Monday, May 12, 2008

From the Patriarch of Antioch website

These are excerpts

Address of His Beatitude Patriarch Gregorios IIItoHis Holiness Pope Benedict XVI
(Apostolic Palace of the Vatican, 8 May 2008)

Most Holy Father,

May the Lord be blessed for this day which allows us this long-awaited meeting with Your Holiness, in the company of several Hierarchs, members of the Holy Synod of our patriarchal Melkite Greek Catholic Church, together with Superiors General and Mothers General of our religious Orders, priests from among our secular and regular clergy, and a goodly number of our faithful, including ministers, deputies, businessmen, and also fathers and mothers of families, all glad to be taking part in this pilgrimage, the memory of which will live on in their minds and in the annals of our Patriarchate.
Collegiality: strength and unity

A strong, united Church means, ad intra, effective and affectionate collegiality between the Patriarch and the Hierarchs who are members of the Holy Synod. It means a Church where love is the bond that unites the faithful with their pastors and with each other.

It also means a Church strong in its faith, that precious deposit that we must be capable of transmitting to younger generations. We have invented and popularised a saying in our community, “A Church without young people is a Church without a future. Young people without a Church are young people without a future.”
Ecumenical role

The other aspect of the ad extra mission of the Melkite Greek Catholic Church is its role in the ecumenical journey towards Christian unity.

Our Church has always been conscious of this role. The history of our Melkite Greek Catholic Church of Antioch, in full communion for close on three hundred years with the Church of Rome that “presides in love,” has been marked by many vexations. In particular, it has had to live in the catacombs for about one hundred and thirty years. Indeed, we are a Church of martyrs and confessors of the faith, especially in Lebanon and Syria. There are, standing before you, Most Holy Father, descendants of martyrs.

Absolute communion with Rome

These were martyrs for unity, martyrs of communion with Rome, that communion which was, and still is for us, an historic, existential choice for commitment, that is both effectual and emotional, a definitive and irreversible constituent of glory and humility.

Orthodox and Catholic

However, that communion with Rome does not separate us from our Orthodox ecclesial reality. We say this with profound humility, a deep ecumenical awareness and a touch of humour: we are an Orthodox Catholic Church.

Read it all here.

1 comment:

Byzantine, TX said...

My favorite part (the one I wish hierarchs from other Eastern Catholic Churches would voice):

"We are indeed rather the Eastern “enfant terrible” in communion with the Church of Rome. That was the goal of the initiative of the late Archbishop Elias Zoghby in 1996: to be in full communion with the Church of Rome and with Orthodoxy. That may be a dream, an Utopian vision, but it is also a prophetic vision.

We would like to live, in the very heart of the Catholic Church, a life that could be accepted by Orthodoxy. Let us do so, Most Holy Father. That is the key to all real progress along the ecumenical way. Accept us, Holy Father, as we are: Eastern Orthodox, who want to live our full and complete Eastern Orthodox tradition in full communion with Rome. That is the really big challenge for the Catholic-Orthodox dialogue, as has been evident at every stage of the ecumenical dialogue since 1980 and especially at Belgrade and Ravenna."