ASIA/LEBANON - Unprecedented summit between the Patriarchs of the Churches of Syriac tradition

Friday, 16 December 2022 middle east   oriental churches   ecumenicalism   liturgy   theology  

Atchaneh (Agenzia Fides) - An unprecedented and in some respects historic meeting between the leaders of the Churches of the Syriac tradition, to discuss and reflect together on the emergencies and problems faced by Christian communities in the Middle East, in the light of the common spiritual heritage and of the teaching of the Fathers of the Church. This is the only ecclesial meeting convened today, Friday, December 16, at Atchaneh (Lebanon), at the headquarters of the Syriac Orthodox Patriarchate. The meeting, convened by the Syriac-Orthodox Patriarch Mar Ignatius Aphrem II, sees the participation, among others, of the Syriac-Catholic Patriarch Ignace Youssif III Younan, the Maronite Patriarch Bechara Boutros Raï, the Assyrian Patriarch Mar Awa III and the Chaldean Patriarch Luis Raphael Sako. On the eve of the ecclesial summit, Patriarch Mar Ignatius Aphrem II, in an interview given to the Télé Lumière-Noursat television channel, underlined the unique nature of this meeting, which brings together for the first time the heads of Churches who share the same spiritual and theological source, but which have often been divided in the past by controversies and conflicts. The meeting also aims to find together ways to preserve and claim the relevance of the common spiritual and theological heritage of Syriac origin, represented by great figures of primitive Christianity, such as Saint Ephrem the Syriac.
"We are gathered today", said Patriarch Mar Aphrem II as he opened the meeting, "to bear witness together in this world full of challenges, and we ask God to give us the strength and the love to decide together what is best for the members of our churches, in all parts of the world". "What we have in common", added the Primate of the Syriac Orthodox Church "is a lot, even if, due to various historical contingencies, we still experience today discords in the way of expressing our faith". But today we feel the urgency to be together, and to cherish together our rich Syriac heritage". (GV) (Agenzia Fides, 16/12/2022)