A statement issued by the Holy Antiochian Synod
The Holy Antiochian Synod was held and presided by his beatitude John the X (Yazzigi ) in its 5th ordinary round from June 23th to 26th 2015
The following archbishops attended the meeting:
* His eminence Georgios (of Mount Lebanon and dependences )
* His eminence John(of latakia and dependencies)
* Is eminence Elias (of Beirut)
* His eminence Elia(of Hama&dependencies)
* His eminence Elias(of Tyre ,Saida &dependencies)
* His eminence Antonios(of Mexico ,Venizuella,and the Carreabian Islands)
* His eminence Sergius(of Chile &Santiago )
* His eminence Damaskinos(of Brazil&Sao Paulo)
* His eminence Saba(of Horan and the mount of the Arabs)
* His eminence George(of Homs and dependencies)
* His eminence Silouan(of Argentina)
* His eminence Basilios(of Akkar)
* His eminence Ephrem(of Tripoli and dependencies)
* His eminence Ignatius(of France &W.S.Europe)
* His eminence Issac(of Germany,Mid Europe)
* His eminence Joseph(of N.York and N.America)
* His eminence Gattas(of Bagdad,Kuwait)
Other bishops attended too,they are:
-His eminence Niphon Saikali
-His eminence Mousa Khoury
-His eminence Luka Khoury
-His eminence Nicolas Balbaki
- His eminence Ignatius Semaan
-His eminence Athanasios Fahid
- His eminence Dimitri Sharbak
-His eminence Elie tomee
-His eminence Costantine Kayyal
-His eminence John Haykal
-His eminence Romanos Daoud
-His eminence Nicolas Aozon
-His eminence Gregorios Khoury
- His eminence Kais Sadek
Also his eminence Ephrem Malouli (secretary of Synod),attended with Rev father George Dimas (clerk of Synod).
The following bishops have been absent :
* His eminence Spiridon of Zahle and dependencies.
* His eminence Paul of Australia,NewZealand ,apologized for not coming .
* His eminence Paul Yazzigi was absent for being encaptivated ,yet he attended in the prayers of the Fathers of the Synod.
In the beginning (of the meeting) , the Fathers studied and discussed the situation of pastoral work in their Dioceses(at home and in the diaspora).They also blessed the work of the youth on the euangelical,social,and Media levels, in purpose of proclaiming the word of God , and witnessing to our Lord Jesus Christ The risen from the dead, for the salvation of the whole World.
His beatitude informed the Fathers of the Synod of his pastoral visits paid to Aleppo ,Homs,Hama,besides N. York and all N. America , Bagdad , Kuwait.He conveyed to them his impressions uponThese visits, which finally came to ascertain firmness of the church of Antioch in home- land , and to interpret its Will to be by the people of God, no matter how difficult and hard, the circumstances and situations are.
His beatitude also informed the Synod of his official visits he had paid to Greece ,Romania,Russia,Armenia,Cyprus,and the Holy Mount (Athos) in which he conveyed the situation in the Antiochian Church, and
that of the people of God who are undergoing crucial and drastic circumstances.
The Fathers of the Synod displayed, and studied, the preparatory work for the great Pan- Orthodox Council that will be held in the near future . They also stopped at the results that have been reached upon ,by the preparatory Orthodox committee that had met in Chambezy(Switzerland) between September 2014 and April 2015 .
The Synod assigned a committee specified for the preparation of a Memo that explains the Antiochian approach to the challenges brought to the Pan- Orthodox Council .
The Fathers of the Synod affirmed their position by his beatitude, the ecumenical patriarch, in purpose of quickening the work, on all the crises that might obstruct The Council, and affect its conclusions, and results,among which is the conflict with the Patriarchate of Jerusalem.
As the Antiochian Church has exhausted all peaceful means for the sake of ending the conflict with the Patriarchate of Jerusalem, the Fathers of the Synod, are determined to start ecclesial severance with the patriarchate of Jerusalem, until further notice .At the same time, they affirmed the agreement that had been reached upon, in Athens (June 2013), to be the ground and basis for any future solution.
The Fathers of the Synod studied, in great concern, the minutes brought to them By the assigned committee, for continuing the recommendations issued by the Antiochian Conference held at Balamand in June 2014. They also decided to accept, rather to adopt the activities associated with the core of pastoral work enlisted in the minutes referred to, and decided to work on the other aspects of the work, In the next round .Meanwhile, they established a number of Synodal Committees in purpose of activating coordination and communication among all the dioceses of the Antiochian See, both at home ,and in the Diaspora .They also Planned for affairs pertaining to “family life”.
Concerning the unification of the liturgical services, a common text has been prepared, for the service of the Holy Baptism, in hope to be used in all the Orthodox Churches of Antioch.
They elected rev. Archimandrite Silouan Owner the abbot of St. George’s Monastery at ( Houmayra, Syria)a bishop to the British Islands and to Ireland .They also accepted the resignation of his eminence Spiridon(of Zahle),which had been brought to the Patriarch, in which, His eminence Spiridon, wishes to be an honorary bishop, and to spend the rest of his life in dignity at the bishop’s house .The Fathers highly appreciated the achievements he had accomplished, and lifted prayers and supplications For a long life to him.
They also delighted at the progress made in the Orthodox Media, and blessed all efforts exerted for the establishing of the (AOMC)in Antioch, which was inaugurated on the margin of Synodal Minutes .They also gave thanks to all the unknown soldiers who have contributed to establishing the mentioned center and are still working in it .
They also asked their spiritual children to lay their experience at the disposal of the “center”, so that the word of God could reach out to everybody, and the voice of the Antiochian Church, be heard in the whole world.
The Fathers expressed gratitude and admiration of the efforts exerted on the social level, for the help of those in need. The Fathers are strongly committed to the poor, the Vagabonds, and those who are in pain.
In this respect , they urged “the Center for Caring and Development”- in the Patriarchate, which is putting into action the words of the lord “whatever you do to my little brothers, to me it is done”,-to keep working .They gave thanks to all the Doners from different organizations, for their help they have offered to our See ,and urged that they call on those capable of helping, for more giving to the poor who are beloved by the lord, and with whom he unified himself.
The Fathers of the Synod stopped at the suffering of the Syrian people who are weighed down of war, and over-burdened because of organized terror, and blind Takfeer. For terrorists are destroying both buildings, infra structure, and man, besides stealing and robbing different archaeological sites that are a part of our heritage.
Despite this dark situation, the fathers are proud of their children who are deeply rooted in their home-land (Syria),in spite of all difficulties that are blown against them aiming to eradicate their prudence, moderation, and the desire of living together with the other brothers at home(the Muslims).They keep assuring that the Church of Antioch will remain an immune fortress for her children. And that they still accept all initiatives coming from good –doers for the sake of reconstructing what has been destroyed by terrorists ,and restoring any Christian heritage that has been stolen .they also called on their children in Syria, to adhere to their home-land , and to their roots , besides, to work with dedication for Syria and its unity.
The Fathers called on the whole world to stop watching the Syrian Tragedy, and to start working on finding peaceful political solutions to the destructive and absurd war in Syria, solutions that can, and should secure, the returning of all those kidnapped . They also stressed the returning of the two kidnapped bishops John Ibrahim and Paul Yazzigi with the rest of the encaptivated fathers and laymen. They emphasized securing equality in citizenship among all the Syrians, in a way that guarantees the returning of all the displaced, to their homes and families, besides compensating them for what had occurred to everyone of them in this absurd war.
The Fathers called for adhering to the democratic regime in Lebanon ,and to coexistence among all the denominations in the country, expressing Sorrow for the inability of the Lebanese parliament to meet in purpose of electing a president that would carry out the constitutional conscience of the state, and work for protecting Lebanon in all its communities , and secure good and positive activation of all organizations that
will finally lead the country to prosperity and progress in all sectors, in this fatal phase of the region.
The fathers called on the Lebanese deputies and urged them insistingly to act with responsibility and devotion, in accordance with the Lebanese constitution. On the other side, they urged all the ministers to be responsible in caring properly about the the citizens of the state. They appreciated the role played by all security organizations in settling peace on the whole territory .they also called on all those in charge, to work for the release of the kidnapped soldiers, and for their returning to their homes and families.
The Fathers of the synod prayed and supplicated that God be with the people of Iraq in their pain and suffering, and console the people of Yemen and Libya and Palestine, and strengthen them all in these drastic and crucial circumstances.
The Fathers of the Synod repeated their commitment to the coexistence of all the Christians with their Muslim brothers and citizens in All the East, for all are deeply rooted in here, and all are equal before the Law. They also called on society at large, for cooperation against beastly terrorism for The purpose of founding a religious education that can launch open hearts ,and secure peace and active citizenship ,besides dignity of all, for we are all created after the image and likeness of God.
The Fathers demanded urgently that the international Communities exert serious attempts for peaceful solutions of all the problems, solutions that can surpass the narrow materialistic interests of this world, and that can help the people of the region, to live on their home-land in peace and dignity benefitting by all the resources of their beloved land.
The Fathers of the Synod affirmed that our lord Jesus Christ is amidst his Church, and it will not shake off ,no matter how dark the days are ;and that light is going to Shine out of gloom and darkness preaching peace and joy to the whole world ,in order to make mankind live in a hope that never fails.