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10-24 OCTOBER 2010

The Catholic Church in the Middle East:
Communion and Witness.
"Now the company of those who believed
were of one heart and soul" (Acts 4:32)

This Bulletin is only a working instrument for the press.
Translations are not official.

English Edition


19 - 21.10.2010




Yesterday, Wednesday, 20 October 2010, at the conclusion of the General audience, the Holy Father announced that the next 20 November 2010 He will hold a consistory in which He will appoint new members of the College of Cardinals. Among the new Cardinals, the General Relator of the Special Assembly for the Middle East of the Synod of Bishops, H. B. Antonios NAGUIB, Patriarch of Alexandria of the Copts, Head of the Synod of the Coptic Catholic Church, President of the Catholic Hierarchy of Egypt (ARAB REPUBLIC OF EGYPT) and the Synod Fathers: H. Exc. Mons. Angelo AMATO, S.D.B., Titular Archbishop of Sila, Prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints (VATICAN CITY); H. Exc. Mons. Raymond Leo BURKE, Archbishop Emeritus of Saint-Louis, Prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura (VATICAN CITY); H. Exc. Mons. Kurt KOCH, Archbishop-Bishop Emeritus of Basel, President of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of Christian Unity (VATICAN CITY); - H. Exc. Mons. Raymundo DAMASCENO ASSIS, Archbishop of Aparecida, President of Latin American Episcopal Council (C.E.L.AM.) (BRAZIL).


On Monday 18 and Thursday 19 October 2010, the Working Groups continued their meetings. 151 Fathers were present in the Second Session, 155 in the Third Session and 147 in the Fourth Session.

The first phase of the works of the Working Groups (with the discussion on the main issues that require to be studied, offered by the Relatio post disceptationem), ended with the drafting and approval of texts of the Propositions (Synodal consensus formulas regarding some subjects considered important by the Synod Fathers, suggestions offered to the Holy Father as a result of the Synodal work).
Yesterday, Wednesday 20 october 2010, the Relator General, the Special Secretary and the Relators of the Working Groups proceeded to unifying the Propositions.



Today Thursday 21 October 2010, at 9:00 am., with the chant of the Hour of Terce, in the presence of the Holy Father, the Twelfth General Congregation began, for the presentation of the Elenchus Unicus Propositionum (Integrated List of Propositions).

The Acting President Delegate was H. B. Ignace Youssif III YOUNAN, Patriarch of Antioch of the Syrians (LEBANON).

At this General Congregation which ended at 10:30 a.m. 162 Fathers were present.


In this Twelfth General Congregation, the Relator General, H. B. Antonios NAGUIB, Patriarch of Alexandria of the Copts (ARAB REPUBLIC OF EGYPT) and the Special Secretary H. Exc. Mons. Joseph SOUEIF, Archbishop of Cyprus of the Maronites (CYPRUS) presented in French the Elenchus Unicus Propositionum, resulted from the unification of the Propositions prepared by the individual Working Groups.

The integrated list of propositions, work of the whole assembly, is distributed to the Synodal Fathers for private study and for the preparation of Modi (Amendaments) individually, which each Synodal Father can present during the works of the proper Working Group for discussion and common study.

The works of the Working Groups (Sessions V and VI) continued this morning and will continue this afternoon for the preparation of the Amendments of Propositions.


The following Fraternal Delegates intervened:

- H. Em. Emmanuel ADAMAKIS, Metropolitan of France (FRANCE)
- Archimandrite Chrysostomos KYKKOTIS (CYPRUS)
- H. Exc. Barnaba EL SORYANY, Bishop of the Coptic-Orthodox Diocese of Saint George Roma (ITALY)
- H. G. Munib YOUNAN, Bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and The Holy Land, President of the World Lutheran Federation (ISRAEL)

The Fraternal Delegates’ summaries are published below:

- H. Em. Emmanuel ADAMAKIS, Metropolitan of France (FRANCE)

Text has not arrived before publication of the Bulletin.

- Archimandrite Chrysostomos KYKKOTIS (CYPRUS)

Text read by Rev. Dr. Demosthenis Demosthenous (Cyprus)
We warmly thank His Holiness the Pope of Rome, Benedict XVI, our most beloved Brother in Christ, who has kindly invited us to participate in the Synod of the Catholic Churches of the Middle East.
We are completely convinced that this Synod is taking place in a moment that is decisively critical for the whole world, but especially for the sensitive region of the Middle East. Certainly, the Word Incarnate, the Savior of the World, Jesus Christ, brought to all men a message of peace, freedom and justice, teaching us by is example and with his preaching to live in peace with our neighbor and with all peoples. When, though, peace is endangered, as unfortunately it has been in Cyprus for 36 years now, because of the uninterrupted Turkish invasion and occupation of the northern part of our island, it is the duty of all of us to defend it from those who intend to endanger it.
I am particularly happy because this message of peace guide and unites our Churches. Appealing to your goodwill, we cannot but point out that Cyprus is the only nation of the European Union that finds a large part of its territory under occupation, where almost half of its population has been violently chased from their homes and have become refugees, while 520 churches and other venerated sacred places and sites of fervent devotion destroyed, pillaged and turned into entertainment venues or even into stalls for livestock.
For all these reasons, the Christians of Cyprus ask for and await your help and support in the just struggle for the withdrawal from our island of the invading Turkish army and the colonists who have settled there, and for freedom, peace, justice and, in general, all the human rights of the legitimate indigenous inhabitants of the island.
We wish every success to the works of the Synod, for the good of the peoples and people of the Middle East. We hope, furthermore, that the Lord Jesus Christ will grant His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI health and serenity for many years to come, for the good of the flock that has been entrusted to him. May the grace and blessing of the Lord be with all of you. Thank you once again.
With my most heartfelt best wishes and great affection,
the Archbishop of Cyprus Chrysostomos II

[00199-02.04] [DF009] [Original text: Italian]

- H. Exc. Barnaba EL SORYANY, Bishop of the Coptic-Orthodox Diocese of Saint George Roma (ITALY)

His Holiness Pope Shenouda III, Pope of Alexandria and Patriarch of Saint Mark Episcopate, entrusted me with the mission to attend the Synod as his representative, and to express his warm gratitude to His Holiness for extending an invitation to partake in the Synodal works. He entrusted me with delivering a tribute of fraternal love to Your Holiness and to all the members of the Synod, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying and hoping that God will let the Synod bear its desired fruits for the good and consideration of the Christians of the Middle East.
Allow me to say that this Synod comes at a very late stage, as the conflicts and persecutions that our region suffers from have multiplied and turned into lamentation and suffering, resulting in the migration of a large number of the finest young Christians, leaving their homelands behind. I also mean leaving their hearts behind, with their history, authentic culture and tradition, in order to live and take refuge in another country, whose traditions and way of life are strange to them, not in line with their nature, but, compared to what they went through, still more secure and safer, providing them and their children with the hope of a better future.
The title of this Synod on communion and witness takes on a new meaning and significance with regard to the suffering and challenges faced by the Christians of the Middle East, due to precarious and complex political conflicts, particularly the Arab-Israeli conflict, as well as the wars this region has witnessed and still is enduring; wars that have caused an upsurge in Middle Eastern problems, where, as a reaction, anti-Jewish and anti-Christian Salafist movements alike were launched, while the spirit of hatred, rejection of the other and isolationism were felt on the other side in response to the psychological pressure and persecution. That, to the point of martyrdom, marginalization and the feeling of being “non-native” citizens enduring discrimination at work and in political institutions and parliamentary and local councils.
In this sense, it fell to the Church as a reality that it had to live and live with, particularly in how to minister to those communities that departed and scattered all over the world – in addition to ministering the remaining communities inside the country, encouraging them not to leave their homelands, and seeking to resolve their issues, as much as possible, through the intercession of officials.
From my personal experience, I can confirm that we were forced to undergo the reality of emigration. Nevertheless, the Coptic church realized the perils of emigration and migration, of leaving the country whatever the reason for the exile. Accordingly, with his keen intellect and spiritual sensitivity, Pope Shenouda III recognized the need of our Coptic migrant communities (around two million Christian Copts) residing overseas to live in the same ecclesiastic oriental spiritual environment they grew up and were raised in according to its traditions. That is why Pope Shenouda III sent the Church after its faithful communities, to look for them in fear of losing them and their Copt identity, as well as their disappearing in foreign communities. Thus, he founded churches and monasteries and established Copt schools in immigration countries, such as:
In the United States: around 160 Egyptian Coptic churches, two monasteries and five bishops;
In Canada: 20 Coptic churches;
In Bolivia: several churches and a bishop;
In Brazil: several churches and a bishop as well;
In Australia: 20 Coptic churches, a monastery and three bishops;
In Europe: churches in almost every European country, three monasteries and three bishops;
In Sudan: two parishes, two monasteries and two bishops;
In Southern Africa: churches in Kenya, Zimbabwe and remaining countries – a monastery and two bishops. He also founded Coptic schools in the United States, Canada and Australia.I would like to affirm that we look forward to this Synod, thanks to the efforts of His Holiness and the Synod members. May it be the glimpse of hope that carries within it better solutions for the Christians’ problems in the Middle East.
My thanks go to the Synodal members who succeeded, throughout their addresses, in covering all the aspects they have experienced and witnessed, dimensions that have had direct or indirect influences on emigration movements in the Middle East.

[00200-02.02] [DF010] [Original text: Arabic]

- H. G. Munib YOUNAN, Bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and The Holy Land, President of the World Lutheran Federation (ISRAEL)

Text has not arrived before publication of the Bulletin.


At the closing of the General Congregation, the General Secretary of the Synod of Bishops, H. Exc. Mons. Nikola ETEROVIĆ, announced that the Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI has given to the Synod Fathers a gold-plated bronze reproducing a detail of Giambattista Tiepolo's fresco of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, conserved in the Oratory of the Purità in Udine (Italy). The piece, executed by the Savi brothers, commemorates the 60th anniversary of the proclamation of the marian dogma by Pope Pius XII, and is intended to be a special sign of entrustment of the Eastern Churches to the maternal protection of the Mother of God.

[00204-02.03] [NNNNN] [Original text: plurilingual]


A delegation from the Special Assembly for the Middle East of the Synod of Bishops was received in the late morning of Monday, 18 October 2010 at the Italian Embassy to the Holy See. Ambassador Antonio Zanardi Landi welcomed to Palazzo Borromeo: the President Delegate ad honorem, H. B. Card. Nasrallah Pierre Sfeir, Patriarch of Antioch of the Maronites, Bishop of Joubbé, Sarba and Jounieh of the Maronites (Lebanon); the Presidents Delegate Card. Leonardo Sandri, Prefect of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches and H. B. Ignace Youssif III Younan, Patriarch of Antioch of the Syrians (Lebanon); the Relator General, H. B. Antonios Naguib, Patriarch of Alexandria of the Copts (Arab Republic of Egypt ); H. B. Gregorios III Laham, B.S., Patriarch of Antioch of the Greek-Melkites, Archbishop of Damascus of the Greek-Melchites (Syria); H. B. Nerses Bedros XIX Tarmouni, Patriarch of Cilicia of the Armenians, Archbishop of Beirut of the Armenians (Lebanon); H. B. Fouad Twal, Patriarch of Jerusalem of the Latins (Jerusalem); Archbishop Nikola Eterovic, Titular Archbishop of Cibale, General Secretary of the Synod of Bishops; Rev. Mons. Fortunato Frezza, Undersecretary; Rev. Ambrogio Ivan Samus.
The meeting began with a moment of prayer in the chapel dedicated to St. Charles Borromeo and was attended by the Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini. Those who spoke were: Archbishop Nikola Eterovic, who illustrated the aims of the Special Assembly for the Middle East of the Synod of Bishops, underlining its pastoral character, and Card. Leonardo Sandri, who expressed appreciation for the great amount of work Italy has carried out and is still carrying out to safeguard religious freedom. Minister Franco Frattini, greeting the Synod Fathers, declared that Italy has presented a motion at the UN in support of religious minorities. So far he motion has been supported by 27 countries, but the aim is involve a total of 40. Frattini added that the setting up is being planned of European diplomatic sections in all continents to safeguard, among other things, religious freedom, underlining that the role of the European ambassador will be that of monitoring, ensuring that this is respected. The Minister also reported to the Synod Fathers that he had asked for protection for the Christians in Iraq at his recent meeting on 4 October at the Italian Foreign Ministry with the president of the autonomous region of Iraqi Kurdistan, Massoud Barzani, and that he will return to defend the cause of the Christian minorities in Baghdad, which he will visit, after the elections, and again on 11 November to Islamabad, in Pakistan, when he will address university students. Finally as regards the situation in the Holy Land, Minister Frattini said that the Italian state is contributing to the construction of housing for young couples to stem the emigration of Christians.

[00201-02.03] [NNNNN] [Original text: Italian]


A delegation of the Special Assembly for the Middle East of the Synod of Bishops attended the conference entitled “Middle East. Christian witness for peace” which was held Tuesday, 19 October, 2010 in the Campidoglio. The meeting was sponsored by the City of Rome, the General Secretariat of the Synod of Bishops, by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Vatican Radio and the International Center of Communion and Liberation.
Peace in the Middle East is the great hope for all the peoples of the world. This, in short, is the “red thread” that has linked all the interventions presented at the Campidoglio, as reported by Vatican Radio. And peace is the word invoked by several voices, as well as the importance of the Christian presence in the Middle East. “The values of Christianity” - said the Mayor of Rome, Gianni Alemanno - “may inevitably be the best medicine to ensure that in solving the conflict, in creating peace and justice, that the tension, anger, resentment and hostility arising from the hatred accumulated over many years should not be an obstacle”.
This was echoed by the Secretary General of the Synod of Bishops, H. E. R. Archbishop Nikola Eterovic, who pointed out that peace is a gift from God and that every member of the Church is called to follow their vocation, that is, to be a peacemaker. “This vocation” - said the Secretary-General - also has an important social dimension that could break the vicious circle of violence, revenge and hatred and prepare our hearts to find true peace in reconciliation and in justice”.
The General Relator, S. B. Antonios Naguib, asserted the role of Christians in political parties and called for “the courage to make tough decisions” in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which, he said, “has disastrous consequences for religious and political life of the entire region”.
From Rome to the Middle East and to Rome from the Middle East, continued Father Federico Lombardi, Director of the Holy See Press Office, Vatican Radio and CTV, explaining the strong link which exists between the Italian capital and the Middle East region. Father Lombardi also noted the crucial role of the mass media in ensuring that the Christians of the Middle East sense the solidarity of the international community, both at a social and political level. Thus, Father Lombardi highlighted the greatest demand perceived by the Synod: “To show solidarity, tackling, in a promising way for the future, the reflection on what is the true meaning, the true place of undivided practice, today, in the Middle East and in all other countries in the world, of religious freedom, freedom of conscience, full citizenship to build the social and political communities in which we live. These issues should be explored precisely in order to be able to diffuse them and be able to make everyone aware of the good of the Christians of the Middle East”.
The intervention by the Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini was dramatic: out of every 100 deaths due to religious intolerance in the world, he said, 75 are Christians and the situation is alarming. “Christianophobia today” - he continued - “is a growing and very real risk, that today we have to fear day after day. In many contexts, the Christian communities live in a state of isolation and alienation, despite being throughout history the centers of propelling and spreading Christianity, long before the arrival of Islam”. The Minister Frattini also mentioned the proposal to introduce an UN resolution on the protection of minorities and of religious freedom and stressed that dialogue is essential to try to resolve conflicts. In this context, the real challenge of Christianity is then to demonstrate its anthropological relevance.
The full text of the speech by Freign Minister Frattini is published in Bulletin N.20.
“In the war-torn Middle East, to the weak constitution of every man are also added: objective situations of suffering, the threat to fundamental rights, marginalization and suppression of freedom; it is there that Christianity has to reveal its truth, its capability to reawaken the person and to save humanity”, said Don Julián Carrón, president of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation.
The Middle East seems a paradox, concluded Father Pierbattista Pizzaballa, Custodian of the Holy Land: right there where they were born, Christians are few in number. Yet, they are a deeply rooted and very active reality. “You can not say that there is not a Christian witness” - explained the Custodian of the Holy Land - “There are the deeds, the activities of Christians: the Christian Churches are not closed in on themselves, there is a tremendous vitality and the Christian presence - the works, the activities of the Church - through schools, hospitals, universities, reaches more than two and a half percent of the population”.

[00202-02.04] [NNNNN] [Original text: Italian]




In order to provide more accurate information on the work of the Synod, 4 language groups have been organized for the accredited journalists.

The location of the briefings and the name of the Press Attaché for each of the language groups are as follows:

Italian language group
Press attaché: Rev. Mons. Giorgio COSTANTINO
Location: Journalists’ Room, Holy See Press Office

English language groupPress attaché: Mrs Tracey Alicia McCLURE
Location: John Paul II Conference Hall, Holy See Press Office

French language group
Press attaché: Mrs Romilda FERRAUTO
Location: “Blue” Room Ist Floor, Holy See Press Office

Arabic language group
Press attaché: Fr Jean MOUHANNA, O.M.M.
Location: Telecommunications Room, Holy See Press Office

Tomorrow, Friday 22 October 2010 the last final briefing (with the presence of a Synod Father) will be held at approximately 13.30.

The names of the Synod Fathers participating in the briefings are published below.

Friday 22 October 2010
- Archmandrite Robert L. STERN, General Secretary of the "Catholic Near East Welfare Association" (C.N.E.W.A.) (UNITED STATES OF AMERICA)
- H. Exc. Mons. Bashar WARDA, C.SS.R., Archbishop of Arbil of the Chaldeans, Relator of the Working Group Arabicus A (IRAQ)
- H. Exc. Mons. Jean Benjamin SLEIMAN, O.C.D., Archbishop of Babylon of the Latins, Relator of the Working Group Gallicus C (IRAQ)
- H. Exc. Mons. Béchara RAÏ, O.M.M., Bishop of Jbeil of the Maronites (LEBANON), Member of the Commission for the Message

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