-The Synod of Bishops for the Middle East has concluded its general discussions, and moved on to begin work on a final message.

On Saturday, October 16, the Synod participants heard the first draft of a final message, and began voting for members of the special council that will be selected to follow up on the Synod.

On October 18, the Coptic Catholic Patriarch Antonios Naguib of Alexandria, Egypt, presented the relatio post disceptationem: the summary of the discussions to date. His presentation took up the whole of the Monday-morning session.

The fundamental need of the Church in the Middle East, Patriarch Antonios said, is “to reawaken our missionary zeal.” The work of the Synod should promote that end, he stressed.

"Religion must not be politicized, nor the state take precedence over religion,” the Coptic prelate said. But his report acknowledged the grave political problems that confront the Church in the region. His report called for “a just and lasting solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict,” while expressing solidarity with the Palestinian people, “whose current situation encourages fundamentalism.” He also pleaded for international recognition of “the tragic situation of Christians in Iraq who are the main victims of the war and its effects,” and called for protection of religious freedom from all, particularly Christian minorities in Islamic lands.

“One of the major challenges threatening the presence of Christians in some countries in the Middle East is emigration,” the report noted. While Christians should retain the right to emigrate, the Church needs to encourage young people particularly to remain in their native lands, and toward that end must help them find security and the promise of a future for their families.”

Patriarch Antonios spoke at some length about the status of the Eastern Catholic churches—which accounted for a majority of the participants in the Synod. The Synod, he said, should encourage closer ties among the different Catholic bodies in the Middle East, and between the Eastern churches and the Latin Church.

“Mission and and ecumenism are closely linked,” the Patriarch noted. “The Catholic and Orthodox churches have much in common.” The Eastern churches could play a special role in strengthening ties with the Orthodox world and bringing Christian unity closer to reality.

The Eastern churches are also important, the report observed, because residents of the Middle East often identify Christianity with Europe, in ways that create political obstacles to the acceptance of the faith. In actuality, Patriarch Antonios said, “the governments of the West are secular and increasingly opposed to the Christian faith. It is important to explain this reality as well as the positive significance of the secular state, which distinguishes politics from religion.”

Source(s): these links will take you to other sites, in a new window.

Teachings of Christ

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God." (Matthew 5:9 ESV)


At Your baptism 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 truth 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)

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, keep my words and treasure up my commandments with you; keep my commandments and live." (Proverbs 7:1,2 ESV)

Pray Without Ceasing

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

Wisdom from the Church Fathers

Humility is the only thing we need; one can still fall having virtues other than humility -- but with humility one does not fall.

Elder Herman of Mt. Athos