Dear all list members
I am posting this agreement. I got the information from book "Towards Unity"
the book available from Light and Life book store.
Statement Of The Room Orthodox Church Of Antioch Damascus, 12 November 1991
To the members of the Holy Synod of Antioch, Prayers to God and fraternal
greetings in Our Lord, Jesus Christ
It is our pleasure to inform you that pertaining to the Holy Synod decision
concerning our unity with the Holy Syriac Orthodox Church, a meeting was held
in Damascus at The Syriac Orthodox Patriarchate on 22 July, 1991. The following
hierarchies attended the meeting: HH Patriarch Ignatius Zakka I, HH Patriarch
Ignatius IV, Metropolitan George Khodr, Metropolitan Malattius Barnaba,
Metropolitan Aphram Barsoum, Metropolitan Isaak Saka, and Bishop Paul Al-Souki.
After the discussion the participants consented to issue a draft, which was
preceded by a letter and whose contents were agreed upon to be discussed at the
next meeting. It will assume its official status after the agreement of the
Holy Synod, and what it sees appropriate to the matter during the forthcoming
Holy Synod meeting.
The Lord is always with us.
Patrarch Ignatius IV
A Synodal and Patriarchal Letter
To All Our Childeren, Protected by God, Of the Holy see of Antioch
You must have heard of the continuous efforts for decades by our Church with
the sister Syriac Orthodox Church to foster a better knowledge and understating
of both Churches, whether on the dogmatical or pastoral level. These attempts
are nothing but a natural expression that the Orthodox Churches, and especially
those within the Holy See Of Antioch, are called to articulate the will of the
Lord that all may be one, just as the Son is One with the Heavenly Father (John
It is our duty and that of our brothers in the Syriac Orthodox Church to
witness to Christ in our Eastern region where He was born, preached, suffered,
was buried and rose from the dead, ascended into heaven, and sent down His Holy
and Life-Giving Spirit upon His holy apostles.
All the meetings, the fellowship, the oral and written declarations meant that
we belong to One Faith even though history had manifested our division more
than the aspects of our unity.
All this has called upon our Holy Synod of Antioch to bear witness to the
progress of our Church in the see of Antioch towards unity that preserves for
each Church its authentic Oriental heritage whereby the one Antiochian Church
benefits from its sister Church and is enriched by its traditions, literature
and Holy rituals.
Every endeavor and pursuit in the direction of the coming together of the two
Churches is based on the conviction that this orientation is from the Holy
Spirit, and it will give the Eastern Orthodox image more light and radiance,
that it has lacked for centuries before.
Having recognized the efforts done in the direction of unity between the two
Churches, and being convinced that this direction was inspirite by the Holy
Spirit and projects a radiant image of Eastern Christianity overshadowed during
many centuries, the Holy Synod of the Church of Antioch saw the need to give a
concrete expression of the close fellowship between the two Churches, the
Syriac Orthodox Church and the Eastern Orthodox for the edification of their
Thus, the following decisions were taken:
1. We affirm the total and mutual respect of the spirituality, heritage and
Holy Fathers of both Churches. The integrity of both the Byzantine and Syriac
liturgies is to be preserved.
2. The heritage of the Fathers in both Churches and their traditions as a whole
should be integrated into Chrestian education curricula and theological
studies. Exchanges of professors and students are to be enhanced.
3. Both Churches shall refrain from accepting any faithful from one Church into
the membership of the other, irrespective of all motivations or reasons.
4. Meetings between the two Churches, at the level of their Synods, according
to the will of the two Churches, will be held whenever the need may arise.
5. Every Church will remain the reference and authority for its faithful,
pertaining to matters of personal status (marriage, divorce, adoption etc.)
6. Iif Bishops of the two Churches participate at a holy baptism or funeral
service, the one belonging to the Church of the baptized or deceased will
preside. In case of a Holy matrimony service, the bishop of the bridegroom's
Church will preside.
7. The above mentioned is not applicable to the concelebration in the divine
8. What applies to bishops applies equally to the priests of both Churches.
9. In localities where there is only one priest, from either Church, he will
celebrate services for the faithful of both Churches, including the Divine
Liturgy, pastoral duties and holy matrimony. He will keep an independent record
for each Church and transmit that of the sister Church to its authorities.
10. If two priests of the two Churches happen to be in a locality where there
is one Church, they take turns in making use of its premises.
11. If a bishop from one Church and a priest from the sister Church happen to
concelebrate a service, the first will preside even when it is the priest's
12. Ordination int the holy orders are performed by the authorities of each
Church for its own members. It would be advisable to invite the faithful of the
sister Church to attend.
13. Godfathers, godmothers (in baptism) and witnesses in holy matrimony can be
chosen from the members of the sister Church.
14. Both Churches will exchange visits and will cooperate in various areas of
social, cultural and educational work.
We ask God's help to continue strengthening our relations with the sister
Church, and with other Churches, so that we all become one community under one
Dec. 11, 1991
Patriarch Ignatios IV