicate God to correct his life. Visit and help the sick, and serve the brethren as their servant; so you might be a friend of Christ Who, for your sake, became a servant and minister. Always heed, my child, not to fall into temptations. However, if it happens that you should fall, immediately rise up and amend yourself with repentance, and again hasten to prayer. In this manner, live your life, my child, and God shall always come to you and help you in soul and body.

St. Theodora of Alexandria, "The Lives of the Spiritual Mothers: An Orthodox Materikon of Women Monastics and Ascetics