Damascus - The Holy Synod of the Melkite Greek Catholic Church has, as foreseen, ended its work on 8 February,   2012. The final communiqué published this morning announces that the Synod Fathers have chosen candidates suitable for consecration as bishops, in line with the number of eparchies declared vacant and the titular sees whose holders have reached the canonical retirement age. The list of names will be sent to the Holy See for approval.

The Holy Synod considered the situation prevalent in the countries of the patriarchal territories – in particular, Syria and Egypt.  The Fathers launched an appeal to the conscience of these countries’ governments and their opponents to stop the bloodbath and for all parties to consent to resort to dialogue under the aegis of the international community and Arab countries. This dialogue should end in lasting peace built on justice, democracy and freedom.

The Fathers welcomed the open-mindedness that was evident during the Muslim-Christian summit of 7 February in Beirut in which H. B. Patriarch Gregorios III took part. They also asked the Lebanese government to look after the people’s needs, while hoping that all members of the government would grasp the need to rise above personal ambitions and interests.

Finally, the Holy Synod lent its support to the documents published in January by Al-Azhar on freedom of religion and conscience.

The next Synod of the Melkite Greek Catholic Church will be held starting on 18 June 2012 at the patriarchal summer residence of Aïn-Traz (Lebanon.)

Translation from French: V. Chamberlain

Entrance of the Mother of God into the Temple

Today is the prelude of the goodwill of God * and the heralding of the salvation of mankind; * the Virgin appears clearly in the temple of God * and foretells Christ to all. * Let us also with a mighty voice cry out to her: * “Rejoice, O Fulfillment of the Creator’s divine plan.” (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.

The most pure Temple of the Savior, * the most precious Bridal-Chamber and Virgin, the sacred Treasury of the glory of God, * is brought today into the house of the Lord, * bringing with her the grace that is in the Divine Spirit. * The angels of God praise her in song: * “She is the heavenly tabernacle.” (Kontakion - Tone 4)

(November 21st)