Rome 23-24 April 2010

Report by Patriarch Gregorios III

of the Melkite Greek Catholic Church

The work of preparation for the Synod for the Middle East has made progress in this third reunion of the members of the Presynodal Council, who are the seven Patriarchs of the Middle East, the President of the Episcopal Conference in Iran and the President of the Episcopal Conference in Turkey. The work was led by Archbishop Nikola Eterović, Secretary General of the Synod of Bishops, Rome.

The members studied in a plenary session and in three groups the vast amount of material made up of answers from eparchies, institutions and religious to the questions of the Lineamenta, sent to all Churches in January 2010.

The next step will be for the Office of the Synod of Bishops to produce a document about this recent meeting of the Presynodal Council to be sent in a few days' time to Council members, who are asked to reply with comments as soon as possible to the Synodal Office. Then it will be the work of the Synodal Office to produce the final version of the document for the Synod for the Middle East, which will be proposed to Pope Benedict XVI, for his approval. This final document is called the Instrumentum Laboris and will be translated into Arabic and other languages and presented by His Holiness to the members of the Presynodal Council during the papal visit to Cyprus from 4 to 6 June.

The General Secretariat of the Synod will send further information about their eventual participation to all members of the coming Synod for the Middle East to be held in Rome between 10 and 24 of October. The General Secretariat of the Synod will send invitations to observe to Orthodox Churches, to Muslims and to Jews.

The Synod was prepared by the Presynodal Council in September 2009 and in November of the same year. This was the third and final meeting of the Presynodal Council.

All members of our Church are asked to pray for the success of this unique and very important event in the life of the Catholic Churches of the Middle East.

Ed.  V. C.


Joachim and Anna Rejoice

Today the bonds of childlessness are loosed, * for God has heard Joachim and Anna * and He promises manifestly that they, against all hope, would give birth to the Maiden of God * from whom the Uncircumscribed One Himself would be born, becoming man, * and he commanded the Angels to cry out to her: * “Rejoice, O Full of Grace, the Lord is with you!” (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 whole world celebrates * the conception of Anne which was brought about by God, * for she gave birth to the one who, beyond understanding, * gave birth to the Word. (Kontakion - Tone 4)

Saint Nicholas of Myra

The truth of your deeds has revealed you to your flock, * as a rule of faith, an image of meekness, and a teacher of abstinence. * Therefore, you attained the heights through humility, * and riches through poverty. * O Father and Hierarch Nicholas, * pray to Christ God that our souls may be saved. (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.

In Myra, You were shown to be a servant of the sacred things, O Holy Nicholas, * for, fulfilling the Gospel of Christ, you, O Venerable, laid down your life for your people, * and saved the innocent from death. * Therefore, you were sanctified as a great initiate of the grace of God. (Kontakion, Tone 3)