Greek Melkite Church: peace reached between Patriarch Gregory III and “rebel” bishops
The Synod held a few days ago in Rabieh, Lebanon, ends in success. Divisions between the patriarch and a group of dissident prelates over real estate is settled. Communion and fraternal charity prevailed in the community. The presence of the nuncios to Syria and Lebanon, Card Zenari and Mgr Caccia, proved crucial.
Beirut (AsiaNews) – 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 Catholic Church.”
“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 misunderstandings”.
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 decisions.”
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 will be read on Sunday in all the Greek Catholic parishes in the Archeparchy of Beirut and.