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


14 - 15.10.2010




The Holy Father Benedict XVI received in Audience:
- during the interval of the First General Congregation of Monday, 11 October 2010, the Cardinals and Patriarchs of the Middle East: H. B. Card. Nasrallah Pierre SFEIR, Patriarch of Antioch of the Maronites, Bishop of Joubbé, Sarba and Jounieh of the Maronites (LEBANON); H. B. Card. Ignace Moussa I DAOUD, Patriarch Emeritus of Antioch of the Syrians, Prefect Emeritus of the Congregation for Oriental Churches (SYRIA); H. B. Card. Emmanuel III DELLY, Patriarch of Babylon of the Chaldeans (IRAQ); H. B. Ignace Youssif III YOUNAN, Patriarch of Antioch of the Syrians (LEBANON); H. B. Gregorios III LAHAM, B.S., Patriarch of Antioch of the Greek-Melkites, Archbishop of Damascus of the Greek-Melkites (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); H. B. Michel SABBAH, Patriarch Emeritus of Jerusalem of the Latins (JERUSALEM).
- during the interval of the Third General Congregation of Tuesday, 12 October 2010, the Members of the Working Groups Anglicus A and B, Arabicus A and B.
- at the conclusion of the Fifth General Congregation of Wednesday, 13 October 2010, Rabbi David ROSEN, Advisor to the Chief Rabbinate of Israel, Director of the "Department for Interreligious Affairs of the American Jewish Committee and Heilbrunn Institute for International Interreligious Understanding" (ISRAEL).
- at the conclusion of the Seventh General Congregation of Thursday, 14 October 2010, Mr Muhammad AL-SAMMAK, Politician councilor of the Mufti of the Republic (LEBANON); Ayatollah Seyed Mostafa MOHAGHEGH AHMADABADI, Professor at the Faculty of Law at "Shahid Beheshti" University, Member of the Iranian Academy of Sciences (IRAN).
- during the interval of the Eighth General Congregation of Friday, 14 October 2010, the Fraternal Delegates and the Members of the Working Groups Gallicus A, B, C, D.

[00182-02.06] [NNNNN] [Original text: Italian]



Today, Friday, 15 October 2010, at 4:30 p.m., with the prayer of Adsumus, the Ninth General Congregation began, with the continuation of the interventions by the Synod Fathers in the Hall on the theme of the Synod 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 was H. Em. Card. Leonardo SANDRI, Prefect of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches (VATICAN CITY).

Following the interventions on the theme of the Synod, there was a period for free discussion by the Synod Fathers, in the presence of the Holy Father.

At this General Congregation,which ended at 7.00.p.m. with the prayer Angelus Domini, 160 Fathers were present.


The Following Synod Fathers intervened:

- H. Em. Card. William Joseph LEVADA, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (VATICAN CITY)
- H. Exc. Mons. Krikor-Okosdinos COUSSA, Bishop of Alexandria of the Armenians (ARAB REPUBLIC OF EGYPT)
- H. Exc. Mons. Yasser AYYASH, Archbishop of Petra and Philadelphia in Arabia of the Greek-Melkites (JORDAN)
- H. Exc. Mons. Mansour HOBEIKA, Bishop of Zahlé of the Maronites (LEBANON)
- Chrbp. Yusuf SAǦ, Patriarchal Exarch of Antioch of the Syrians (TURKEY)
- H. Exc. Mons. Angelo AMATO, S.D.B., Titular Archbishop of Sila, Prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints (VATICAN CITY)
- Rev. Mons. Mikaël MOURADIAN, Patriarchal Vicar for the Patriarchal Clergy Institute of Bzommar (LEBANON)
- H. Exc. Mons. Joseph SOUEIF, Archbishop of Cyprus of the Maronites (CYPRUS)
- H. Exc. Mons. Cyril VASIL', S.I., Titular Archbishop of Ptolemais in Libya, Secretary of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches (VATICAN CITY)
- H. Exc. Mons. Joseph ABSI, S.M.S.P., Titular Archbishop of Tarsus of the Greek-Melkites, Auxiliary Bishop and Protosyncellus of Damascus of the Greek-Melkites (SYRIA)
- H. Exc. Mons. Georges BAKAR, Titular Archbishop of Pelusium of the Greek-Melkites, Auxiliary Bishop and Protosyncellus of Antioch of the Greek-Melkites for Egypt and Sudan (ARAB REPUBLIC OF EGYPT)
- H. Exc. Mons. Simon ATALLAH, O.A.M., Bishop of Baalbek - Deir El-Ahmar of the Maronites (LEBANON)
- H. Exc. Mons. Jacques ISHAQ, Titular Archbishop of Nisibi of the Chaldeans, Curia Bishop of Babylon of the Chaldeans (IRAQ)
- H. Exc. Mons. Jean-Clément JEANBART, Archbishop of Alep of the Greek-Melkites (SYRIA)
- H. Exc. Mons. Michel ABRASS, B.A., Titular Archbishop of Myra of the Greek-Melkites, Bishop of the Patriarchal Curia of Antioch of the Greek-Melkites (SYRIA)
- 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. Emmanuel DABBAGHIAN, Archbishop of Babylon of the Armenians (IRAQ)
- H. Exc. Mons. Athanase Matti Shaba MATOKA, Archbishop of Babylon of the Syrians (IRAQ)
- H. Exc. Mons. Denys Antoine CHAHDA, Archbishop of Alep of the Syrians (SYRIA)

The summaries of the interventions are published below:

- H. Em. Card. William Joseph LEVADA, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (VATICAN CITY)

My intervention will focus on the notion of the living Tradition of the Church as taught in the Constitution on Divine Revelation Dei Verbum of the Second Vatican Council, and on the understanding of the role of the Pope in the Apostolic Tradition, with reference to no. 78 of the Instrumentum laboris.
In Dei Verbum n. 8, the Council taught that “the Tradition that comes from the Apostles makes progress in the Church with the help of the Holy Spirit. There is a growth of insight into the realities and words that are passed on.” As Blessed John Henry Newman, beatified in England last month, reminds us, this living Tradition knows a true development of doctrine in order to respond to new questions raised throughout the two millennia of the Church's history as the Communion of the Lord's disciples. Cardinal Newman, through his study of the Fathers of the Patristic age and of the first Ecumenical Councils, found precisely the living Tradition that led him to embrace the fullness of faith in the Catholic Church.
Examples of this development have not been absent from our discussions at this Synod: Think of the Declaration Nostra Aetate, which provides a new basis for today's relations with Jews and Muslims. Think too about the Synod discussion's references to religious liberty and freedom of conscience, which take their queue from the Council' s Declaration Dignitatis humanae. Pope Benedict XVI has made his own contribution to this ongoing development with his many interventions on behalf of the necessary interaction of faith and reason in political and public discourse, arguing with conviction that the secular or “lay” modern state needs the important voice of religion to ensure its ethical compass. In his insightful application of the teachings of Vatican II, he has insisted on the need for continuity with the Tradition as the condition of a true and faithful understanding of the Council's teaching, and hence of the development of doctrine.
These observations can be helpful when we consider the Church's teaching about the Roman Pontiff, the Bishop of Rome. This doctrine too has undergone a unique trajectory of development since Jesus proclaimed “You are Peter, and on this rock I will build my Church” (Mt 16:18). Several Synod Fathers have made reference to the citation from the 1995 Encyclical Letter Ut unum sint, about which the lnstrumentum laboris says, “Pope John Paul II voiced the responsibility of seeking to 'find a way of exercising the primacy which, while in no way renouncing what is essential to its mission' and keeping in mind the dual Latin and Eastern canonical tradition, would nonetheless be 'open to a new situation'.” (n. 78)
Subsequently the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith sponsored a theological symposium to consider in greater detail those aspects of the papacy that are essential to the faith of the Church. In addition to publishing the acts of this symposium, the Congregation also issued its 1998 document on the question, called The Primacy of Peter in the Mystery of the Church.
More recently our Congregation has been considering a convocation of the Doctrinal Commissions of the Synods and Episcopal Conferences of the Eastern and Oriental Churches sui iuris to discuss doctrinal issues of mutual concern. In this context I would envision a useful study and exchange of views about how the ministry of the Successor of Peter, with its essential doctrinal characteristics, could be exercised in different ways, according to the diverse needs of times and places. This remains a chapter of ecclesiology to be further explored and completed.
Such theological reflection, however, does not supplant the vital testimony of the Catholics of the Middle East to their Orthodox and Muslim brethren about how Church doctrine develops in the living Apostolic Tradition, guided by Christ's gift of the Holy Spirit to the Church's Magisterium in every age. This Magisterium necessarily includes the role of the Pope as head of the Apostolic College of Bishops, together with Christ's commission to confirm his brethren in the unity of faith (cf. Lk 22:32) so that “all may be one” (Jn 17:21).

[00166-02.03] [IN106] [Original text: English]

- H. Exc. Mons. Krikor-Okosdinos COUSSA, Bishop of Alexandria of the Armenians (ARAB REPUBLIC OF EGYPT)

“It is through him, by faith, that we have been admitted into God's favor in which we are living, and look forward exultantly to God's glory. Not only that; let us exult, too, in our hardships, understanding that hardship develops perseverance, and perseverance develops a tested character, something that gives us hope, and a hope which will not let us down, because the love of God has been poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit which has been given to us” (Rom 5:2/5).
Most Holy Father ,
Beatitudes and Eminences,
Brother priests, monks, sisters and lay persons,
in my intervention I deal with numbers 120-123 that speak about hope.
“Be joyful in hope (your hope), persevere in hardship; keep praying regularly” (cf Rom 12:12).
In the joy of hope, perseverance in hardship and regular prayer, we share the experiences and the reflection on our commitment within our Churches on the patrimonial, cultural, historical, theological, liturgical and spiritual levels in a distinct way, a commitment that derives from our liturgical traditions because we are asked to make of this variety a means to enrich our different societies and to strengthen the unity of the Church of Christ and to witness faith, hope and salvation.
Abraham walked in this region of the world, our father in faith, and with him all his descendants. It is in Abraham that all Christians are called to answer God’s plea and abandon themselves to him to target true life. In this land God achieved the plan of His love, He sent His only Son, Jesus the Nazarene, to save the world and to gather the dispersed.
In Christ all the divine promises were realized, achieving victory over death and confirming hope in us.
Therefore it is from the Orient that the light of the Gospel has risen.
From the Orient the renaissance of evangelization and the mission sprung forth.
This is why this mission showed us how to build our churches and convents, our homes, our schools and our institutions on men and the sun and the wind.
We do not live in isolated caves or tunnels so that all men, whatever their religion or culture, can clearly see what we are doing. Our windows are large and made of transparent glass, “and light shines in darkness” (Jn 1:5).
Our witness and our communion are realized through this task in the land where divine providence wanted us to live and achieve our vocation, our faith and our mission.
This reason is subjected to the strongest and the greatest dangers. She wavers therefore between war and peace and in her also we can look for a new form of international relationships that is more respectful of the rights of man, of peoples and of their freedom.
Cohabitation wins over all disputes for the encounter of each with the other, with the Muslims and with the Jews as well.
Sometimes we feel threatened by fear, by despair and by persecution, and we forget that our Christian presence is linked to the dimension of our faith and its depth. The fundamental challenge for us is to realize ourselves as witnesses of the Redemptoris hominis in our lives, through our words and our actions in front of our non-Christian brothers.
From there we ask ourselves: what meaning does this Orient have if we are absent? My intervention is a message of hope addressed to the Christians so that they may see in the East the source of the hope of Christ who was born, crucified and rose again there.
The weapon of Christianity is not built in factories and does not come out of the earth taking on a form, a shape or any sort of color.
The weapon of Christianity is charity. This consists in raising bridges between man and his fellow man, so that there is neither near nor far. And if man can discover this weapon, he discovers himself and thereby knows his position. And when he knows, he loves, when he loves, he gives, and when he gives, he is reassured, and when he is reassured, he is stabilized, and when he is stabilized, he is exempt of all vice and pestilence.
Our hope is to live in peace. Let us therefore hold out our hands to Muslims and to Jews with a Christian hope and new life. Let us say to the Jews: stop killing the innocents and do not forget what you are told in the Talmud: in each man I see God.
Let us hold our hands out to our Muslim brothers in the hope for a cohabitation that allows the building of one nation, one society held up by charity, fraternity, understanding and dialogue.
The Church announces charity and fights against iniquity and fanaticism. She spreads education and does not work for herself but rather for the glory of God the supreme and confirmed hope.
We expect from this Synod that we manage to achieve the wish which is to continue our work in favor of that longed-for hope despite the trials and tribulations that surround us, so that witness and communion can only mature in the calamities and vicissitudes whose fruit is charity.

[00167-02.01] [IN107] [Original text: Arabic]

- H. Exc. Mons. Yasser AYYASH, Archbishop of Petra and Philadelphia in Arabia of the Greek-Melkites (JORDAN)

First of all we express our most sincere gratitude to His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI, who has brought us together in this special Synod on the Catholic Church in the Middle East: communion and witness. A Synod that looks like a special blessing for the Catholic Church and for Christians in the Middle East. A Synod in which the Fathers of the Church are gathered to study, pray and realize the aspirations of the faithful.
With my intervention I would like to direct your attention to issues relating to the theme of the Catholic Church and to Christians in general in Jordan. In spite of the current situation of the countries in the Middle East, especially in Palestine, Jordan, under the leadership of His Majesty King Abdullah II Bin Al Hussein, they enjoy peace, serenity, stability and moderation.
These realities help us to truly give witness to Christ. In Jordan, we remember the two historic visits of Pope John Paul II and of Pope Benedict XVI, and the warm welcome reserved for them in Jordan and in the Holy Land. We thank Pope Benedict XVI for his love and his special attention to the Church in the Middle East, inviting the faithful to witness even more to their faith in their countries, and persevere in the Holy Land, land of love and peace.
Our Christian witness is expressed through:
1. The schools, the hospitals and the charities which provide their service in love, without any discrimination and on equal terms, to Christians and Muslims, in education, ethics and science.
2. We celebrate our prayers and our rites fully in our churches and parishes without any difficulty. In addition, within the law, we can buy and build churches, schools and other buildings.
3. For more than forty years Christians have celebrated Easter according to the Eastern calendar and Christmas according to the Western calendar, all together, Catholics and non-Catholics.
4. Catechesis is taught in Christian schools and some private schools, but not in official schools although several attempts have been made to that effect. There is more than one scholastic curriculum. Ideally there should be a unified curriculum for the faithful of the Catholic Church and preferably for all Christians.
5. Christians are actively involved in daily life in its diverse areas. Their role is effective, strong and well recognized.
6. Emigration continues to be a serious problem with implications both positive and negative. Emigration is both internal and oriented towards the countries of the diaspora, not to mention the immigrants who arrive in Jordan for work or because of recurring wars. The local Church has conducted humanitarian and pastoral ministry according to its capabilities. The reasons for emigration are varied: political, security, economic, the search for a better future ... However, it is rare to hear the reason cited as “religious persecution”.
7. There is no official Islamic-Christian dialogue at a national level. For this purpose meetings are held regularly between Jordan and the Holy See. We hope that the Council of Churches in the Middle East may overcome the difficult test faced, in the service of Christian unity and witness.
8. There are several cases of apostasy against the Islamic religion. There are many reasons and in no way related to faith. There are few cases of apostasy against the Christian religion.
9. More mutual cooperation, unification of common efforts and genuine charity will give us the courage and strength for our witness to bear fruit, give glory to God and take root in the Christian’s land and in his faith. Thank you.

[00168-02.03] [IN108] [Original text: Arabic]

- H. Exc. Mons. Mansour HOBEIKA, Bishop of Zahlé of the Maronites (LEBANON)

The focus of my intervention is on purely practical questions, in view of practical solutions, as our faithful are hoping for.
Since Christians have been massively emigrating from the Near East, willingly or unwillingly, their problem is not simply the practice of certain rights, but the rejoicing in the right to live in their homeland. The goal of the Synod should be in the first place to help them maintain this right. A plea should be made for them to the great powers, in the name of human rights, and for the countries in which they live, in the name of Islam.
Our young are usually forced to travel abroad to earn a living. The Church in Lebanon, which has already done a lot, must mobilize itself more to alleviate the acuity of this crisis. The solution could be in giving the young plots of land in the form of emphyteutic bail of 99 years. On these lots, the young persons could build their houses, factories, any kind of commercial project.
Lebanon is considered the school of the Middle East, the University of the Middle East and the hospital of the Middle East. It has always been that this private section, held mainly by the Church, is very expensive.
The Church, especially interested in encouraging births could commit with its institutions to lighten teaching fees for the third and fourth child in the same family, by creating an aid fund for this purpose; or also by re-claiming from the State with greater insistence to take from the public budget, fully or just a part of the expenses for private schooling.
On the other hand, as to what concerns the hospitals, we will need to find for families insurance policies that cost less from insurance companies officially recognized by the Church or managed directly by her.
Concerning job opportunities for the young people, a sine qua non condition to keep them in Lebanon, we need to mobilize the Christian Diaspora of Lebanese origin in the entire world and encourage them to invest in Lebanon to create jobs.
Certain bad political choices have caused waves of emigration that could have been avoided. For these errors not to be repeated ever again, the ecclesiastical authorities could play a greater role together to stop such unduly risky positions in being taken.
These measures, as modest as they are, would certainly contribute to reinforcing the Christian presence in Lebanon and elsewhere, to increase the resilience of families in the difficult economic conjunctures and to encourage the young persons to get married and to build families.

[00169-02.02] [IN109] [Original text: French]

- Chrbp. Yusuf SAǦ, Patriarchal Exarch of Antioch of the Syrians (TURKEY)

I am honored, as Vicar General of the confession of the Syrian Catholics in Turkey, to present the reality of the situation of our Church and of the children of our confession, which consists of approximately 1,500 people in the city of Istanbul, including her children from the city of Mardin, formerly a patriarchal see until the end of World War I, and from Diarbakar, and from Edessa and Escandarun and from the mountains of Tur Abdin and from Antioch.
To this number must be added at least 300 people scattered in different regions who came here from Iraq, after the Iran-Iraq war of 1980. Up to now they have arrived and departed for the countries of the diaspora. And since our children are newcomers to the city of Istanbul, in search of wellbeing and security, we managed to have, with the support of the Latin Church, a church and a home in the convent of the Jesuits, after arranging with the Turkish State to have it for a period of 99 years. In this way we can carry out all our religious duties and pastoral care towards our children, through the activities centered on catechesis, the various confraternities and the charitable pastoral commission that takes care of the needy and especially of displaced Iraqis.
In addition, we continue to take care of our churches and take care of their property in Mardin, the former patriarchal see, although with great difficulty because we can use its revenue solely for the purpose of renovation and repair and that does not help, because of the slenderness of this income and that the funds remain trapped in the coffers of the state.
Recently we have recovered the church in the city of Escandarun, and it was inaugurated by our Patriarch after the martyrdom of the city’s Bishop Padovese.
We cooperate for the good of all, in the city of Istanbul with all the Catholic confessions of the Latins, Armenian Catholics, Chaldeans, in accordance with the Catholic Bishops’ Conference in which I serve as President of the Commission of Ecumenical and Interreligious Dialogue. And our relationship with the Patriarchate of Fanar and the confession of the Armenian Orthodox and Syrian Orthodox. This is what led to the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew to bestow on me a Cross of the Good Shepherd as a sign of appreciation and encouragement for our fruitful cooperation.
We ask your prayers for the stability of our mission and for its progress.

[00170-02.03] [IN110] [Original text: Arabic]

- H. Exc. Mons. Angelo AMATO, S.D.B., Titular Archbishop of Sila, Prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints (VATICAN CITY)

Jesus invited one and all of his disciples to holiness of life: “Be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Mt 5:48). The Apostle Paul encouraged Christians to be, in Christ, “be holy and faultless in love” (cf. Eph. 1:4). The Second Ecumenical Vatican Council called the faithful to the universal vocation of holiness: “In the Church, everyone whether belonging to the hierarchy, or being cared for by it, is called to holiness, according to the saying of the Apostle: ‘For this is the will of God, your sanctification’ (l Ts 4:3)” (LG 39). The sanctity of the faithful is a gift of the Holy Spirit, Divine trinitarian love, in the one, holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. From the beginning of Christianity, the saints, confessors and martyrs, have been numerous in the Eastern Church. In the last year, the two most recent beatifications in the Middle East have occurred respectively in Nazareth and in Kfifan in Lebanon. In Nazareth, on 21 November 2009, Sister Marie-Alphonsine Danil Ghattas was beatified, a native of Jerusalem and founder of the entirely Arab Congregation of the Sisters of the Rosary, apostolically active in many places in the Middle East. In Kfifan, north of Beirut, Br. Estefan Nehme was beatified on 27 June, a professed religious of the Lebanese Maronite Order. The faithful who participated at the beatification of Br. Estefan numbered more than 100,000.
Other than witnesses to the faith and of the communion within the Church, the blesseds and the saints have a triple function. First and foremost are the authors of an authentic inculturation of the Gospel: their existence demonstrates that it is possible to be perfect disciples of Christ in their land and in their culture. In the second place, they are witnesses to a victorious interreligious dialogue: in fact their lives are characterized by the heroic exercise of charity, the true universal language of humanity, understood and appreciated by all, even by non-Christians. In the third place, they are credible missionaries of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, in that they live in harmony between word and action.

[00171-02.02] [IN111] [Original text: Italian]

- Rev. Mons. Mikaël MOURADIAN, Patriarchal Vicar for the Patriarchal Clergy Institute of Bzommar (LEBANON)

It is true that the Middle East is the Holy Land and the land of saints, this has been demonstrated by the canonizations and beatifications that have taken place in these last years, Mar Charbel, Naamat Allah al Hardini, Rafka, Abouna Yaacoub, Ignace Maolyan, Al Akh Stephan...but this should not cloud our vision to the truth about the Middle East, a crisis of vocations has also been noted.
The most significant proof of this was a survey taken during a formation session for religious persons, 129 religious men and women participated. They answered the following question: What are the causes for the decrease in religious vocations, what are the short, mid, and long-term consequences, and the possible solutions? Here is a synthesis of their answers:
1. Primary causes: The decline in the birth rate in Christian families. Material and moral problems which families must face. A crisis of values. Difficulty in committing to the long term. The emancipation of women. Crisis of faith. Counter-witness by consecrated persons.
2. Possible solutions: Support the family. Educate them in true values. Consecrated persons witness sincerely to their faithfulness to Christ and to their consecration...Ensure a proper discernment of vocations. See to the proper spiritual guidance in vocations. Obtain appropriate initial and permanent formation.
In analyzing these responses, one can see that these 129 religious men and women, both in the causes for the decline in religious vocations and in the possible solutions, have given priority to the family. Because the family is the core of society. It is in the family that a person receives his first human and religious education. It is also in the believing and practicing family that vocations are born.
“Knowing that marriage and the family constitute one of the most precious of human values, the Church wishes to speak and offer her help to those who are already aware of the value of marriage and the family and seek to live it faithfully, to those who are uncertain and anxious and searching for the truth, and to those who are unjustly impeded from living freely their family lives” (Familiaris Consortio n.1).
Whoever says “pastoral care of vocations” also says “Familial pastoral care”. I find that the Instrumentum Laboris has not given the family the priority it deserves, and this is why I suggest that in the “Nuntio” this be taken into consideration.

[00172-02.03] [IN112] [Original text: French]

- H. Exc. Mons. Joseph SOUEIF, Archbishop of Cyprus of the Maronites (CYPRUS)

The Synod for the Middle East is a space for renewing within the Church the experience of communion and witness “so that the world may believe” (Jn 17:21). Communion in fact is the starting point of the existence of the community of the faithful; it is reinforced and develops in the personal meeting with the Lord Jesus, in his Word and in the Eucharist; from here to the witness of life in collaboration, a strategic choice today. With sincerity, humility, responsibility and love we want to remove the negative elements that obstruct communion; ecumenism will be the most important pastoral methodology; and with the love of Christ we will move to the dialogue of life and respect the theological dialogue that is the work of the Spirit.
We need to believe in the force of the presence in the Middle East: a presence that is qualitative, dynamic, missionary and diaconal, which has always been that and will always remain so in the East and the West. We need to believe that only God is the Lord of history and times: let’s pay attention to his plan.
There are challenges: the political situation, conflicts, the problem of religious freedom and freedom of conscience; the Church is a guarantor of liberty; that is why her presence is an advantage not just for Christians themselves but for everyone, in particular for those who believe in human and spiritual values, and who meet directly or indirectly with the behavior of the Church. Therefore the presence of Christians is really a sign, and it has to be supported at the level of the Universal Church and the international community, to confront with the popular majority, the socio-religious systems that go against the values of freedom, the values of dialogue and of meeting between different cultures. Today we are experiencing a real cultural conflict, a conflict of mentality, a conflict of approach and vision, even within religion itself and where Christianity has a lot to say and do, including offering a certain response; let’s take initiatives together to draw up educational and social plans that help change mentalities, that educate people to accept differences; human rights. The area is expecting a clear contribution from Christians to build the culture of forgiveness and peace. Our absence is a loss for us and for everyone; emigration should become missionary expansion, bringing the spirituality of the East through the liturgy which has powerful overtones in the lives of the faithful; and through different religious and human behavior that make of our families the yeast and salt within the great secularized societies. Immigration of Christians in the area is a prophetic sign of witness whose fruits none of us can be certain of. History teaches us that the first Christian Syriac communities went to India and China for human and social reasons and they brought faith with them. We ask our brothers to reinforce their act of solidarity; and we ask ourselves to make pastoral, spiritual and social projects that demonstrate communion and restore the faith of our people.
The experience of Cyprus, of my diocese, shows that religions can live together despite wounds: we Maronites have been living on the island since 1200 and our history has its saints and martyrs; with our fellow countrymen we are seeking peace in justice and love based on truth and freedom. We want all the churches and mosques to be open to everyone, that they be a space for meeting and forgiveness, a place of purification for memories. We Maronites want to go back to our villages, despite the difficulties. We want to bear witness in this island that is a bridge between East and West to the values of dialogue, cohabitation to build a culture of peace and love.

[00173-02.03] [IN113] [Original text: Italian]

- H. Exc. Mons. Cyril VASIL', S.I., Titular Archbishop of Ptolemais in Libya, Secretary of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches (VATICAN CITY)

In agreement with the Cardinal Prefect of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches His Eminence Leonardo Sandri, I would like to present to this assembly a number of considerations about some aspects of the life of the Churches in the Middle East from that special observatory that is our Congregation. The Holy Father Benedict XVI in his historic visit for the 90th anniversary of the foundation of the Congregation’s seat on 9 June 2007 pointed out some topics that should be focused on because of their importance and urgency: synodality, formation, migrations and ecumenism.
Synodality has to do in a special way with the mechanism of the choice of candidates to the episcopacy. Checks on the suitability of the candidates should be carried out by the bishops and the Synod in a more appropriate manner than sometimes happens at present, in order to facilitate and speed up the process of Pontifical assent.
In the first place we have to constantly evaluate the current state of the formative and academic institutions for the level of cultural and spiritual formation that they offer. The difficulties that students encounter in their higher studies outside of the Eastern context, for example, in Rome, cannot be ignored and there is no point hiding them. We have to ask ourselves if the time has finally come to open a first cycle of Eastern theological studies here in Rome, in an Eastern theological faculty?
The phenomenon of migrations
Our Congregation is working towards the organization of Eastern ecclesiastical districts outside of their traditional territories. As regards the faithful who move from the Middle East, sometimes the “planetary” extension of the Patriarchs’ jurisdiction is claimed - as if this were a right and a universal solution to the problem of the pastoral for migrants. It should be remembered that between the claimed universal right and the detailed, justified request there is a great difference.
Vatican Council II reminds Easterners of that specific mission they have been entrusted with [...]of promoting the unity of all Christians, especially the Eastern ones... with... scrupulous fidelity to the ancient oriental traditions.
So as not to get stuck at the simpler and more visible questions, such as the style of clerical dress, we have to aspire to a greater knowledge and the observing of the more theological and pastoral elements. What is the situation in our Churches in the joint administration of all three of the sacraments of Christian initiation, Eucharistic communion to children, baptism by immersion - to mention just a few of the aspects requested by current canon law and by the abovementioned Instruction of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches for the application of the liturgical prescriptions of the CCEO?

[00174-02.02] [IN114] [Original text: Italian]

- H. Exc. Mons. Joseph ABSI, S.M.S.P., Titular Archbishop of Tarsus of the Greek-Melkites, Auxiliary Bishop and Protosyncellus of Damascus of the Greek-Melkites (SYRIA)

Since the creation of the Episcopal Conferences of the Middle Eastern countries and the creation of the Council of the Catholic Patriarchs of the Middle East, we can see that understanding, mutual aid and cooperation have developed among the Eastern Catholic Churches.
Despite all this, our Churches still need to be more open with each other.
Rivalries between Eastern Catholic Churches or within the same Church are a source of weakening and false witness. Above all we believe in the division between institutions and actions.
To reinforce their communion and their witness, our churches are invited to reflect on the following strategies:
Adoption, at all levels, of an education that could favor openness, solidarity and common action.
Sensitizing East Christian consciences so they be in the same boat and will face the same fate. They have to show an interest in each other. Meeting and mutual understanding are necessary.
Towards this goal it would be positive for all the Episcopal Conferences of the various countries to all meet up from time to time.
To allow and spread bi-ritualism in such a way that there will no longer be any untended parish, no matter what Church the parish belong to.
We have noticed that the writers of the text use, almost always imperative expressions such as: “It is necessary”, “It is essential”, “It is evident”, “It is important”, “It is certain”, “It must be”, “We must”. We would like that, at the end of the Synod, what is necessary, essential, evident, important, certain and obligatory be transformed into action. Let us not leave the Synod without having taken the measures that would allow the achievement of these imperatives. Let us convert the imperatives into clear and well-defined strategies and form commissions to pursue their realization through adequate tactics.

[00175-02.01] [IN 11] [Original text: French]

- H. Exc. Mons. Georges BAKAR, Titular Archbishop of Pelusium of the Greek-Melkites, Auxiliary Bishop and Protosyncellus of Antioch of the Greek-Melkites for Egypt and Sudan (ARAB REPUBLIC OF EGYPT)

Education based on freedom is a primary question to obtain harmonious co-existence in a society made up of a plurality of religions.
This life in common by individuals and communities demands wisdom and perseverance.
This will never be a reality as long as all human beings, in enjoying their own freedom, do not respect others. We must accept the fact that our own freedom and the freedom of others go hand in hand.
The formation of future generations must therefore be centered on the respect of beliefs and the faith of others, without forgetting the respect for the just needs of their conscience. This is essential for dialogue to be constructive and effective. This is when our effort will be a community one, in working together in all that unites us, moral principles as well as human values.
At the level of principles and human values that we have in common, we recall, among others, the importance of being responsible for each other. We would insist on the quality of this individual and community responsibility, aimed at an authentic realization of the greater human family.
Starting there, we admit the need for a new religious and human discourse, as well as a new teaching one in our educational institutions, thereby calling for openness towards others.
All the religions work in view of the realization of man; their goal is to lead him on the right path of virtue and noble ethical principles.
In our Christian life, one recommendation brings order to our relations: the one of mutual love. We have received a new commandment from the Lord: “love one another; you must love one another just as I have loved you” (Jn 13:34).
At home, we work to form the new generations in our Catholic schools, which has reached the significant number of 168 schools, spread throughout Egypt. It must be pointed out that these educational institutions are open to Christians as well as to Muslims. These schools work with the consciousness that Christianity and Islam give an equilibrium to man in his faith and relationship with God, in the measure to which each is open to the other.

[00176-02.02] [IN116] [Original text: French]

- H. Exc. Mons. Simon ATALLAH, O.A.M., Bishop of Baalbek - Deir El-Ahmar of the Maronites (LEBANON)

The question of Christian unity, this testament of our Lord Jesus Christ has evolved greatly throughout the centuries. In fact, Church unity has endured many crises, doctrinal ones, ecclesiological ones, with political interference and human considerations.
The 20th century was, on the other hand and happily so, the century of ecumenism par excellence. In fact, the great pastors of the Churches, Pope John XXIII and the Patriarch Athenagoras met and the obstacles were overcome. The gestures of love, of peace and of fraternity erased all the hatreds of the past centuries. Excommunications on either side were revoked. Vatican II and the Movements, such as the Work of Mary for Christian Unity, also known as Focolari, and others have played an important role in the positive evolution of the movement of unity, wanted by the Lord.
Will the 21st century, solemnly inaugurated by John Paul II, celebrating in the year 2000 the Jubilee of the Redemption of Humankind, continue the joyous ecumenical experiences of the 20th century or will it return into the obscure labyrinths of the 19th century or before that the 11th and 16th centuries?
The prayer for Christian unity should reflect a mentality and a vision. These last two should produce concrete ecumenical actions such as:
1. Going back to the needs of our vocation, which would allow us to free ourselves of all the complexes of feeling like a minority, and, as a result of this, of fear. In fact, because of our vocation, we cannot succumb to the temptation of feeling like a minority. In our Middle Eastern surroundings, we Christians, cannot speak about minority and majority. Christ did not tell we are a minority. He said to us: you are the leaven in the bread. From this perspective, we Christians, with Christ, are a majority.
2. The commitment to give an education of ecumenical culture to all our faithful, especially to our young people, in the parishes, in the novitiates of the institutes of monastic life, in the universities and the centers of Christian formation, etc.
Conclusion: this education in ecumenism throws the door wide open to inter-religious dialogue, to projects which when achieved would build peace between peoples.

[00177-02.01] [IN117] [Original text: French]

- H. Exc. Mons. Jacques ISHAQ, Titular Archbishop of Nisibi of the Chaldeans, Curia Bishop of Babylon of the Chaldeans (IRAQ)

The goal of the cultural institutions and Catholic universities is the formation of witnesses of Jesus Christ, which is carried out admirably in the Middle East by dozens of theological universities, seminaries and institutes of religious sciences for catechesis.
As an example I give you the Faculty of Theology and Philosophy of “Babel College” which is the only university of theology and philosophy affiliated with the Urbanian University in Iraq, which contains the faculty of philosophy and theology and two institutions of religious sciences for preparing catechists.
This university is attended by seminarians of all the Churches in Iraq, that is, the Chaldean Church, the Syriac Catholic and Orthodox churches, the Assyrian Eastern Church, the Armenian Catholic and Orthodox Churches, novices of different religious congregations: Chaldeans, Syriacs, Redemptorists, Dominicans, Carmelites, etc.
The fruits of Babel College for the Churches of Iraq during the years 1991-2010 are the following:
- 391students obtained diplomas in theology and philosophy; among them 126 students obtained baccalaureates in theology from the Urbanian University in Rome.
- 344 students obtained diplomas in religious sciences, who had followed their courses for three years. Thus, Babel college provided 735 workers to work in the Lord’s field in Iraq, some of them even outside of Iraq.

[00184-02.04] [IN118] [Original text: French]

- H. Exc. Mons. Jean-Clément JEANBART, Archbishop of Alep of the Greek-Melkites (SYRIA)

Emigration is a universal phenomenon that finds its reasons for being and its downfalls in each society.
The extraordinary means of communication make it so that men encounter one another more and more in their ideas and allow the flourishing of a culture of freedom of expression, which, in the most closed societies, actually paves a path to develop there a culture of freedom of personal choices and of acceptance of the other in his difference and of pluralism.
Practically, I propose that we act on the following six axes:
1) Spread optimism among our faithful as to their future in their countries. Our countries are not lacking in goods and values.
2) Learn to live as friends with our Muslim brothers and to help them to open themselves to us through a well-articulated and diversified dialogue utilizing all available means.
3) To commit oneself to the public, political, cultural and social life of our countries which is susceptible to helping our faithful strengthen their attachment to their country and to their fellow citizens.
4) Offer to our young people with our speech, the minimum needed to allow them to live comfortably, to throw themselves into life and to take root in their countries for the foundation of a foyer.
5) It is a case of of accepting putting goods which are available to us at their service and we must also unite our efforts with different local communities and struggle to find the funds necessary for this wherever we can find them.
6) It would be very useful to establish a center of study and research for this and to work to deepen our reflection on the question in view of paving the path to follow and to find useful and productive strategies allowing the facing of the scourge of emigration and lessening the consequential evil.

[00181-02.06] [IN119] [Original text: French]

- H. Exc. Mons. Michel ABRASS, B.A., Titular Archbishop of Myra of the Greek-Melkites, Bishop of the Patriarchal Curia of Antioch of the Greek-Melkites (SYRIA)

As regards our problems in Lebanon, they are many as well as complex. Leaving aside political problems, we satisfy ourselves with pointing our finger at three problems, that is to say that of the formation of seminarians, ecclesiastical Tribunals, and positive laity.
Regarding the formation of seminarians, there is first of all the problem of choice; it is useless to go by the back roads, the majority currently choose the ecclesiastical “career” and not the vocation, and this is to attain an eminent place in society or for economic reasons.
The confessional tribunals are of two different natures; some are State Tribunals, while others are an expression of the power of each community which designates its members.
At the time of the application of the theory of the character of the laws, it was the Sunnite tribunals who applied the “Shari’a” of Abou Hanifa, making up the “Corpus Juris” of the Ottoman Empire, to which were added other laws voted by the Parliament or promulgated by “Irada Sannia”, that is by Rescript or Imperial Edict. This first phenomenon was subsequently developed, especially after the “Gülhane Edict” promulgated in 1836. It is of this “Law” that the State Tribunals became the “zealous applicants”.
The problems of choice of “regime” applicable to Lebanon, presents itself with acuity to today’s laity; in fact, many lay persons ask themselves what will become of their life if they declare themselves as Christians, without shading their position with a measure of laity, depending on the degree of emancipation of their non-Christian interlocutor, often of the Muslim religion in the Middle East.
These Christians need a “certain positive laicity”.
Where do they go to find it?
Presently, our “lay flock” denies itself; it is a matter of their giving a legitimacy that the only ones with power to give it are the Ecclesiastics provided that it had been acquired by their statutes.
We think that Christians who so desire should be authorized to adopt lay statute, without betraying the Dogmas or the teachings of the Churches, keeping in mind that one is not in a solely Christian land.

[00183-02.03] [IN120] [Original text: French]

- H. Exc. Mons. Kurt KOCH, Archbishop-Bishop Emeritus of Basel, President of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of Christian Unity (VATICAN CITY)

Communion and witness: appearing in the title for the Synod of Bishops are two key concepts of Christian ecumenism, making reference to two anniversaries celebrated this year.
In Edinburgh, Scotland, which our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, visited in September, the first World Mission Conference took place 100 years ago. Its primary purpose was to become aware of a scandal, to remedy: the inherent scandal in the fact that many Churches and Christian communities competed in their mission, thereby harming the credibility of the announcement of the Gospel of Jesus, especially in the most distant continents. From that moment, ecumenism and mission became twin sisters, called to rely on each other. This pair also correspond to the will of Jesus, who prayed for unity “so that the world may believe it was you who sent me” (Jn 17:21). In Jesus’ eyes, authentic ecumenical unity is not an end in itself , but rather is placed at the service of the credible announcement of the one Gospel of Jesus Christ in today’s world. Our witness must therefore have an ecumenical tone, so that its melody is not discordant but musical. And this tone must be perceptible every day, a renewed growth of which is essential, or rather in the one faith, that operates in love and through love.
Fifty years ago the Secretariat was established, today the Pontifical Council, for the Promotion of Unity of Christians. Still now it has a duty to serve an ecumenical objective of visible unity within the faith, in the sacraments and in the ecclesial ministry. Here the second key concept, comes to the fore, that is communion, rooted in the Trinitarian mystery of God, as John emphasized in his first letter with these significant words: “We are declaring to you what we have seen and heard, so that you too may share our life. Our life is shared with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ” (I Jn 1:3). The decisive point of departure of every communion is the meeting with Jesus Christ as Son of God incarnate. From this meeting springs the communion between human beings, founded on the communion with the Triune God. The ecclesial communion is therefore based on a Trinitarian communion: the Church is an icon of the Trinity.
From what has already been said emerges the link between two realities, between communion and witness: our witness has as its content the mystery of God, that is revealed to us in his Logos just as He is and lives within himself. But this witness may only be credible in today’s world if the life of communion and the passionate pursuit of a broader communion become the same visible icons of the divine mystery or, as Paul says, “letters of recommendation”: “You yourselves are our letter, written in our hearts, that everyone can read and understand” (2 Cor 3:2). Ecumenism may therefore be understood as a process in which ecclesial life grows towards communion: that means that the communion of life of the true Church becomes a concrete witness and radiates in a fuller ecumenical communion.
At this Synod communion and witness also demand an ecumenical declination, which we expect most of all from the Oriental Churches in the Middle East. In fact they are called in a particular way to breathe with two lungs. Hence I wish to conclude with this invitation full of hope: help us all and the universal Church to breathe like this, ecumenically!

[00178-02.03] [IN121] [Original text: Italian]

- H. Exc. Mons. Emmanuel DABBAGHIAN, Archbishop of Babylon of the Armenians (IRAQ)

I ask that you consider all the problems of the Middle East as “signs of the times” wished for and allowed by the Lord. The Lord said: And yet not one [sparrow] falls to the ground without your Father knowing. Why, every hair on your head has been counted. So there is no need to be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.
Saint Paul said that the Good Lord makes all profit return to those who love Him.
Here are some examples of the signs of the times.
1. We have heard about the problems of the Holy Land, emigration, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, injustice, the lack of respect for human rights, etc... But all this was allowed by the Lord for even deeper reasons. Because the Holy Land is a country of pilgrimage, and is where the Lord revealed himself and lived among us (Jn 1:14). The Lord wishes to be visited, loved, consulted... And since the pilgrimage is an answer to the spiritual need of man just as in the Vatican, even if there are no inhabitants, the Vatican is always peopled by pilgrims. Even more so the Holy Land which possesses this unique and divine sanctuary must be filled with pilgrims. Therefore I propose to the Eminent Synodal Fathers to ask all the Bishops of the whole world (Eastern and Western) through the Holy Father, who has the authority and the charism, to take charge (of those he is able to) to organize each of them in an annual pilgrimage, establishing for each bishop a fixed date, so that all the days of the year are occupied, and the Holy Land will be peopled by pilgrims, who, after having being enriched by the Lord’s graces become in turn like the “Samaritan” of the witnesses of Christ. Let us point out again that the influx of pilgrims to the Holy Land would convince the inhabitants who have emigrated to return to their homeland.
2. It remains a sign of the times the emigration of part of our faithful to Europe, to America, to revive their faith.
It remains a sign of the times the emigration of millions of migrants to the Gulf who demand our spiritual help. And to conclude, we should remember that the Risen One said: make disciples of all nations (Sunnites, Shiites and Jews) and fill your church with people.
I thank the Lord because the multitude of Synodal Fathers are of one heart, one soul, and because they are the successors of the Apostles, surely they will change the world, despite the many difficulties. Thank you.

[00179-02.01] [IN122] [Original text: French]

- H. Exc. Mons. Athanase Matti Shaba MATOKA, Archbishop of Babylon of the Syrians (IRAQ)

Iraq, land of Mesopotamia, land of civilizations, where Abraham was born, where Ur, Babel, and Niniveh are, land of holy scripture, land of faith and of martyrs... Since Christianity spread there, realized despite the persecution by the Persians throughout the centuries , the blood of martyrs flowed and the Islamic influence covered it.
Today and since the Revolution of Abd el Karim Kassem, Iraq does not cease living a situation of instability of trials and wars. The last being the American occupation. Christians have always had their part in the sacrifices and tribulations: with the martyrs in the wars and all sorts of different hardships.
Since the year 2003, Christians are the victims of a killing situation, which has provoked a great emigration from Iraq.. Even if there are no definite statistics, however the indicators underline that half the Christians have abandoned Iraq and that without a doubt there are only about 400,000 Christians left of the 800,000 that lived there. The invasion of Iraq by America and its allies brought to Iraq in general, and especially to its Christians, destruction and ruin on all levels. Churches were blown up, bishops and priests and lay persons were massacred, many were the victims of aggression. Doctors and businessmen were kidnapped, others were threatened, storage places and homes were pillaged...
Perhaps the acuity with which Christianity was targeted has been lightened during the last two years, but there still is the fear of the unknown, insecurity and instability, as well as the continuation of emigration, which always makes this question arise: what is the future of Christian existence in this country should this situation continue, more so because the civil authorities are so weak. The tears are continuous between the different religious and political composing elements, as well as external influence by external powers, especially neighboring countries.
Seven years have passed and Christianity is still bleeding. Where is the world conscience? All the world remains a spectator before what is happening in Iraq, especially with regards to Christians.
We want to sound the alarm. We ask the question of the great powers: is it true what is said that there is a plan to empty the Middle East of Christians and that Iraq is one of the victims?
I think this Synod should study this subject with attention and should see what can be decided in writing to reach a solution for the situation existing in the Middle East.

[00187-02.02] [IN123] [Original text: Arabic]

- H. Exc. Mons. Denys Antoine CHAHDA, Archbishop of Alep of the Syrians (SYRIA)

The society in which we live, in this century of complete globalization, is a society for the major part, materialistic, ignoring God and all that which is spiritual, instilling in men that they can find their happiness in money, power and in all sorts of pleasures.
The universal Church in all its components - and thereby the Churches of the Middle East - is touched by this spirit of the world. She has lost some of her power to attract men. This is why, I call the Synod Fathers’ attention to insist before everything on the spirit of renewal of all those baptized:
1. The renewal of our Church and of our Churches in Spirit:
A return of all the baptized to the Lord through a detachment from the spirit of the world and through a zeal in proclaiming the Good News in love and respect of those that do not share our faith. We are all invited without exception to follow the example of John the Baptist: “A voice of one that cries in the desert, ‘Prepare a way for the Lord, make his paths straight’. ” (Mt 3:3). We are invited to be true missionaries that nourish themselves on the Word of God.
2. Unity of all the Churches:Christ asks all the baptized to be united like he and his Father are One. He asks for this unity from his disciples so that they would be a sign that draws men to recognise his Father and to have faith in him. He wanted their unity to be a sign for the nations, and “Signum inter Gentes” a light that attracts the men to His Father and invites them to believe in Him. Because the division in the Church is an infidelity to its founder and a scandal for those who do not believe in Jesus. I think that what separates us from our Orthodox Brothers is the understanding of the Primacy of Peter. It’s up to the theologians to find a new interpretation. Why not reach a unity in faith, but in diversity? The Synod of Jerusalem in 49 could be a key to finding a solution to the division of the Churches. What is important is to listen to the Spirit...
Then, renewed by the spirit, united in faith, the Church will be “significant”, will be a “Signe inter Gentes”, and will attract men to her to become part of the Kingdom of God.

[00188-02.02] [IN124] [Original text: French]


The following Synod Father intervened during the Second General Congregation:

- H. Exc. Mons. Clément-Joseph HANNOUCHE, Bishop of Cairo of the Syrians, Protosyncellus of the Syro-Catholic Church in Sudan (ARAB REPUBLIC OF EGYPT)

The summary of the intervention is published below:

- H. Exc. Mons. Clément-Joseph HANNOUCHE, Bishop of Cairo of the Syrians, Protosyncellus of the Syro-Catholic Church in Sudan (ARAB REPUBLIC OF EGYPT)

The world progresses and develops at great speed thanks to modern scientific technology. This progress has produced the phenomenon of opening that has brought the world towards strong contradictory tensions: progress and underdevelopment, acceptance and rejection. As for the Middle East: it was neither ready nor prepared to deal with this revolution. This has caused many problems in family life, many failures, along with a turning away from the faith; the existence of a conflict in man between faith and the world today.
The Church has discovered that the problem commences with the family where the children are not oriented in a life of prayer, nor in regular participation in church, nor in ecclesial activities. But, on the contrary, families sow in them the desire for a quick profit - and at all costs - the quest for a luxurious life accompanied by the loss of Christian moral values.
For this reason, the Church has gone in search of lost sheep, with patience and perseverance, full of love. Encourage and accept the participation of the lay faithful, because they contribute to the work in the field of the Lord.

[00028-02.03] [IN007] [Original text: Arabic]


The “Messa da Requiem” by Giuseppe Verdi will be performed during the Symphony Concert scheduled in the program for the Special Assembly for the Middle East of the Synod of Bishops. The concert will take place Saturday, 16 October 2010, at 6:00 pm, in the Paul VI Hall in the Vatican, in the presence of the Holy Father Benedict XVI. Conductor Enoch zu Guttenberg will direct the “Chorgemeinschaft Neubeuern” choir and the “Die Klang Vherwaultung” orchestra. Soprano Susanne Bernhard, mezzo-soprano Gerhild Romberger, tenor Reto Rosin and bass Yorck Felix Speer will also sing for the Holy Father .
The sacred musical was composed in 1874 and offered by Verdi to the city of Milan. The Requiem was performed on the occasion of the first anniversary of the death of Alessandro Manzoni, on 22 May 1874, in St Mark’s Church in Milan. Its success was enormous and the composition’s fame went well beyond the country’s borders. In 1875 Verdi made a revision to the “Liber scriptus”, substituting the movement by the chorus with an aria by the mezzo-soprano.

[00180-02.02] [NNNNN] [Original text: Italian]

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