Celebrations to mark full communion with the Bishop of Rome since 1724 will include liturgical celebrations, publications and insights of a historical, theological and ecumenical nature

By La Croix International staff | June 27, 2023

The Melkite Greek-Catholic Church has begun preparations for the 300th anniversary of full union with the Church of Rome.

Celebrations will commence in Damascus on November 11, with a solemn liturgy presided by Patriarch Youssef (Joseph) Absi of Antiochia in Syria, head of the Melkite Greek Catholic Church.

According to a press release issued by the Synod of Melkite Bishops, the program to celebrate the anniversary will include "liturgical celebrations, study conferences, publications and insights on historical, theological and ecumenical nature, as well as exhibitions on the spiritual and artistic heritage preserved by the Melkite communities in the Middle East."

The Greek Melkite Catholic Church has been in full communion with Rome since 1724, following a schism in the Greek Church of Antioch. The schism came after the election of Seraphim Tanas as Patriarch of Antioch that year was contested by the Patriarch of Constantinople. Seraphim Tanas, who took the name Kyrillos VI, was excommunicated by the Patriarch of Constantinople who installed Sivestro of Aleppo on the seat of Antioch. Kyrillos then fled to Lebanon to avoid being persecuted. Some of these Christians, Catholicized by Jesuit and Franciscan missionaries then present in the Middle East opted to enter into communion with the Holy See.

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