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Letter from H.H. Ignatius IV of the Roum Orthodox

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  • mfignatius
    Here is that letter I was talking about. Any commentary would be greatly appreciated. Mike ... Statement Of The Roum Orthodox Church Of Antioch Damascus, 12
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 7, 2001
      Here is that letter I was talking about. Any commentary would be
      greatly appreciated.

      Statement Of The Roum 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
      Damascus, Syria.

      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 10:30).

      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

      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 faithful.

      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. If 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 Liturgy.

      8. What applies to bishops applies equally to the priests of both

      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

      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 parish.

      12. Ordination into 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 Shepherd.

      Dec. 11, 1991
      Patriarch Ignatios IV
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