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Communiqué from the Holy Synod of Antioch's Fall Session

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  • Bill Samsonoff
    http://araborthodoxy.blogspot.com/ Monday, October 31, 2011 Communiqué from the Holy Synod of Antioch s Fall Session This translation is in no way official.
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 4, 2011

      Monday, October 31, 2011
      Communiqué from the Holy Synod of Antioch's Fall Session

      This translation is in no way official. The official Arabic version can
      be found here: http://tinyurl.com/44j8lx7

      At the invitation and under the guidance of His Beatitude Patriarch
      Ignatius IV, the Antiochian Orthodox Synod held its regular session in
      the patriarchal residence at the Monastery of Our Lady of Balamand from
      the 25th to the 27th of October. Present at the meeting were
      metropolitans: Spiridon (Khoury) of Zahleh and Baalbek, Georges (Khodr)
      of Jbeil, Batroun, and their dependencies, Youhanna (Mansour) of
      Lattakia, Elias (Audi) of Beirut, Iliya (Saliba) of Hamah, Elias
      (Kfoury) of Tyre, Sidon, and Marjayoun, Antonius (Chadraoui) of Mexico,
      Damaskinos (Mansour) of Sao Paulo and Brazil, Saba (Esber) of Bosra,
      Jebel al-Arab, and Hawran, Georges (Abu Zakhem) of Homs, Boulos (Yazigi)
      of Aleppo and Alexandretta, Silouan (Mousa) of Argentina, Youhanna
      (Yazigi) of Europe, Basil (Mansour) of Akkar, Ephrem (Kyriakos) of
      Tripoli and al-Koura, Archbishop Niphon (Saikali) patriarchal
      representative to the Patriarchate of Moscow, Bishop Ghattas (Hazim)
      abbot of the Patriarchal Monastery of Our Lady of Balamand and dean of
      the St. John of Damascus Theological Institute, and Economos Georges
      Dimas, the Synod’s secretary.

      The current session of the Holy Synod was held in delicate
      circumstances, which the countries of the Patriarchate of Antioch and
      the Arab Middle East are experiencing, especially Syria and Lebanon,
      where the Orthodox are the majority of Christians.

      The meeting began with a word of welcome from His Beatitude, in which he
      emphasized the importance of the unity of the Antiochian Orthodox Church
      in Lebanon, Syria, the Middle East, and the diaspora and the priority of
      working to provide satisfactory responses to her children who, along
      with their partners in citizenship, face many problems and challenges,
      as His Beatitude laid out in the intensive meetings which he held in
      Lebanon regarding the organization of the Orthodox community so that it
      can take its due place in centers of political and administrative

      Starting from the basis of a single, faith-based approach to the
      effective Christian presence and the genuine witness of Christians, the
      Synod is concerned to emphasize the role of the Church in her capacity
      as a conscience for all the faithful and so it continuously calls to
      mind what God wills for the good of humanity. The Church cannot stand
      with her hands tied regarding the oppression and discrimination that
      peoples and groups are facing.

      Starting from the basis of the Orthodox Church having been present in
      these countries since the spread of the Christian gospel and on the
      basis of the proactive role that the Orthodox have taken across the ages
      in the revival of their country as a nation and a civilization, the
      fathers call on their children to participate actively in forging
      effective solutions for exiting the crisis and embarking on the path of
      flourishing and their nations’ advancement.

      The fathers of the Holy Synod examined the phenomenon of political
      changes which are sweeping the region, asking God to inspire those
      responsible for the fate of the countries of the region to take the
      right decisions to lessen the citizens’ pains, to ease their life’s
      circumstances, and to ensure a flourishing future for their children. In
      this regard, the Synod emphasized:

      1. Work in faith and hope for the sake of bringing peace, social
      justice, and the building of a civil state on the basis of equality of
      rights and responsibilities for all under a single law to which all
      children of the nation submit without exception.

      2. That the children of the Orthodox community hold on to their homes
      through Church- and social-solidarity between the flocks of the nation
      and the emigration.

      The Synod likewise studied internal issues, including:

      1. The internal statutes of the See of Antioch: They emphasized that
      these statutes must take inspiration from the unity of the people, which
      is enclosed in secrets around its pastors, so that they can offer
      service pleasing to God. They called attention to the importance of
      applying these statutes, the basic purpose of which is to ensure
      opportunities for the faithful’s partnership together, each according to
      the gifts he has been given. Through this it is possible for all to
      participate in planning the work of the Church, being involved in it,
      and bearing responsibilities.

      2. The pastoral situation and the necessity of reforming it: The
      technical developments which the world is witnessing make it necessary
      for the Church to adopt new positions with regard to pastoral questions
      that transcend habitual forms and adopt advanced means for helping the
      faithful to ensure an honorable life and to employ their abilities in
      general life. In this context, the establishment of productive
      enterprises is one of the ways to root children of the community. It is
      likewise possible for educational and social institutions, those
      existing and those yet to be founded, to ensure, by securing
      opportunities for work, spaces in which the Church can bear witness to
      the particularity of her service to the world and her love for it.

      3. The state of church media: Media must play a central and important
      role in solidifying interaction and cooperation between the Church and
      the world. In order for media to be interactive, it must leave space
      open for communication in order to determine the reality of the
      situation and the ideas and proposals that today’s society is producing
      concerning everyone’s future. Likewise, church media has an interest in
      building bridges of communication within the single nation and between
      the societies of the different nations that make up the Antiochian
      sphere. Likewise, the fathers of the Synod emphasized the universal role
      of church media and the importance of the Church’s taking initiative in
      responding to the needs of the flock and of society.
      In closing, the Synod expressed its hope that the leaders and peoples of
      the Arab Middle East will work together to ensure stability, freedom,
      and a promising future for this region as well as its hope that the
      Orthodox community will play an effective role in this.

      Published by the secretariat of the Holy Synod of Antioch
      Monastery of Our Lady of Balamand, October 27, 2011
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