Damascus (Agenzia Fides) - A note released by the communications office of the Patriarchate of Antioch of the Greek-Melkite reports that Grègoire Patriarch Laham III continues to carry out his role, is preparing to launch "new projects" and plans to "double his efforts at local and international levels", to "alleviate the suffering of the population in the ongoing crisis, especially in Syria, Iraq and Palestine". The statement makes explicit reference to articles published in the local media, containing hints of the possible resignation of the Patriarch, and reprimands media representatives to publish news only after checking the reliability.
From 21 to 23 February, the Patriarch and the Greek-Melkite bishops had gathered in the Synodal Assembly at the Patriarchal See of Raboué, in Lebanon. At the end of the Assembly, a statement had been released in which the Patriarch and the Bishops had officially recognized their mistakes that led, in June 2016, to the cancellation of the previous synodal Assembly. On that occasion (see Fides 22/06/2016), the Synod of the Greek-Melkite Catholic Church, after having opened on June 20 in Ain Traz in a climate of high tension, was interrupted and postponed due to the absence of a number of bishops. The issue had highlighted the divisions within the Greek-Melkite episcopate, which became increasingly concrete in the request for the resignation of Patriarch Gregoire III, supported by a group of at least ten Bishops. Then, in a following pronouncement of the postponement of the Synod, Patriarch Grègoire had remarked that the canon law of the Eastern Catholic Churches does not provide for the possibility of forcing the Patriarch's resignation against his will. (GV) (Agenzia Fides 06/03/2017)