The Assembly of the Catholic Hierarchs in Syria met on 17, 18 and 19 of November 2015, presided over by Patriarch Gregorios III, with the participation of the Apostolic Nuncio in Syria, Archbishop Mario Zenari, to hold its regular annual meeting for autumn 2015 in the Headquarters of the Melkite Greek Catholic Patriarchate in Damascus. On its agenda were various topics of national, ecclesial and social living conditions.
The Fathers reviewed the general situation in Syria, and considered especially living conditions, studying ways to be closer to their fellow-citizens and their faithful, and provide them with the means to live in dignity and help them cope with various difficulties and problems that they face in light of their dire circumstances given the harsh conditions prevailing in Syria, and urged all the Church’s charitable and social institutions, especially Caritas Syria, which had provided a statement on its work, to be more effective, comprehensive and useful in their services, so as to reflect in their own aspect the face of merciful Jesus who loves mankind.
- The Fathers also studied the phenomenon of emigration that has recently been sweeping away the people of Syria in general and the Church’s members in particular, and worked to develop a vision for dealing with this, both in terms of limiting it, or in terms of looking for ways to help those who have already emigrated in the countries where they have emigrated and settled.
- The Fathers also studied the subject of the call-up of young reservists, in order to find ways to offer them assistance in the matter of reconciling the exigencies of national duty with earning a living.
- Patriarch Gregorios III presented a summary of the work and decisions taken at the Synod on the Family held this October in the Vatican, and Archbishop Samir Nassar, head of the Commission on the Family in Syria, summarized the views and recommendations of the group with regard to Christian families. The Fathers discussed various aspects of the subject and agreed on a national and social plan to support excommunicated families.
- In conclusion those assembled raised their prayers for the Syrian Government, the army and people, especially for the martyrs, asking God to restore harmony and peace, stability and prosperity to Syria, and they appealed to the conscience of the whole world, deeming it responsible for the destructive chaos underlying the tragedies that are destroying human beings and stones in our country and in other countries. They said, “We confront the whole world with its responsibility for igniting the conflagration in our Middle East, which has consumed everything and everybody and presages more violence and terror, destruction, hatred and hostility between the various persuasions and denominations of Eastern society. We appeal to Eastern and Western countries to work together, united in solidarity, to stop the war on our peoples, our culture and our common homeland in this holy land, cradle of religions and civilizations. Let us show compassion for the victims and implore healing for the wounded and extend condolences to every family that has lost a dear one.”
- On this occasion the Fathers appeal to their sons and daughters, inviting them adhere to hope and staying in the country, and to do everything to enhance its unity and sovereignty, stability and prosperity. And they offer them warm congratulations upon the coming Season of the Advent of the Lord Jesus, hoping that he will protect Syria, where the Gospel of peace was first announced at his Nativity.