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Posted in Dialogue, Synod

Symposium revisits Synod for the Middle East

symposium570On Tuesday, February 8th, the Pontifical Missions and Catholic Aid Organizations under the leadership of Tony Klarsham, held a symposium for Arab Christians on the recommendations of the Synod for the Middle East. Speakers were, His Beatitude Fouad Twal, Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem and Dr. Bernard Sabella, Member of Palestinian Legislative Council.

At the Synod in October 2010, the speakers reflected on the fundamental questions of the reality of the Church in the Middle East and expressed their concerns for justice, peace and social stability. The Synod Fathers compiled a list of 44 proposals.

The Patriarch spoke (for text of speech, click here) about the positive aspects of Synod. For the first time, the pastors of the Middle East (Patriarchs, Bishops and Cardinals) gathered together to “show the face of Eastern Church to the world. ” “The “little flock” of the Middle Eastern Church, took its place just like the bigger flock, who lives in the rest of the world ” said the Patriarch.

The issue of emigration was one and remains a major concern of the Synod. “The Holy Land is about to turn into a historical museum, full of Christian monuments, but empty of Christians” warned the Patriarch.

More than reflecting on the 44 recommendations of the Synod, the Patriarch chose to send an essential message to find out how much the laity important role and place the laity have in the Holy Land and the need to encourage them quoting a text from the Synod: “We you express to the faithful, our esteem and friendship. We appreciate everything you do for your families and our society, churches and your country of origin. Stand firm in the midst of difficulties.(…). Have the courage to proclaim the truth objectively. The Patriarch acknowledged that “being a Christian in the East is a vocation rather than a privilege. We must be witnesses of Jesus Christ dead and risen for the salvation of mankind.”

Dr. Bernard Sabella, on the same topic expressed (for text of speech, click here) that the recommendations of the Synod could focus on particular issues as priorities such as, support for the youth the elderly, to give them a dignified life, for Christians of all rites. We must therefore urgently deal with primary and university education, promote basic health care, build bridges of dialogue with young people. 

In a word, encouraging Christians not to emigrate, not to sell their property, and to help them conserve their lands and even buy more land or properties. 

Patriarchs and Bishops of the Middle East in a joint statement called for “material and moral support” for the Christian communities affected by violence and attacks. The second meeting of the Special Council for the Middle East of the Synod of Bishops was held on January 20-21, in Rome.

Christophe Lafontaine