From 21 to 23 February 2017, the Synod of the Melkite Greek Catholic Church took place in Rabweh in the presence of almost all bishops. Also invited and present at this meeting were the Apostolic Nuncio of Syria, Cardinal Mario Zenari and the Apostolic Nuncio of Lebanon, Archbishop Gabriele Caccia.
The Synod thanked the Holy Father Francis for his attention to issues of the Melkite Church’s domestic issues.
During the working sessions, it was noted with regret and concern that serious difficulties had emerged recently over inter-episcopal relations on the one hand, and administrative problems on the other. Frank discussion among the participants allowed consideration of possible solutions.
Some bishops who had either failed to reply to two prior invitations to synod, or who had issued certain inappropriate press statements, admitted that they had acted improperly and wished to express their regret on that account. However, there was acknowledgment that occasional unintentional mistakes had been made in Melkite Church administration.
Finally, a spirit of brotherly reconciliation and renewed commitment to move forward together in communion for the restoration of ecclesial peace prevailed over past misunderstandings and enabled significant decisions to be made for the Melkite community’s welfare.
Election to membership of the permanent synod then took place, with one new member and his deputy being elected. The permanent synod, together with the patriarch, is tasked with taking requisite decisions for the smooth running of the Church.
The synod invites all the faithful to step forward afresh along the way of discipleship to the Lord Jesus and to walk together with their bishops, in order to give the Middle East, deeply troubled by war and violence as it is, a witness to charity and a sign of hope.
May the prayers of our most holy Mother, the Virgin Mary of Nazareth, accompany our Melkite Greek Catholic family and Church so that we may live “the Joy of Love,” which the Holy Spirit pours into the hearts of his loved ones.
On this occasion, at the threshold of Great and Holy Lent, we call upon every pastor and parishioner to offer works of repentance and charity, so that the world may see the light of our Church and glorify God the Father and that we may thus walk together towards the joys of Resurrection.
The Synod concluded with a liturgical service to which the Fathers and Mothers Superior of our monastic orders were invited.