The ecclesial communion and fraternal charity triumphed in the end.
The Holy Synod of the Greek Melkite Catholic Church issued a
surprisingly frank statement on Thursday after its three-day meeting
(21- 23 February) at the patriarchal headquarters in Rabieh, Lebanon.
In the communiqué, “rebel” bishops and Patriarch Gregory III
acknowledged their own errors that had led to the cancellation last year
of the previous meeting of the Holy Synod for the lack of a quorum. Many bishops stayed away, accusing the patriarch of mishandling Church’ real estate assets.
The break had scandalised the faithful, and pushed the Congregation
of Eastern Churches to intervene, with a pressing call for dialogue and
reconciliation between the parties.
The exceptional presence of the Apostolic nuncios to Syria and
Lebanon, Cardinal Mario Zenari and Bishop Gabriele Caccia, contributed
to the appeasement between the two sides.
Thus, after a few months, the grave crisis that had hit the Melkite Greek Catholic Church seems to be over.
At the end of the meeting, participants issued a statement cited
herein, starting with thanks to Pope Francesco "for the attention he
reserves for domestic issues of our Melkite Church".
"During the meeting, the bishops found regrettable and disturbing the
insurmountable difficulties that have lately appeared. Nevertheless,
dialogue between the participants has resulted in positive results. Some
of the bishops who did not participate in previous synods or spread
misleading statements in the media admitted that they behaved in an
improper manner. They recognised they did wrong. The bishops noted some
mismanagement, probably involuntary, in the administration of the Greek
“We thank the Saviour that the spirit of fraternal reconciliation and
renewed commitment to returning to the path of communion enabled the
restoration of peace in the Church and prevailed over the
Stressing some “important choices for the good of the Church, the
Synod ended scheduling its next meeting for 19-24 June 2017 after the
election of its new permanent members who will help the patriarch in his
After making an appeal for a “shared journey”, the patriarch and the
bishop call on the faithful at Lent to turn to a “conversion of the
heart and acts of charity so that the world may see the light of our
Church and glorify God the Father, leading us in communion towards the
joys of the Resurrection."
The Holy Synod ended with a liturgy of reconciliation to which the
superiors and general superiors of the religious orders of the Melkite
Church were invited.
A summary of the statement of the Holy Synod was to be read on Sunday
in all the Greek Catholic parishes in the Archeparchy of Beirut.