CWN - The Patriarch of the Maronite Catholic Church, an Eastern Catholic church in full communion with the Holy See, criticized divorce attorneys who facilitate conversions to other ecclesial communities so that Catholic spouses may divorce.

In Lebanon, marriage and divorce are governed by the laws of the religion that the citizen professes.

“Every lawyer who helps a married couple to convert in order to divorce them is banned from representing cases in religious courts,” said Cardinal Béchara Boutros Raï. “We call on religious courts and the courts of two well-known churches to stop committing this sin in return for a fistful of money.”

Father George Massouh of the University of Balamand told the Beirut-based Daily Star that the Patriarch was referring to the Assyrian Church of the East, which ceased to be in full communion with the Holy See following the Council of Ephesus (431), and the Syriac Orthodox Church, which ceased to be in full communion with the Holy See following the Council of Chalcedon (451).

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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)