The Holy See Search



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


06 - 12.10.2010





At 9:00 today Tuesday 12 October 2010, in the presence of the Holy Father, with the Hour of Terce, the Third General Congregation began, to vote on the Commission for the Message and to continue the interventions by the Synodal Fathers in the Hall on the Synodal theme 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).

The Acting President Delegate H.B. Ignace Youssef III YOUNAN, Patriarch of Antioch of Syrians (Lebanon).

At this General Congregation,which ended at 12.30 am.with the prayer Angelus Domini, 165 Fathers were present.


After the interval, the first ballots for the election of the Commission for the Messagewere cast, presided by pontifical nomination by H. Exc. Mons. Cyrille Salim BUSTROS, S.M.S.P., Archbishop of Newton of the Greek-Melkites (UNITED STATES OF AMERICA)and Vice President H. Exc. Mons. William Hanna SHOMALI, Titular Bishop of Lydda, Auxiliary Bishop of Jerusalem of the Latins (JERUSALEM). The voting took place electronically.

The Message to the People of God

At synodal assemblies, it has been the practice to publish a Message (Nuntius) addressed to the People of God, particularly to those persons directly associated with the synod's topic.
Pastoral in nature, the Nuntius' purpose is to encourage the People of God to respond faithfully to their proper vocation, and to praise them for the efforts already being made.
At the end of the first week a first draft of the Nuntius is presented to the Assembly for general discussion.After noting the observations of the Assembly, the Commission prepares the definitive text which is later submitted to the Assembly for its approval.
The definitive text of the Nuntius is published at the end of the synod's work.
The two drafts are to be prepared in the Arab, English, French and Italian.

Composition of the Commission for the Preparation of the Message

This Commission is comprised of 12 members of which 8 are elected by the assembly (1 from each Church represented in the Council of Patriarchs of the Middle East and 1 from the Union of Superiors General) and 4 appointed by the Holy Father, including the President and Vice-President.
In appointing members of the Commission–composed entirely of synod fathers–consideration is to be given to the following: variety of Churches (different nations and languages);Church and cultural sensitivities; special competency required; creative ability and writing skills; capacity to work in a group.

The role of the President of the Commission is: to convoke, when necessary, and preside over the meetings of the Commission; to present in plenary session an initial draft of the Message for discussion by the synod fathers; to establish sub-commissions or work groups for re-formulating the first draft of the Message; to provide a text in the various working languages of the Special Assembly for the Middle East, both for the initial draft and the final version; to present the definitive text of the Message to the assembly for voting. This can be done directly by the President of the Commission, the Vice-President or another member of the Commission designated by the President; to present the Message during a Press Conference.

Voting in Electronic Form

Voting for the Commission for Commission for the Message took place electronically.

To vote electronically, the Synodal Fathers use a device, which is also used for attendance purposes. This device can manage two types of voting: simple vote and multiple vote.
Simple vote. When voting on a single motion where a consensus is required, one uses “PLACET”, “NON PLACET”, “ABSTINEO” or “PLACET IUXTA MODUM”. Once the choice is made, it is confirmed by pushing the green button “CONFIRMO”.
Multiple vote. When a vote requires a preference between various motions, one uses the numerical buttons, pushing the number corresponding to one’s choice and confirming with the green button “CONFIRMO”. In case of an error in buttons, “No Valido” will appear on the display.
In case of an error or one wishes to change the choice, push the red button “DELEO” then push the correct button for the correct choice and confirm with the green button “CONFIRMO”. This can be repeated until the President decides that the available time has ended.


The following Fathers intervened.

- H. Em. Card. Angelo SODANO, Dean of the College of Cardinals (VATICAN CITY)
- H. Em. Card. Zenon GROCHOLEWSKI, Prefect of the Congregation for Catholic Education (VATICAN CITY)
- H. Exc. Mons. 'Ad ABIKARAM, Bishop of Saint Maron of Sydney of the Maronites (AUSTRALIA)
- Rev. F. David NEUHAUS, S.I., Vicar of the Patriarch of Jerusalem of the Latins for the pastoral care of the Hebrew-speaking Catholics (JERUSALEM)
- H. Exc. Mons. Louis SAKO, Archbishop of Kerkuk of the Chaldeans, Patriarchal Administrator of Sulaimaniya of the Chaldeans (IRAQ)
- H. Exc. Mons. Shlemon WARDUNI, Titular Bishop of Anbar of the Chaldeans, Curia Bishop of Babylon of the Chaldeans (IRAQ)
- H. Exc. Mons. Antonios Aziz MINA, Bishop of Guizeh of the Copts (ARAB REPUBLIC OF EGYPT)
- H. Exc. Mons. Maroun Elias LAHHAM, Bishop of Tunis (TUNIS)
- H. Exc. Mons. Samir NASSAR, Archbishop of Damascus of the Maronites (SYRIA)
- H. Exc. Mons. Youssef BÉCHARA, Archbishop of Antelias of the Maronites (LEBANON)
- Rev. Mons. Raphaël François MINASSIAN, Patriarchal Exarch of the Armenian Patriarchate of Cilicia (JERUSALEM)
- H. Exc. Mons. Salim SAYEGH, Titular Bishop of Aquae in Proconsulari, Auxiliary Bishop of Jerusalem of the Latins, Patriarcal Vicar of Jerusalem of the Latins for Jordan (JERUSALEM)
- H. Exc. Mons. Georges BACOUNI, Archbishop of Tyr of the Greek-Melkites (LEBANON)
- Rev. F. Mauro JÖHRI, O.F.M. Cap., General Minister of the Franciscan Order of Friars Minor Capuchin (ITALY)
- H. Exc. Mons. Jean Benjamin SLEIMAN, O.C.D., Archbishop of Babylon of the Latins (IRAQ)
- H. Exc. Mons. Vincent LANDEL, S.C.I. di Béth., Archbishop of Rabat (MOROCCO)
- H. Exc. Mons. Giorgio BERTIN, O.F.M., Bishop of Djibouti (DJIBOUTI)
- 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. Vartan Waldir BOGHOSSIAN, S.D.B., Bishop of San Gregorio de Narek en Buenos Aires of the Armenians, Apostolic Exarch for the faithful of the Armenian Rite living in Latin America and Mexico (LATIN AMERICA AND MEXICO)
- H. Exc. Mons. Paul Youssef MATAR, Archbishop of Beirut of the Maronites (LEBANON)
- H. Em. Card. Stanisław RYŁKO, President of the Pontifical Council for the Laity (VATICAN CITY)
- Rev. F. Ab. Semaan ABOU ABDOU, O.M.M., Superior General of the Mariamite Maronite Order (UNION OF THE SUPERIOR GENERAL)

The summaries of the interventions are published below:

- H. Em. Card. Angelo SODANO, Dean of the College of Cardinals (VATICAN CITY)

A first requirement
Turning our gaze now to the actual Assembly, I would like to say immediately that I fully agree with what is written in our "Instrumentum laboris" and therefore that ecclesial communion is the first requirement that Christians must listen to in the current complex reality of the Middle East. This unity is then also the first evidence that Pastors and faithful may give to the society in which they live, whether one is in Cyprus, or in Kuwait, in Turkey or in Egypt, in a society where the Christian presence is a minority as in various countries on the Arab Peninsula or where it is very important like in Lebanon.
The hardships of today may indeed may become a stimulus to greater cohesion between the various Christian communities, also overcoming the denominationalism which is narrow-minded and limited. Christians, indeed, are, above all, members of the same Mystic Body of Christ. Before the differences of language, of nationality, of membership of various other denominations, there is, in fact, membership in the one Church of Christ, and therefore there is the duty of close cooperation and a charitable and fraternal style of living.
Even before the spread of Christianity in the Middle East, the anonymous author of the letter to Diognetus described the identity of Christians as "indistinguishable from other men either by nationality, language or customs .... or speak a strange dialect ...yet there is something extraordinary about their lives" (Letter to Diognetus, n. 5).
I remember that the late Pope John Paul II was very insistent on the subject of Christian unity and of solid openness to others during the Synod for Lebanon, in 1995. He then devoted in this respect some important pieces of the post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation of 1997, reminding us that all the different Christian communities form one and the same Catholic Church united around the Successor of Peter and devoted to the service of humanity (post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation "Une espérance nouvelle" n. 8).
Ecclesial unity
Sometimes the discussions in our communities are also born from differing pastoral attitudes, between one who prefers to give priority to the custody of the legacy of the past and the other that calls more for renewal. However we know, in the end, we must always be cognizant of the criterion given to us, the criterion of the "new things as well as old." (Mt 13,52), and thus the new and old to be extracted from the treasury of the Church.
This was also referred to recently by our beloved Holy Father Benedict XVI, speaking to a group of newly appointed bishops, telling them: "The concept of "guarding" does not only mean preserving what has been established although this element must never be lacking but includes, in its essence, also the dynamic aspect, in other words a perpetual and practical aspiration to perfection, in full harmony and continuous adaptation to the new needs that have arisen from the development and progress of that living organism which is the community". (L'Osservatore Romano, 13-14 September 2010).
Of course, the unity between Pastors and faithful in the Middle East also involves a close unity with the Church of Rome, where Providence guided the Apostle Peter to make his See. In this respect who does not recall what the great Bishop of Antioch, St. Ignatius, wrote to the Church of Rome?
This is an affective union which must then lead to effective union with the Holy See, through the numerous channels that exist today. In this regard I would also like to mention the opportunity for a closer union with the existing Papal Representatives in the countries of the Middle East. Eight were worthily posted by the Pope to Jerusalem and to Beirut, to Damascus and to Ankara, to Baghdad and to Tehran, to Cairo and to Safat in Kuwait with the plan to work together with local Pastors in this difficult hour of their mission.
Our hope
In conclusion, we must all work together to prepare for a new dawn for the Middle East, using the talents that God has given us. Of course, it is urgent to facilitate the resolution of the tragic Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Yes, it is urgent to take action to end the aggressive elements within Islam. Of course we must always demand respect for the religious freedom for all believers. It is a difficult mission that you, venerable Pastors of the Church in the Middle East, have to carry out in such a dramatic moment in history. But know that you are not alone in your daily concern to prepare a better future for their community.
It is true, that sometimes in the face of the tests of today, it could come naturally to someone to repeat with the Psalmist: "Exsurge, Domine! Salvos nos fac, Domine!" (Ps 3,8). "Arise, Yahweh, rescue me, my God!".
But faith tells us immediately that the Lord is already very vigilant next to us and that there is always the promise that Christ made one day to the Apostles: "I am with you always; yes, to the end of time" (Mt 28,20). Dear Brothers, let this certainty sustain us in the difficult times in which we live!

[00023-02.05] [IN001] [Original text: Italian]

- H. Em. Card. Zenon GROCHOLEWSKI, Prefect of the Congregation for Catholic Education (VATICAN CITY)

The Church in the Middle East has a long educational tradition. Today thousands of Catholic scholastic institutions exist, with about 600,000 students. They are generally highly esteemed and offer a scholastic education without distinguishing or discriminating and grant access especially to the poorest. Moreover, there are four Catholic universities in the region which have campuses abroad, eight institutes of higher ecclesial studies and at least ten seminaries for different rites. In Middle Eastern countries, there are various opportunities for Catholic educational institutions to carry out their activities and mission. Thus, their presence in some areas is more concentrated while it is less in others.
Referring to Number 3 of the Instrumentum laboris, which outlines in a general way the specific objective of this Assembly, so that Catholic educational institutions might carry weight in the fulfillment of nearly all of the premises present in the various points of the Document, that is:
–providing to Christians the reason for their presence in the Middle East and their mission in each country; forming authentic witnesses to the faith at all levels and individuals qualified to communicate the faith;
–reviving ecclesial communion and cooperation between the very diverse components of the Middle East’s ecclesial reality; in ecumenical commitment and interreligious dialogue; in cooperation with Jews and Muslims in religious, social, and cultural fields for the common good;
–reinforcing the required Christian commitment in public life; in civil and political activity; through the means of communication; contributing to appropriately facing the challenges of peace as well as those born of the ambiguity of modernity; creating a more just, fair and human society; contributing to the whole development of the countries of the Middle East at all levels and in the enrichment of Christian values.
So that Christians may be duly respected and carry out their charitable mission, even the educational one, the qualified promotion of concepts of “Positive laity”, dignity of the human person, their rights, true religious freedom, and respect for the freedom of others is necessary. Catholic educational institutions can and must contribute to this promotion as well.
Regarding the rest, I think it is difficult to find among the premises highlighted in the Instrumentum laboris any one for which educational institutions do not have importance. Clearly each of these institutions must contribute within their own field of activity and according to their concrete possibilities.
I would like to highlight four items:
1) Our institutions are open to all and respectful of those who do not share the Christian faith, so that nobody feels like a guest or a foreigner. This does not mean, however, silencing the Christian values on which the Catholic educational system is founded nor the weakening of its own specific identity and Christian mission.
2) In order to be promoters of peace, respect for human rights, progress, civil and political linecommitment, and moreover to be committed to ecumenism, interreligious dialogue, etc., institutes of higher learning must have contact and dialogue with other institutions of the same type which exist within the territory.3) The genuine promotion of priestly vocations and the sound philosophical-theological, spiritual and cultural preparation for future priests, appropriate to the specific needs of the place, remains fundamental. Indeed, the strengthening and development of the Church in the Middle East depends in large part upon their quality and efforts.
4) It is of extreme importance that the Bishops/Eparchs consistently accompany Catholic educational institutions with their presence, encouragement, assistance, and constructive counsel.

[00029-02.06] [IN008] [Original text: Italian]

- H. Exc. Mons. 'Ad ABIKARAM, Bishop of Saint Maron of Sydney of the Maronites (AUSTRALIA)

How could Eastern Christians of the Expansion help Christians of the Middle East?
We believe that confirming Eastern Christians of the Expansion in their Eastern identity and heritage would generate a dynamic drawing them to their roots, bursting in them the spirituality and faith of their forefathers so that they become an essential source of “spiritual support and solidarity” to their fellow Christians in their homeland.
My pastoral experience embodied this vision. In light of these principles, we have created different activities and committees in all our parishes. Some are to reach out to Maronites of Australia and create communication between them and Lebanon; others are to educate them and invigorate Maroniteness so as to impel them to support financially those of the Middle East; tlineothers are to instigate relations with Australian Catholic and Orthodox bishops as well as Muslims for future actions.
Christians of the world, at all levels, should be involved according to a strategic plan, in providing any help to the Churches of the East.
We in the Expansion are required to educate, confirm and sensitize our people to their Eastern identity in faith and heritage. This will urge them to support their fellow Christians in the East and will unify them in one Church, in Her roots and Her expansion ... the Church of New Horizons for New Times.

[00031-02.02] [IN009] [Original text: English]

- Rev. F. David NEUHAUS, S.I., Vicar of the Patriarch of Jerusalem of the Latins for the pastoral care of the Hebrew-speaking Catholics (JERUSALEM)

Hebrew is also a language of the Catholic Church in the Middle East. Hundreds of Israeli Catholics conduct all aspects of their life in Hebrew, inculturating their faith within a society that is defined by the Jewish tradition.
However, today, in addition there are thousands of children, Catholic by faith, of the families of foreign workers, refugees and also Arabs, who go to Hebrew language schools, and need catechism in Hebrew, a great challenge for the Hebrew-speaking vicariate today. Finally, the Hebrew-speaking Catholic vicariate seeks ways to serve as a bridge between the Church, predominantly Arabic-speaking, and Jewish-Israeli society to promote both a teaching of respect for the people of the first covenant and a sensibility to the cry for justice and peace for Israelis and Palestinians. Together, Arabic-speaking and Hebrew- speaking Catholics must give witness and work in communion for the Church in the land of her birth.

[00032-02.02] [IN010] [Original text: English]

- H. Exc. Mons. Louis SAKO, Archbishop of Kerkuk of the Chaldeans, Patriarchal Administrator of Sulaimaniya of the Chaldeans (IRAQ)

Liturgical reformation based upon sacred scripture, but also the patristics and pastoral demands of today. Otherwise our faithful will go looking for other churches as has already happened in some cases. The development of leaders must be a priority. At times, churches are in need of staff, and it is the duty of the universal church to assist in the preparation of a clergy which is up to the tasks of its mission.
The relationship between the different churches in every country in the Middle East and the relationship with the Holy See as well. How to live, at the same time, in communion in the particularity? We will remain divided if we continue to look at the past and we do not seek to find, rather, that which today might unite us. The Eastern Churches make up part of the universal church and any study undertaken by the universal Church must also take into consideration the situations of the particular churches. At times we are disappointed.
A serious commitment to dialogue with Muslims. Without dialogue with them there will be no peace nor stability. Together we can do away with wars and all forms of violence. We must join our voices in denouncing together this great business of the arms trade. A genuine threat of war in our region, where Pope John Paul II’s words were tragically fulfilled: “War is an adventure with no return”. Without dialogue and a true and concrete commitment there will not be peace.
The fatal exodus afflicting our churches cannot be avoided, emigration is the biggest challenge which threatens our presence. The data is worrying. The Eastern Churches, and even the universal Church, must take on their responsibilities and with the international community and local authorities find common choices which respect the dignity of the human person. Choices which are based on equality and full citizenship, with efforts towards partnership and protection. The strength of a state must be based upon its credibility in the application of its laws at the service of its citizens, without discrimination between the majority and the minority. We want to live in peace and freedom instead of merely surviving.

[00033-02.03] [IN011] [Original text: Italian]

- H. Exc. Mons. Shlemon WARDUNI, Titular Bishop of Anbar of the Chaldeans, Curia Bishop of Babylon of the Chaldeans (IRAQ)

We thank His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI who invited us to this meeting and who is working with us and accompanying us to achieve positive and constructive results.
It is a blessed, courageous and necessary step that we took together to study our difficult problems which concern us all, and we cannot avoid them, although it came too late and we should have undertaken this a long time ago, because its importance and the serious issues that we are discussing, related to our existence or non-existence, construction or destruction, perseverance or failure, commitment or indifference, to walk forwards or backwards, and this happens when we look to the past, the present and the future.
We have to create a strong foundation and repair the destroyed and weak foundations if we want to bear witness to Jesus Christ and to live His heavenly commitments which He gave to us as life, to revitalize our behavior and fulfill the communion between us.
Nobody must weaken this communion: neither denominational or egotistical benefits must be allowed to weaken our communion, rather, we have to live fully it or our divergences will destroy us; we have to call upon and live the mutual love which will lead us to the unity from which we will have strength.
What should we do then?
1 - Love is above everything: to found a Middle Eastern committee from all churches related to the Patriarchs’ Council which should be responsible for the dialogue between the Catholic Churches, for their real rapprochement and to destroy barriers and to build close relations and encourage reciprocity in the services and to study the weak points of the sister Churches.
2- That they become one heart: to found a committee responsible for ecumenism and relations with the sister Orthodox Churches and with the Protestant communities, and to found a committee of dialogue between religions in the Middle East, which will organize constructive meetings among the three big religions as well as with other religions. To establish a strong committee to defend the oppressed and those without rights, and to stand courageously and daringly against the fanatical and partisan political groups.
3 - To emphasize the witness of faith in life, and to encourage our faithful to work in the political field because they are indigenous citizens who have their rights and duties and they have to take responsibility to guide the issues of the state according to the principles of human rights. To sensitize people to defend freedom especially religious freedom, and the freedom of conscience and freedom of expression, and here we mention specially the issue of minors that can create problems in Christian families as there is no freedom in respect to this.
4 - We must seek peace and stability in our countries and shout in one voice: no to war, yes to peace; no to the destructive weapons, yes to disarmament; no to terrorism, yes to universal brotherhood; no to divisions and strife and fanaticism, yes to unity, to tolerance and dialogue. And we must focus strongly on the fact that the Christians of the Middle East are true citizens and they have according to the international statutes two privileges: the first the right to citizenship and the second is the right to maintain their presence and not be excluded from the building of the Middle Eastern countries.
5 - To be attentive to the laity and to give them their real role in the Church and to form a committee for families and youth.
All this we place under the protection of our Mother Mary, the Mother of the East, who accompanied the first Church, and She who accompanied the first Church will accompany us today.

[00034-02.04] [IN012] [Original text: Arabic]

- H. Exc. Mons. Antonios Aziz MINA, Bishop of Guizeh of the Copts (ARAB REPUBLIC OF EGYPT)

Episcopal elections
This intervention of mine is not aimed at asking for a change in the current norms, but rather that of finding a way that might simplify the procedures in making nominations, maintaining the current norms and safeguarding at the same time Eastern tradition.
I suggest two alternatives, in order of preference:
- To consider the Roman Pontiff potentially present in all the meetings of the Synod, and implicitly assenting at every election that has taken place. Thus the Patriarch will have to ask the Holy Father to give his blessing at the end of the election but still before the publication of the nomination.
- The Patriarch should communicate the election result directly to the Holy Father in a special audience or by means of the Pontifical Representative, asking for his assent.The jurisdiction of the patriarch over the faithful of the same rite outside of the patriarchal territories:
The principle of territoriality has been staunchly maintained by all the ecumenical councils.
On the other hand, the last 60/70 years have marked human history at a frenetic rate.
Mass immigration of entire families from one side of the world to another has led to many Eastern people leaving their territory to establish their home elsewhere. The extreme example of this is when the faithful belonging to a Church “sui iuris” are more numerous outside of the territory than within it.
It is not entirely logical that some faithful who belong to a Church “sui iuris” have no relationship with the Church they belong to other than liturgically.
My request is that the Patriarch be granted personal jurisdiction over the faithful of his Church wherever they might be.
Bishoprics for the Eastern faithful deprived of a hierarch:
This pre-Council juridical structure, that arose for the pastoral care of the Eastern faithful living outside their territories of origin, appears to be entirely outdated, in fact I would even go so far as to say it is contrary to the dispositions of present law.
I propose instead to look again at the juridical position of the existing bishoprics for the Eastern faithful deprived of a hierarch, with a view to their abolition.
The mission of married priests outside the patriarchal territories
Since the 1930s there has been a ban on the ordination of and the practice of the ministry by married priests outside the territories of the Patriarchy and the “Historically Eastern regions”.
I think, in line with whatever the Holy Father decides, that the time has come to take this step in favor of the pastoral care of the Eastern faithful throughout the Diaspora.

[00035-02.02] [INO13] [Original text: Italian]

- H. Exc. Mons. Maroun Elias LAHHAM, Bishop of Tunis (TUNIS)

To talk about Middle East/Maghreb relations does not mean to speak about Eastern;/Western relations. The Maghreb countries are also a part of the Arab world and the Muslim countries. One should know that there are more Muslims in Northern Africa than in the Middle East. It is true to say that the Middle East has the grace of having some Christian Arab minorities, while Christianity that existed in the first centuries has completely disappeared in the Maghreb region. Today, there are authentic local Churches implanted in the respective countries, but with foreign believers.
My intervention begins with these two points.
- The nations in the Maghreb are part of the Arabic Muslim world. There are a few peculiarities in one country or another. Life in Rabat, in Algiers, in Tunis or in Tripoli is the same as life in Amman, in Damascus, in Baghdad or in Cairo. This can be applied above all to relationships with Islam and in the fact of living the Christian faith in a very different context. The Churches in the Maghreb region have every reason to place themselves in relationship to their sister Churches of the Middle East in this domain, and to bring their specificity as dialogue of life and thought with Islam, a dialogue that lived from the point of view of foreigners and not as fellow citizens.
- The Maghreb Churches are Churches where the faithful are foreigners. In each Church in the Maghreb there are no less than 60 different nationalities. They are Europeans (businessmen, diplomats, residents, retirees, Christian women in mixed marriages...), Africans (students, employees of the African Bank for Development, military personnel, families, immigrants...), some Christian Arabs of the Middle East (Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Palestine, Jordan) and a handful of locals baptized in the Catholic Church (in Tunisia and in Algeria).
The collaboration required here is an exchange of priests, of religious persons, of consecrated lay persons or of volunteers to work in the parishes and in the different institutes of the Church in Northern Africa. Up until now, it was Europe that provided this. Today, this is no longer feasible, given the decrease in the priestly and religious vocations. Not having any local Christian families or residents for generations, our Churches have two directions in which to turn to for help: Africa and the Middle East.
It is true that the life of a priest in the Middle East does not resemble the life of a priest in the Maghreb context (I can say this from my own experience, being myself, as well as my brother from Algiers, Middle Easterners), however, with the grace of God and a serious effort in adaptation, it is possible and even enriching. For the religious, integration is easier, because they have the support of the community.
“Ask and you shall receive” said the Lord. We have asked, we wait to receive.

[00036-02.03] [IN014] [Original text: French]

- H. Exc. Mons. Samir NASSAR, Archbishop of Damascus of the Maronites (SYRIA)

The Churches of the East have coexisted with Islam for fourteen centuries despite difficulties and challenges, with ups and downs, often bound up with political problems and the Eastern-Western conflict especially since the Crusades (11th - 13th century).
Along this long common road let us try to see the glass as half-full:
A reciprocal enrichment is developed each day:
The Muslims’ devotion to prayer, to youth, to charity
To pilgrimage, urging Christian neighbors to practice more.
The nearness of Christians to the Gospel leads Muslims to reflect upon a critical reading of the Koran, for example.
Of course, dogmatic dialogue is not there, but daily dialogue guarantees a coexistence which has lasted for fourteen centuries.
There are initiatives that can be undertaken in a non-religious system, such as is the case with the Syrians. We were able to do things together with the Muslims during the Year of St Paul in 2008-2009, by means of art, theater, culture, and sport.
Concerts of mixed religious chants.
Exhibitions/displays of paintings and icons.
Athletics tournaments and marathons.
Conferences, interviews, photo stories.
Support of first-century archeological sites
Films and pieces interpreted by both Christian and Muslim actors. One in which the person who played St Paul was a Muslim.

[00037-02.02] [IN015] [Original text: French]

- H. Exc. Mons. Youssef BÉCHARA, Archbishop of Antelias of the Maronites (LEBANON)

My intervention refers to no.25 and 39 of the Instrumentum Laboris where the issue is positive laicism. Further on in no. 109, it has been stated that there is no laicism in the Muslim countries.
Given that the overwhelming majority of Middle Eastern Countries are Muslim and therefore refuse laicism, it would be preferable, for our Synod, to use instead the term of citizenship or civic State. This is a term that is more acceptable and includes the same realities. Moreover it was used by religious dignitaries and Moslem writers in Lebanon and other countries.
Also, the Eastern Catholic Patriarchs, in their pastoral letters, notably those that deal with relations between Christians and Muslims, use the term citizenship widely (no. 32).

But for the reality of citizenship to be admitted, generalized and integrated on the level of constitutions and above all mentalities, a dual task is required:
- at the popular societal level, the means of social communication can be of great assistance. Because , this means anchoring the notions of what citizenship entails, above all the equality of all and the acceptance of religious and cultural diversity.
- at the educational level, in schools and universities, citizenship can be nourished throughout the years of training. A work of purification is indispensable at the level of programs to eliminate discriminations.

This dual task is indispensable if we want to go beyond the level of the elites for whom citizenship, dialogue and even freedom are allowed, in order to be able to reach the masses which can be manipulated and turned towards any sort of extremism.

[00038-02.07] [IN016] [Original text: French]

- Rev. Mons. Raphaël François MINASSIAN, Patriarchal Exarch of the Armenian Patriarchate of Cilicia (JERUSALEM)

Communion is not a friendly social relationship, but it is rather the dedication of oneself for the good of one’s brother. This is the teaching of Jesus.
The local Church of the Holy Land in Jerusalem is aware of the acute problems of a socio-political nature faced by Christians in the Middle East, and has faith in the imperative importance of the media that can play a positive role in proposing solutions.
The technique of the mass media consists of the use of sound, image and text as means of communication that leads us to a “communicative” solution that is based on the unity of the Catholic Churches in the East. An ideal unity for a Christian testimony that facilitates communion and collaboration without damaging the identities of the various Christian Catholic Churches and without eroding their traditional culture.
The Catholic Church in the Middle East has remained faithful to the apostolic tradition that consisted of preaching, visiting and writing. Collaboration in the field of the mass media is still weak among the Catholics of the Middle East because of the differences between cultures and ecclesiastical traditions.
Recently the use of the mass media and means of social communication has become more frequent but at the level and on the initiative of single individuals. These means, despite the rapid progress in the world of the media, are still at a primitive level as a result of a lack of economic resources and therefore of professionalism.
The mass media can play an important role and be one of the most suitable means for creating a real communion between the various Catholic Churches, starting from an effective collaboration between them in such a way that the mass media might truly become a place of witness to Jesus and Christian values.

[00041-02.02] [IO018] [Original text: Italian]

- H. Exc. Mons. Salim SAYEGH, Titular Bishop of Aquae in Proconsulari, Auxiliary Bishop of Jerusalem of the Latins, Patriarcal Vicar of Jerusalem of the Latins for Jordan (JERUSALEM)

Among the problems facing the Church in the Middle East, we have to mention that of the sects, which causes great doctrinal confusion. Our era is full of their theological fancies/nonsense. In Jordan, by way of an example, there are about fifty sects, five of which have more active pastors than all the Catholic and Orthodox churches put together. What can be done to safeguard the treasury of the faith and to limit their growing influence?
Visit families. Priests and pastors of souls are pleaded with, insistently, to visit families and to assume their responsibility in explaining, defending, disseminating, living and helping to live the Catholic faith.
Demonstrate serious concern for the Christian formation of adults. Many of our practicing faithful are only vaguely moralized and sacramentalized. They are not evangelized. They provide a resource for sects.
Sensitize Catholic schools to their Catholic mission. Often, those in charge of the schools do not give the same importance to catechetical instruction as they do to other material. Only rarely do they prepare catechists. Too often they choose them without any discernment, to simply fill the gaps.
Have the courage to revise catechism texts so that they might clearly express the faith and doctrine of the Catholic church, testifying to and shedding light on Sacred Scripture, Apostolic tradition, and the ecclesial Magisterium.
In conclusion: beyond ritual differences and political quarrels, protect the treasury of the faith, such is the fundamental mission of the pastors of the Catholic church.

[00039-02.02] [IN017] [Original text: French]

- H. Exc. Mons. Georges BACOUNI, Archbishop of Tyr of the Greek-Melkites (LEBANON)

It is true that parents are the first catechists of the faithful, with the help of schools and parishes. But in the wake of Vatican II a new catechism initiative sprung from the New Ecclesial Movements with the blessing and encouragement of Popes Paul VI, John Paul II, and Benedict XVI. It is important for the Eastern Church today to learn from their success and benefit from their initiative.
Most of these ecclesial movements follow a certain approach to catechism, and I am going to refer to one of them - The Sword of the Spirit communities within the Renewal in the Holy Spirit movement- to explain their pedagogy. It is modeled on the Lord's own catechetic pedagogy with the disciples on the Emmaus road as we read in the 24th chapter of the gospel of Luke. It is not solely aimed at education of the mind but rather at bringing the faithful to a personal relationship with Jesus, a discovery of their call and mission, and to a deeper communion with the Church. It is a pedagogy aimed at those Christians who -like the Emmaus disciples- were brought up in the Christian faith but lost hope and "their eyes were kept from recognizing" the Lord (Luke 24: 16). Since many of these Christians will not come to church, members of the movement go and walk with them on the road as the Lord did (v. 15), listen to them (v.17), re-evangelize them (vv. 25-27), and bring them to communion with the Lord (v. 30) and to a desire for community (v. 29). Then once their eyes are opened (v. 31) they decide to stay -or return- to their country and church (v. 33) to become the new missionaries (v. 35). But in order for this conversion to last, they are invited to a life of community (vv. 33, 36-43) where they receive further teaching and fellowship (vv. 44-47), to become witnesses and even martyrs (v. 48), by the power of the Holy Spirit (v. 49) and through a life of worship and prayer (vv. 52,53).
What we can attest and see among these new movements is not only a new vitality for prayer and evangelism, but, more importantly, an ability to inspire a lot of men and women, young and old, to stay in their countries as missionaries, and to serve their local churches with zeal and obedience. It is therefore crucial -even vital- for Bishops and clergy to realize that these new ecclesial movements are working in the church and for the church, and that their contribution is not a threat but a rich addition to church efforts to catechize the faithful and to preserve a Christian presence in the Middle East. Therefore, Bishops in particular need to encourage and promote such initiatives and, as needed, provide these new ecclesial movements with the theological and spiritual help that they lack.
The Emmaus disciples returned with hope, a hope on which the Church was founded. May we too all return home to our local situations filled with hope in this season where the Holy Spirit is at work in a new way to renew the Church -as was described by our dear Pope Benedict in his essay on the Locus of Ecclesial Movements in the church more than 12 years ago- and in his prophetic call to this special synod. Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever!

[00042-02.02] [IN020] [Original text: English]

- Rev. F. Mauro JÖHRI, O.F.M. Cap., General Minister of the Franciscan Order of Friars Minor Capuchin (ITALY)

In my intervention I recalled the characteristics of the presence of the Capuchins in the Middle East down through the centuries within the wider Franciscan tradition. I paid particular attention to the situation in Turkey. I remembered the cultural commitment and pastoral dedication of the Capuchin bishop Mons. Luigi Padovese, Apostolic Vicar to Anatolia, who was brutally murdered last 3 June, and I recalled the grave difficulties Christians are subject to in that land.
Among the commitments of the Capuchins, apart from the pastoral care of Christians spread throughout an enormous territory, works of charity and evangelical witness, I recalled his commitment to promoting the symposia of Tarsus on Saint Paul and of Ephesus on Saint John, in collaboration with the Antonianum Spiritual Institute with the aim of promoting interest in the sites of the origins of Christianity, rediscovering their cultural importance, and not just for Christians. I also recalled his commitment to the promotion of meeting and dialogue with Muslims through the organization of symposia on inter-religious dialogue. To sum up, the commitment of the Capuchins, along with that of the other ecclesial realities, becomes concrete in wanting to be witnesses in the ecclesial communion of Christ as the hope of peace for everyone.
Finally I recalled, quoting the words of our murdered brother, that it is always possible to live this apostolic responsibility, even where, because of difficulties and discrimination, the only possible commitment “is that of being a presence. A witness. With a greatly reduced pastoral activity [...] the mission is presence”; this is then the only way to render justice to the witness of the martyrs who shed their blood in these lands for the Gospel of Christ.

[00043-02.02] [IN021] [Original text: Italian]

- H. Exc. Mons. Jean Benjamin SLEIMAN, O.C.D., Archbishop of Babylon of the Latins (IRAQ)

My intervention relates to no. 55 of the .I.L which says: In inter-ecclesial relations among Catholics, this communion is manifested in each country by the various assemblies of patriarchs and bishops so that Christian witness might be more sincere, credible and fruitful. To foster a unity in diversity, a rigid or exaggerated confessionalism must give way to encouraging communities to cooperate among themselves, coordinate pastoral activities and manifest spiritual
emulation and not rivalry. In this regard, some responses suggest periodically calling (perhaps every five years) an assembly of the entire episcopate of the Middle East.” The Communion is referred to about thirty times in the Instrumentum. That is the heart of our ecclesial identity, the dynamics of unity and of the multiplicity of our churches. From it depends our present and our future, our testimony and our engagement, our efforts to stem an emigration which weakens us and exorcize the disenchantment which erodes us.
But communion is especially contradicted by confessionalism. Rites are transformed into confessions. It is also essential that our churches sui juris rediscover the roots of this phenomenon which are buried in primitive Arab-Islamic structures. They are invited to disengage from this historical heritage to " find the model of the community of Jerusalem".

[00044-02.04] [IN022] [Original text: French]

- H. Exc. Mons. Vincent LANDEL, S.C.I. di Béth., Archbishop of Rabat (MOROCCO)

To begin from the experience of Morocco (25,000 Catholics of 90 nationalities in a population of 33 million Moslems); the Christians are all from abroad, and cannot become citizen of the country, even if there is " freedom of religion". That involves those who take part in the cultural, social and economic life of the country, but they absolutely cannot get involved in the workings of national or international political decisions.
Our responsibility as a Church is to help these foreigners in transit, to understand that they are in the front line of the dialogue of life with the Muslims. In the companies where they work , in universities or schools, they are the link to this Muslim society.
- they are witnesses of a Love which exceeds them;
- they are witnesses of this God who carries "a loving sight" on men, no matter what their culture or their religion is.
Their witness of life is fundamental for the life of the Church. A Muslim friend told me one day “your presence, however small, is very important so that we can understand that there are different ways towards God.”

Our responsibility as a Church is to help these Christians to accept, along with their Muslim friends, going back into a path of acceptance of the difference of the other, of meeting, in a spirit of total freedom, going back to a humble attitude of trust towards the other. That is not always easy to accept in a world of efficiency, but it is this attitude that allow us to continue to live in these countries in peace and serenity, even if there are tensions sometimes. And the Christians notice with joy, that in contact with Islam their Christian faith is purified and deepened.
Our responsibility as a Church is to help these passing Christians to better understand that they can live their Christian faith with joy and passion, in a totally Muslim society.
This will help them to return to their countries with another view of the Muslims they will meet, and to destroy some "a priori " ideas that threaten to corrupt the world.
Our responsibility as a Church is to help Christians understand that they are “signs”; and as reminded by Pope John Paul II during an ad limina visit “we do not ask a sign to be numerous, but they are asked to signify something”.
Our church is a “sign” in virtue of the communion we try to live, despite the differences in our cultures and nationalities. Despite the very small number of Christians who are from the Middle East, our “sign” would be even stronger if we had one or two Arab priests in our presbyterium. Such a presence, far from any proselytism, would be a great richness for the Church.

[00045-02.06] [INO23] [Original text: French]

- H. Exc. Mons. Giorgio BERTIN, O.F.M., Bishop of Djibouti (DJIBOUTI)

The “goods to share” I wish to refer to in order to reinforce our witness of the Gospel and announce it to the Muslims are ‘priests”. There could be emergency situation as in the Church that I represent, where there are no “real” priests or all of a sudden there are not enough of them. Why then, at the level of the Middle East or of the whole Church, not “share” the priests we have? This could be a development and an adaptation to modern scenarios of the “Fidei donum” and could also provide a “shot in the arm” both to the Churches of the Middle East and the other Churches to live and develop their missionary dimension.
I therefore propose the creation of a “bank of available priests”; that is to say, that from all the Churches and religious congregations a number of priests should make themselves available for a set time: 3 months, 6 months, 9 months. They could offer their services, taking it is a sort of sabbatical or as a sacrifice made with generosity in favor of a Church or a group of Catholics who request the presence of priests to keep them in their faith and bear witness to it with humility and courage. This would be a concrete way of living the “communion” between our Churches. We could even call this “bank of priests” “priests without frontiers” because they are ready to be sent and welcomed in a very short period of time. For this reason perhaps a coordination office should be set up.

[00046-02.02] [INO24] [Original text: Italian]

- Archmandrite Robert L. STERN, General Secretary of the "Catholic Near East Welfare Association" (C.N.E.W.A.) (UNITED STATES OF AMERICA)

“Church” has many meanings. The Church's mystery can be described using “models”, none of which is adequate to describe it. We use “models”, whether conscious of it or not. The early church saw unity in terms of “pax et communio”. The church is held together by the Holy Spirit and personal bonds among its members, nurtured by communication. This model is echoed in the internet. The church as a “communio” is a personal communication network in the Spirit. Models affect decisions: The limitation of the jurisdiction of Eastern heads of churches “outside” their homelands presumes a geographic model; if a personal network, this is not appropriate. In the model of network, many churches in the same territory is normal, and rivalries and attempts to proselytize or dominate are inappropriate. Canon law favors a geographic notion of church; although people live·“in” a parish, in urban settings they choose their own. Emigration is similar: from the geographic view, we see traditional Christian populations diminish, but in the personal perspective we celebrate Christians wherever they choose to be. “Communio” grows with increasing and deeper personal communication, as do interreligious relations.

[00047-02.02] [IN025] [Original text: English]

- H. Exc. Mons. Vartan Waldir BOGHOSSIAN, S.D.B., Bishop of San Gregorio de Narek en Buenos Aires of the Armenians, Apostolic Exarch for the faithful of the Armenian Rite living in Latin America and Mexico (LATIN AMERICA AND MEXICO)

The great movement of humanity with its numerous causes has shifted large numbers of the faithful outside the patriarchal territory. The numerous communities of the Diaspora are not always accompanied from a pastoral point of view. Still today this concern “ad gentes” is necessary: there are Churches who find today that the majority of their faithful are part of the Diaspora. There is no shortage of difficulties in making this attention concrete: the difficulties stem, especially in the past, from the difficulty on the part of the Latin Church (“sui iuris”) of accepting in its territory the full jurisdiction of an Eastern Ordinary.
I refer to the concept of territory, established as a limit for the activities of the Eastern Catholic Churches that is present in all the Canonical Codes of the Eastern Churches.
It is difficult to understand why the activities of the Patriarchs, the Bishops and the Synods of the Eastern Churches should be limited to their territory. Of the 23 Churches that today in their own right make up the Catholic Church, only one, the Latin Church, is not subject to this limitation. The 22 Eastern Churches struggle to maintain their identity and growth, especially in the West, even if Vatican Council II expresses the wish that the Eastern Churches should “flourish and fulfil with new apostolic strength the task entrusted to them”. The Canonical Code of the Eastern Churches affirms that the Patriarchs are fathers and leaders of their Churches (Can 55). This paternity and jurisdiction must not be limited to a territory. Limiting it to its faithful is perfectly logical, but not limiting them to a territory, especially if there are no longer members of the Church in that territory!
From an ecumenical point of view as well, full jurisdiction over its own faithful in all the continents would be, for the separated Brothers, a concrete anticipation of a state of full communion.
Finally, the Patriarchs of the Eastern Catholic Churches, because of their identity as Fathers and Leaders of “sui iuris” Churches that go to make up the Catholicism of the Catholic Church, should be ipso facto members of the college that elects the Pontiff without the need for the Latin title of cardinal. For the same reason, they should also take precedence over them.

[00048-02.02] [INO26] [Original text: Italian]

- H. Exc. Mons. Paul Youssef MATAR, Archbishop of Beirut of the Maronites (LEBANON)

In reference, in the Instrumentum laboris, to the challenges that face Eastern Christians and their relationships with Muslims, and to open up the present situation to future perspectives, four responsibilities should be underlined, which must all concur to succeed in this historical task, for the Middle East and for the World.
The responsibility of the Eastern Christians themselves: Children of this land since time began, these Christians must feel that they are not forging a destiny just for themselves, rather a common destiny with their partners. Their insertion in the Arabic world, recommended by Pope John Paul II in his Apostolic Exhortation for Lebanon, should not make them lose their rights or their liberties, but confirm them in common with the rights and liberties of their fellow citizens.
The responsibility of Muslims in the region: These majority partners must give the proper place to their fellow Christian citizens. This would not only be a presence in society, but in the elaboration of a project of this society as well as its governing. Thus, the Christians who have contributed to the development of the Arabic culture and societies in the past will also contribute in the future, and will live together in participation, equality and full liberty with their partners.ine The responsibility of the Western powers: These have committed injustices and historical errors in the encounter with the Middle East. They too should make amends by taking these injustices away, injustices that whole peoples suffer, especially the Palestinian people. The Christians of this region who were unjustly identified with them would benefit from these reparations thanks to their cohesion with their brothers, without shackles.
The responsibility of Western and World Christians: showing solidarity with their brothers and sisters of the Middle East, the Western and World Christians should know their Middle Eastern brothers and sisters better, show more solidarity to their causes. They should also exercise pressure on public opinion at home as well as on their governments to re-establish justice in their relationships with the Middle East and Islam, and help liberate the world of fundamentalism and lead them to moderation.

[00049-02.03] [INO27] [Original text: French]

- H. Em. Card. Stanisław RYŁKO, President of the Pontifical Council for the Laity (VATICAN CITY)

The greatest challenge facing the Church today is the formation of a laity that is mature in faith, and aware of their vocation and mission in the Church and the world. It is essential to form strong and convinced Christian identities, to reawaken the daring of a visible and incisive presence of the lay faithful in public life, a presence that operates according to the principles of the Church’s social doctrine.
In the field of forming the laity a vast space for action opens up for the dioceses and parishes, but also for Catholic schools and universities that are called on to look for educational means and methods that are increasingly responsive to the real needs of the faithful, following the teachings of the Christifideles laici, the Magna Carta of the Catholic laity. In a world marked by spreading secularism, faith can no longer be taken for granted, not even among the baptized. It is necessary therefore to get back to basics, that is, to urgently promote concrete itineraries of a real, true post-baptismal Christian initiation, considering that - as the Pope writes - “Being Christian is not the result of an ethical choice or a lofty idea, but the encounter with an event, a Person, which gives life a new horizon and a decisive direction” (Deus caritas est no. 1).
In our time, one of the great signs of hope for the Church is the “new era of group endeavors of the lay faithful” (Christifideles laici no. 29) that, after Vatican Council II sees the birth of so many ecclesial movements and new communities. A true gift of the Holy Spirit! These new charisms give origin to pedagogic itineraries of extraordinary efficacy for the human and Christian formation of the young and adults, and unleash in them an astonishing missionary urge of which the Church today has particular need. These new communities, obviously, are not an alternative to the parish, but are rather a precious and necessary support in its mission. In a spirit of ecclesial communion they help and stimulate the Christian communities to move from a logic of simple conservation to a missionary logic. Pope Benedict XVI, continuing the work of the servant of God, John Paul II, never tires of asking for ever-greater openness of the Pastors to these new ecclesial realities. In 2006, the Pope, addressing Bishops on an ad limina visit, affirmed: “I therefore ask you to approach movements very lovingly. Here and there, they must be corrected or integrated into the overall context of the parish or Diocese. Yet, we must respect the specific character of their charism and rejoice in the birth of communitarian forms of faith in which the Word of God becomes life” (Osservatore Romano, 19 November 2006).
It is therefore truly to be desired that the Churches of the Middle East should open up with growing faith to these new group endeavors. We must not be afraid of that novelty of method and style of announcement that they bring: it is a healthy “provocation” that helps overcome the pastoral routine that is always waiting in ambush to compromise our mission (cf Instrumentum laboris no. 61). The future of the Church in this region of the world really depends on our ability to listen in a docile manner to what the Spirit says to the Church today, through these new group endeavors as well.

[00050-02.02] [INO28] [Original text: Italian]

- Rev. F. Ab. Semaan ABOU ABDOU, O.M.M., Superior General of the Mariamite Maronite Order (UNION OF THE SUPERIOR GENERAL)

The reasons for emigration are political and ecumenical to which have also to be added security and stability issues. And that will influence the social aspect. Everything depends on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in the Holy Land, the social situation in Iraq and the political instability in Lebanon. Often the main victims of all these are the Christians.
The most important thing is to work to establish peace and democracy and focus on citizenship with all its obligations and all its guaranteed rights.
To keep Christians in their homelands is the task of ecclesial factors and politicians in the Arabic world. What unites us, Christians and Muslims, is the following:
1 - the family: bearer and defender of values and because it is the first cell of society and the Church. The future depends on it and therefore we have to work to activate its role and to protect life in it.
2 - The character of the Virgin Mary is mentioned in the Bible and in the Koran. God chose her above all the women in the world. She is the woman of reconciliation and unity. She is the Queen of Peace. And in Lebanon they started to celebrate a common feast for all Lebanese people on the 25th of March which is the feast of the Annunciation.
3 - The human, national and religious values are the basis for dialogue and recognition of others.
4 - Educational effort has to be made in the schools and universities to educate the generations of the future in democracy, non-violence, and the establishment of the culture of peace.
Finally, we need in this Synod to offer the call of heroes, of holiness and the saints, and to offer for our societies a Christian witness that is joyful and attractive.

[00051-02.03] [IN029] [Original text: Arabic]




The second Press Conference on the Synod works (with simultaneous translations in Italian, English, French, and Arabic) will be held in the John Paul II Hall of the Holy See Press Office on Monday 18 October 2010 (following the Relatio post disceptationem) at about 12:45 pm. Speakers:

- H. Em. Card. Leonardo SANDRI, Prefect of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches (VATICAN CITY), Delegate President
- H. B. Ignace Youssif III YOUNAN, Patriarch of Antioch of the Syrians (LEBANON), Delegate President
- H. Em. Card. John Patrick FOLEY, Grand Master of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem (VATICAN CITY), President of the Commission for Information
- Rev. F. Federico LOMBARDI, S.I., Director of the Holy See Press Office (VATICAN CITY), Ex-officio Secretary of the Commission for Information

The third Press Conference on the Synod works (with simultaneous translations in Italian, English, French, and Arabic) will be held in the John Paul II Hall of the Holy See Press office on Saturday 23 October 2010 (following the Nuntius and the l’Elenchus finalis propositionum) at about 12:45 pm. Speakers:

- H. B. Antonios NAGUIB, Patriarch of Alexandria of the Copts (ARAB REPUBLIC OF EGYPT), Relator General
- H. Exc. Mons. Joseph SOUEIF, Archbishop of Cyprus of the Maronites (CYPRUS), Special Secretary
- H. Exc. Mons. Cyrille Salim BUSTROS, S.M.S.P., Archbishop of Newton of the Greek-Melkites (UNITED STATES OF AMERICA), President of the Commission for the Message
- Rev. F. Federico LOMBARDI, S.I., Director of the Holy See Press Office (VATICAN CITY), Ex-Officio Secretary of the Commission for Information

For the access permit, audio-visual operators (cameramen and technicians) and photoreporters are requested to apply to the Pontifical Council for Social Communications.

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