Greek Melkite Catholic Patriarchate of Antioch
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Greek Melkite Catholic Patriarchate of Antioch:
Birth, Evolution, and Current Orientations
by Abdallah Raheb, BAO
translated by Nicholas J. Samra

Webmaster's Note: This is the best, most comprehensive material on the Melkite Greek Catholics of Antioch ever. See also: Melkite Apostolic Succession and Concise History. For the immediate history of Orthodox Church in Antioch before these occurrences, please see Orthodox Antioch.

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It would be very simplistic to approach the question of the existence of the Greek Melkite Catholic Patriarchate of Antioch by beginning with Cyril Tanas, the first juridical Catholic Melkite Patriarch, who was elected and consecrated in 1724. In order to dissipate the confusion on the subject of this patriarchate, which most easterners and westerners want to consider a purely "national” Church, let us begin by its identification.


Without entering into the complex question of the ethnology1 of the Melkites, it is sufficient to state exactly that the name "Melkite” was applied by the Monophysites to all the followers of the Council of Chalcedon (451) from the three Patriarchates of Alexandria, Antioch and Jerusalem 2 without distinction of Greek or Syrian race. 3 Thus we see that it was not only an exclusive designation for the Greek Catholics of the three mentioned patriarchates, but also for all Greek speaking and Arabic speaking faithful of these three patriarchates of the Byzantine rite. 4 Recently valid experts of their history have tried to give an exact name to those who are called Melkite Catholics. In an excellent study, Rev. Peter Rai 5 prefers the name "Orthodox-Catholic” 6 but only in their three patriarchates. However, he discards it for three reasons: "its novelty, its tautology, and the scandal which it could provoke among the people.” Thus, he is content with the name "Melkite” without any addition.

Archimandrite Elias Zoghby 7 also prefers the name "Orthodox-Catholic,” at the same time pointing out the inconsistency of the three reasons put forth by Rev. Peter Rai; on the other hand, he prefers it because of its ecumenical advantages, particularly the psychological. 8 In this article we temporarily prefer the name of Greek-Melkite Catholic which is already consecrated by official usage 9 and which eloquently recalls all the glorious or sorrowful changes of this patriarchate since the Greek speaking Ignatios, until the Arabic speaking Maximos V, since its orthodox fidelity to the Council of Chalcedon until its "catholicization” in modern times. All these reasons manifest the possibility of reconciling the terms which have been considered contradictory: "Greek” and "Catholic,” "Greek” and "Melkite,” "Melkite” and "Catholic.”


It would be a very long and detailed account to linger on the whole period from 1054 until the beginning of the 17 th century, when the attempt of reconciliation had failed. It failed in spite of the good will of Patriarch Peter III of Antioch (1052-1056) who wished to assume the role of arbitrator between Rome and Constantinople; 10 of Patriarch Theodosios IV Villehardouin (1275-1283/1284) 11 who consented to the union proclaimed at the Council of Lyons (1274); 12 of Patriarch Dorotheos I (1434-1451) who seemed to have been receptive to the decisions of Florence; 13 and of the resigned Patriarch, Michael Sabbagh (1577-1580, died 1592), who sent a profession of Catholic faith to Pope Sixtus V and the cardinal of Santa Severina (May 1586). 14 In all of these attempts of the Greek Melkite Patriarchates of Antioch, the principal purpose was the reconciliation with the Church of Rome. But before long we witness the introduction of a "Catholicism” which was very rigid, mainly after the founding of the Roman Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith. 15

In fact, the Latin missionaries sent by this new congregation arrived in the Middle East without special preparation. It was important that the language of the country be spoken in order to totally win over the various separated communities to the union, either by "conversion” of the bishops and patriarchs or by individual conversions. 16

The Capuchins arrived in Aleppo, Syria in 1625 17 and established a monastery there. 18 It was the Greek-Melkite Archdeacon Michael who taught the first Capuchins Arabic and Turkish. 19 Before long, the Capuchins of the British province had residences in Saida (1625), Beirut, Tripoli (1634), Damascus (1637) and Abbay (1645). 20

The Jesuits also arrived in Aleppo in 1625. 21 It was the Greek-Melkite Archbishop Meletios Karmeh who gave lodging to Father Jerome Queyrot in his own archiepiscopal residence where Queyrot opened a school for thirty-four Greek students. 22 Before long the Jesuits had other residences in Damascus, Saida and Tripoli. 23

The Carmelites were not long in establishing a house in Aleppo in 1627. 24 They also founded other houses in the same places as the Capuchins. 25

As all these missionaries "superimposed” themselves in the same cities of Syria in addition to the presence of the Franciscans Minor who had guarded the Holy Places for nearly three centuries, apostolic zeal became so ardent that rivalries and even quarrels were apparent. 26 The Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith had to intervene on several occasions and there was even some thought given to dividing the eastern communities among the different religious orders. 27 In spite of all this, the missionaries were well respected by the Christians and their religious heads, particularly by the Greeks of Aleppo, 28 and those of Saida and Damascus. 29

The result of this unfurling of missionaries in Syria was immediately felt. The Greek Archbishop of Aleppo, Meletios Karmeh, did not only have excellent relations with the Latin missionaries by encouraging them in all the domains of their apostolate even with his own people, but also had relations with Rome for the translation and printing of various liturgical books in Arabic. 30 All that preceded pushed him, when he became patriarch, to the unconditional union with the Roman See and he sent his Protosyncellos Pakhomios who was given the patriarchal seal to subscribe to everything the pope said in addition to the decree of Florence. 31 It is impossible to enumerate here the numerous evidences on behalf of all those who knew this holy pastor of the Greek Church. 32 It is sufficient to cite the evidence of the first Secretary of the Roman Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith, 33 who had an incomparable knowledge of the Christian East with all its very complex problems: 34

"Now once he was Patriarch of Antioch... Euthymios Karmeh took charge of printing the Euchologion and Horologion of the Greeks which he had translated into Arabic and corrected according to ancient manuscripts with great diligence and fatigue for fifteen years. He hoped, that by giving the printed copies to all his churches, he would let his archbishops, bishops, priests and people like the holy union. This negotiated affair is of great importance because this patriarch is the one who can truly be called Patriarch of Antioch because he succeeded those who intervened in the general councils instead of the Maronite, Jacobite and Nestorian patriarchs who were rather more national than general...” 35

A little later this same secretary wrote to exempt the Greeks of Antioch from reprisals launched against the Greeks of Jerusalem and Constantinople 36 by the kings and princes of the west: "The Patriarch of Antioch (Euthymios Karmeh) had sent his acceptance of union to Rome; he always had good dispositions toward the Holy See (Rome) and encouraged our missionaries while he was Archbishop of Aleppo.” 37

The price of the evangelical spirit which animated Karmeh for the good of the Christians in the east 38 was martyrdom; he became a real martyr for the cause of the union of the Patriarchate of Antioch with Rome. 39 However, at Rome a public act of union was requested of Patriarch Karmeh. 40 Karmeh died before receiving his delegated protosyncellos, Pakhomios. 41 But the union, begun by Karmeh, did not die with him, 42 even if he did not have the time to subscribe to that which Rome asked for. 43

The Jesuit Father Amieu says that the successor of Karmeh, Euthymios III of Chios "recognized the pope and gave him obedience; but he was not expedient to declare it, knowing what had happened to his predecessor.” 44 It was this patriarch who brought Fr. Queyrot to Damascus and gave him a room in his patriarchal house in order to allow him to instruct the young Greeks, his own nephew being one of them. 45 After a memorable discussion with the Capuchin Father Michael of Rennes on the role of the pope in the Church, Euthymios III seemed to have affirmed: "I confess the Roman pontiff and I recognize him as head of the Catholic Church and I hold as true all his belief, but I fear the other Greeks...” 46 He even promised to write to the pope as his predecessor Euthymios II Karmeh had done. 47

The Patriarch of Antioch, Macarios III Zaim (1647-1672), who succeeded Euthymios III of Chios, also had very good relations with Rome since he is called cryptocatholic, 48 but he hesitated to declare himself. It is certain that in 1633 this patriarch sent a letter to the Roman Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith in which he affirmed "his irrevocable intention to work for the union of the Eastern Church until the last breath of his life... and to undermine the wall of enmity posed by the enemy of all good (the devil),” 49 entirely professing that it is "Christ who is the head of the holy Church.” 50 The Congregation sent him a chalice 51 and the patriarch thanked them in the letter cited above. The journey of this patriarch to Russia 52 was considered by the missionaries at that time as the voyage of an apostle who "with prudence and catholic zeal goes to confirm the good begun by the Latin missionaries.” 53

Must we mention here the professions of faith which were sent to Rome to gain the support of the Greek philo-missionaries against the competitors of the very see of Antioch? 54 After the death of Macarios III Zaim, the sympathy which the missionaries had the power to produce toward the Church of Rome became important for union. 55 The Greek people and their bishops always gave credence to the missionaries.

The candidates to the see of Antioch had to consider this stated fact because they were helped morally and particularly economically. They took this help to please the Ottomans who were always money-hungry. Money played a great role in obtaining the "firman” of Constantinople which put the candidate in possession of the patriarchate. 56

The well known union of 1724 involved the Bishop of Saida, uncle of the first patriarch who was fully united to Rome. This bishop, Euthymios Saifi (1682-1723), openly declared himself Catholic in December 1683. Through mediation of the Jesuit missionaries who had instructed him in Damascus, and his missionaries of the Holy Savior whom he had instituted near Saida in example of the Jesuits, he involved the Patriarchate of Antioch in the passage which history recorded beginning in 1724. This date marks the election of his nephew, Cyril Tanas, as Patriarch of Antioch. 57

Before discussing the election of Tanas, let us note that nearly all the Greek prelates who had good relations with the missionaries and with Rome, or who had made the profession of faith prescribed by Rome since Euthymios II Karmeh until Athanasios III Dabbas, did not find their ecclesiastical communion with the other Greek patriarchs and even with the Patriarch of Moscow incoherent. 58


From 1701, Euthymios Saifi was administrator of all Greek Catholics dispersed throughout the Patriarchate of Antioch. 59 He solicited from Rome an authorization, according to which he could ordain bishops without being compelled to the law of having three bishops perform the ordination. 60 This preoccupation of Saifi was to assure fully Catholic bishops before his death. 61 He wished to consecrate his nephew as successor to the see of Saida. But no Greek Bishop responded to his desire. 62 He even considered the association of a Maronite bishop for the consecration of fully Catholic Greek bishops but was frightened by Patriarch Athanasios III. 63

The death of Athanasios III (15 August 1724) loosened the premeditated plan. The time seemed favorable in catholicizing part of Damascus "to hastily choose a really Roman candidate.” 64 But it was necessary to find the ordaining bishops! For sure there was the Bishop of Saidnaya, Neophytos Nasri whom Euthymios Saifi had designated in opposition to a really Orthodox candidate. 65 In his diocese he had Salvatorian zealots, especially the active vicar, Gabriel Finan, 66 who, in February 1724 became the ordaining prelate of the monastery founded by Saifi; he was known as Basil of Paneas. 67 Nasri and Finan consecrated a third colleague for the occasion, the Salvatorian missionary, Euthymios Fadl. 68 Thus there were the three required ordaining bishops who consecrated Seraphim Tanas, nephew of Saifi, as Greek Patriarch of Antioch; he took the name of Cyril VI. 69 The "consent” of the sultan had to be assured by the Pasha of Damascus, Othman Taouk, friend of Saifi. 70 But this pasha was soon removed and Cyril VI remained without political support. 71

What was the reaction of the Greek Bishops of Antioch at that time? Not one of these bishops wished to come to consecrate Tanas. However, several had already made a profession of Catholic faith! It seems that these bishops did not agree with the innovative methods of Saifi and his nephew. 72 Moreover, even the Latin missionaries of Aleppo at first recognized the new Patriarch Sylvester of Cyprus who was supported by Constantinople and who was consecrated around the end of September 1724. 73 But as Fr. Nicholas Sayegh later wrote to Patriarch Tanas (4 March 1735): "by the grace of God, we are united to the holy Roman Church and your holiness professes the same union. Now a principle of philosophy asserts that two things united to a third are united to themselves...” 74 Thus the Greeks who declared themselves Catholic continued to recognize Tanas. The bishops who had sent their professions of faith to Rome had been considered allies of Tanas and consequently were persecuted by the partisans of Sylvester. 75 Friction continued. The Catholic nucleus formed in 1697 in the Greek Monastery of Balamand near Tripoli, 76 and which afterwards (1710) was established near Beirut at Choueir, 77 was not in accord with Patriarch Tanas on all the innovations he wished to introduce in the Greek patriarchate. 78 Moreover, Rome feared these innovations and even prohibited them. 79 Cyril VI Tanas wished to unite the Choueirites and the Salvatorians, who were more docile in this sector. 80 But the task was more difficult than could be imagined. In fact, there was a question of two conceptions of union with Rome: on one side, the union implied the complete separation from Orthodox brothers and from all that was Orthodox, even in introducing Latin innovations; on the other side, the union implied above all, fidelity to the Orthodox tradition without undue changes.

"In December 1724, Jeremiah III of Constantinople cast the excommunication against Cyril VI and his three consecrators.” 81 In March 1729 the confirmation of Cyril VI came from Rome after a certain hesitation. 82 The pallium was only granted in March 1744, after the publication of the "Demandatam” constitution. 83 Cyril VI had already fled to Lebanon in January 1725 because of persecutions from his very powerful competitor. 84


The first synod of the Greek-Melkite Catholic Patriarchate took place at the Monastery of Holy Savior in Saida on April 25, 1730, at which Cyril VI had to be "constituted” Patriarch of Antioch. 85 This could not be published until Cyril VI had made a profession of Catholic faith in front of the delegate of the pope (Benedict XIII). He had to swear that he would not modify the Catholic faith in the rites and laudable customs of the Greek Church 86 without having first referred it to the Holy See (of Rome). Cyril VI had to feel very "persecuted by the easterners and despised by the westerners,” according to the sentiments and expressions even of his uncle Saifi. 87 He felt governed by the Latin missionaries about whom he had complained 88 and was seen as patriarch in name only since he was deprived of his patriarchal rights. 89 Beginning in 1729 the Greek-Melkite Catholics were separated "in divinis” from their Greek-Melkite Orthodox brothers, according to the instruction of the Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith. 90 Its enforcement was sanctioned at the Synod of 1751. 91 Cyril VI finally abdicated in July 1759, designating as his successor, his nephew, Athanasios Jaouhar. 92 This designation had again shaken the Greek Melkites who were newly united to Rome; in fact, it brought forth "long years of troubles and divisions (and provoked) numerous interventions from the court of Rome.” 93 The most glaring intervention was the direct nomination at that time of Maximos II Hakim, Archbishop of Aleppo, as Patriarch of Antioch. 94 Before long he died 95 and was succeeded by Theodosios V Dahhan (1761-1788). Under him, Rome entrusted to the Patriarch of Antioch the administration of the Greek Melkites of the other two Melkite Patriarchates. 96

Jaouhar, subdued in 1768, was canonically elected patriarch after the death of Theodosios V Dahhan in 1788. 97 Rome gave its approval. A year later (29 May 1789) the Roman Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith instructed the patriarch and bishops to convoke a synod in which they had to determine the dioceses of the Patriarchate of Antioch, their boundaries, and necessary provisions in order to create new dioceses where the number of Greek Melkite Catholic faithful required it. 98 This took place in October November 1790. 99 This synod set "an important landmark in practical legislation” of the patriarchate, 100 in spite of the opposition of the famous Metropolitan of Aleppo, Germanos Adam, 101 who, in other respects had much merit in the whole Patriarchate of Antioch and even in Italy. 102 Then follow Patriarchs Cyril VII Siaj (1794-1796) 103 and Agapios II Matar (1796-1812). 104

Under the patriarchate of Matar, there was the famous Synod of Qarqafe (1809) 105 in which Germanos Adam played a great role. 106 This synod was condemned by Pope Gregory XVI on June 3, 1835 because of the supposed ideas imported from the west (Gallicanism, Baianism...) 107 Truly the Greek Melkite Catholic Patriarchate was in pursuit of its identity with regard to Rome. Then follow successively on the patriarchal throne Ignatios IV Sarrouf (Feb.-Nov. 1812), Athanasios V Matar (Aug.-Nov. 1813), and Macarios IV Tawil (Dec. 1813 -Dec. 1815), who did not have the time to be confirmed by Rome. 108 Under Ignatios V Qattan (1816-1833), "docile instrument between the hands of the Apostolic Delegate” of Rome, 109 the Greek Melkite Catholics had several martyrs, especially in Aleppo. There were severe persecutions against them on the part of the stronger Greek brothers in the country. 110 During this time the Greek revolution (1821) took place, consequently the authority of the Greek Patriarch of Constantinople diminished, and civil emancipation was accorded to all Catholic subjects of the Ottoman Empire (1829). It was at this time also that the famous Maximos Mazloom released protests because of his remarkable personality 111 and even his departure for Rome, where he was sent and compelled to forced residence until 1831. 112 Although dismissed and suspect of the tendencies of his teacher, Germanos Adam, fate had it that this bishop was elected as Patriarch of Antioch in 1833 under the name of Maximos III. 113 Under this patriarch, rightfully named "untiring fighter,” 114 many reforms were produced in most fields. 115 In the religious field there were very important synods in 1835 and 1849 116 which regulated the problems of titular eparchies and formed new legislation adapted to the political situation of this era. The patriarchal seminary of Ain-Traz again had candidates. 117 Religious instruction of the Greek-Melkite Catholic faithful was more and more intensified even in the other two Greek Melkite Patriarchates of Alexandria and Jerusalem. 118 In the political domain it suffices to mention how Maximos III had the power to triumphally enter Damascus in 1834 after 100 years of persecution of his predecessors, 119 and how he obtained his complete civil independence from the Armenian Catholic "civil-priest patriarch” at Constantinople. 120 He was also responsible for considerable renewal in the patriarchate during this era. 121

Before passing to the successors of Maximos III Mazloom (died in 1855), let us note that Rome attempted to limit his patriarchal powers on several occasions. 122

After the patriarchal apostolic vicar, Theodosios Qayoumgi (named by Rome), came Patriarch Clement Bahouth 123 who governed the Patriarchate of Antioch (18561864). Very rapidly he introduced the Gregorian calendar 124 which produced a real schism in the Greek Melkite Catholic Patriarchate of Antioch until his resignation 125 and the election of the dynamic Patriarch Gregory II Yousof in 1864. 126 Gregory II Yousof was able to reconstitute his patriarchate and develop it following the steps of Maximos III Mazloom. In addition to opening St. Anne Seminary in Jerusalem in 1882 127 and two patriarchal colleges (high schools) in Beirut (1865) and Damascus (1874) without counting all he did for the organization of the eparchies of Paneas (1866) and Tripoli (1897), it is fitting to mention his predominant role in Vatican Council I and also in the patriarchal conferences held at the Vatican (1894). Gregory II Yousof did not hesitate before the general assembly on 19 May 1870:

"I adjure you by God, most venerable fathers, how can we proclaim, publish and practice a constitution established in this manner? How can we defend it before the dissidents and present it to the Catholics? 128 Let them not accuse us of despising holy antiquity and let them not despise us as contradictors of the councils and canons? What will we respond to those who surround the councils which took place in the east with an extreme respect?... How can the Catholics persevere in the faith and how can the separated return when they see in this constitution 129 the destruction of their autonomy and the loss of the dignity and rights for their patriarchal sees...? Unity consists in the fact that bishops are united in faith and love with their patriarch and the patriarchs among themselves and particularly with the Roman patriarch. According to divine right, one of them, the Roman pontiff, is thus the prince of the others; 130 according to canonical right there are five princes of the Church 131 and successors of the apostles. The Eastern Church attributes to the pope the highest and most complete power, but in such a way that the fullness of his power be in harmony with the rights of the patriarchal sees... The definition contained in Canon 3 and Chapter 3 132 entirely destroys the foundations of the Greek Church and drags it to its ruin and to its complete dissolution. After much reflection our conscience refuses to accept this constitution because for eighteen centuries, that is from the origins of Christianity until today, this Church has been organized and ruled according to a law which is proper and conforms to its nature, according to a special discipline, according to usages which ancient customs, going back to the apostles, have introduced...; the base and foundation of this mode of government is its independence, its autonomy, so that if new definitions of this kind and this sort are posed, as much as they renew troubles; they create difficulties, allowing obstacles which harm the salvation of souls….” 133

Gregory II Yousof responded "non placet” at the general congregation on July 13, 1870 and was not present at the solemn session that followed in which the constitution "Pastor Aeternus” was defined. 134 His adhesion to this constitution was sent by letter after an official request of Rome, but he added to it the same caution of the Council of Florence: "salvis omnibus iuribus et privilegiis patriarcharum.” 135 In a great part the Bull of Leo XIII "Orientalium dignitas ecclesiarum” (1894) was due to the influence of this son of the east. It was feared that the rights and privileges of this unique Catholic "Major Patriarch” would spread, developing to the other "Minor Patriarchs” united to Rome. 136

Fifty years later (1947) the Greek Melkite Catholic Patriarchate found a person to continue the work of Gregory II Yousof: this was Patriarch Maximos IV Sayegh. In between came Peter IV Geraigiri (1898-1902), 137 Cyril VIII Geha (1902 1916), 138 Dimitrios I Qadi, (1919-1925) who began a radical reform in the patriarchate, 139 and finally Cyril IX Moghabghab (1925-1947) who continued in part the work of his predecessor, 140 and who sent the young priest Accacios Coussa to Rome. 141 Coussa participated in the name of his church in the commissions created for the codification of eastern canon law. This Greek Melkite Catholic priest occupied several important charges in Rome: professor of law and much later dean of the Pontifical Lateran University, assessor of the Roman Congregation for the Eastern Churches and finally cardinal and secretary of this same Congregation until 1962. 142 This son of the East, who was given the highest western titles, knew how to reconcile two different mentalities in the codification of Eastern law which of course was passed over by Vatican Council II. 143

The presence of Maximos IV Sayegh (1947-1967) at Vatican Council II was visibly felt on several occasions. Supported by his very active collaborators, Maximos IV spoke in the same fashion as his predecessor Gregory II Yousof. 144 Patriarch Athenagoras I saw him as the spokesman of Orthodoxy itself. 145 If the decree "Orientalium Ecclesiarum” (promulgated 21 November 1964) was considered "insufficient” and given an "interlocution solution,” 146 the decree "Unitatis Redintegratio” (promulgated the same day) had been very satisfactory. 147 In spite of this, the venerable Patriarch Maximos IV had to accept the cardinalate but without the crimson. 148 The present Patriarch Maximos V Hakim has outlined his program in these words:

"the Lord has wished to make us, in spite of us and in spite of our unworthiness, the successor of a great patriarch. We have nothing more dearly to testify from the beginning of our patriarchate, that we expect to march in his steps and to continue in his shadow, the work of interior reform and ecumenical relations begun by him. We have taken his name...” 149

With this energetic patriarch, the bishops continued the reforming work in their dioceses especially in Aleppo, Beirut, Baalbek and Galilee. 150


According to the agenda of the last Holy Synod of the Greek Melkite Catholic Patriarchate, we see that liturgical, pastoral and ecumenical areas are the center of attention of this patriarchate. 151

In the liturgical area there is the attempt to adapt the celebration of the Divine Liturgy to our times by the intermediary of a liturgical commission presided over by Kyr Neophytos Edelby, Metropolitan of Aleppo. He considered the evolution of our Orthodox brothers in this same area; in actuality the commission only made some abbreviations or changes of minor importance. This same commission began to prepare an Arabic edition of the Anthologion similar to that of Rome. 152 What remains to be done is the progressive liquidation of feasts and solemnities of Latin origin which do not fit with eastern theology of the divine mystery, such as Corpus Christi and Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament.

However, the Holy Synod has decided to maintain them "because of their secular usage and their harmonious insertion in the Rite.” 153 Since the Holy Synod has spoken of them, it signifies that the problem of their existence has been put into question.

In the pastoral area several perspectives stand out. A congress of clergy has already been in contact with the whole assembly of the hierarchy of the patriarchate. 154 Henceforth two priests delegated by this congress can be invited by the Holy Synod to discuss determined subjects with them, but only in a consultative manner. A cultural commission must see to "putting the clergy into the current of studies and more recent ideas relative to the ecclesiastical sciences.” Moreover, a minor seminary is being planned for Damascus for the preparation of future priests in addition to the already existing ones in Lebanon and Beit Sahour (near Bethlehem).

The unification of the major seminaries of Lebanon is being considered and also the creation of an Institute for Eastern Studies. The laity also have their religious formation in a center of pastoral formation already founded in Beirut. But the most crucial problem is that of service to the Greek Melkite Catholic immigrants in America where the non-Eastern majority absorb the eastern minorities even in matter of rite. 155

The situation of the Greek Melkite Catholic Patriarchate is the most difficult and most critical in the ecumenical domain. An ecumenical commission was formed in this present patriarchate, presided over by Kyr Pierre Kamel Medawar, (an untiring man despite his advanced age): the well known Kyr Elias Zoghby (Bishop of Baalbek) is a member of this commission. Under the instigation of this commission the Holy Synod has studied the irritating problem of proselytism which it disapproves of. Moreover, the indiscreet means of proselytism which sometimes had been employed, have been outlawed in this patriarchate for many years. 156

What remains apparently unsolvable is the very existence of this patriarchate. Some western and eastern ecumenists see this patriarchate in communion with Rome as an obstacle to dialogue and to union with the Orthodox Churches. They believe that it should be suppressed little by little 157 or even put it aside when dialogue is made between Rome and Orthodoxy, 158 because it is already in union or even because it is an object of shame which cannot be presented to the Orthodox as the pattern of what they will be like when they also will be in communion with Rome. 159 The Roman Church wishes to have a "unique speaker in due form qualified and mandated to speak and act in the name of the entire Orthodox Church.” 160 However, the union of this Patriarchate of Antioch to the See of Rome had been required by Rome itself. 161

It is thus very logical that the Church of Rome itself seeks to find the solution of this problem. And so it is desirable that this holy Church makes the necessary efforts to aid the Eastern Churches in recognizing the respective separated Churches as their second half. This is a very difficult task. The Latin Church seeks to "de-Latinize” the east and this is in fact is not an easy task. Sometimes the working both sides seems to be a duty of this church: on one hand direct dialogue with the Eastern Orthodox, on the other hand not embarrassing the easterners united to them but encouraging them to return to their authentic identity as the sons of Jacob recognized their brother Joseph. 162 This will serve to advance the dialogue and the cause of union wished for by Christ. 163 To do the first without the second will be an absurdity from the whole ecumenical dialogue with the Orthodox: the Greek Melkite Catholic Patriarchate, despite the trials of reducing it to a purely "national” church, remains the pattern which should be presented to all the Orthodox Patriarchates in case of real dogmatic dialogue. It is according to this example that you will be treated, will be said to them. For we cannot forget that this Greek Melkite Catholic Patriarchate does not draw its origins from any heretical church! The Greek Melkite Catholic Patriarchate of Antioch was constituted with the collaboration of autochthonous bishops who were Orthodox-Catholic prelates before the formal union of 1724. We cannot deny that the Greek Melkite Catholic Patriarchate has been a providential victim of the union manifesting to the bosom of the western Church the existence of a sister church which is the Orthodox Church. 164 The eastern voices of Germanos Adam, Maximos III Mazloom, Gregory II Yousof, and Maximos IV Sayegh have not ceased to resound in the east and west. Their voices will continue to be heard through Maximos V Hakim, 165 as long as the situation of "estrangement” created more than 250 years ago between the Greek Melkite Catholics and their Orthodox brothers persists in their hearts. The wall of separation which all Christians wish to tear down 166 will not cease to exist as long as this wall continues to exist in each rite or each church, either eastern or western.

Abdallah Raheb [Doctor of Theology as of 1981], Rome, 20 December 1969, Feast of St. Ignatios the God-Bearer, Bishop of Antioch, martyred in Rome.

This article appeared in Ekklesiastikos Pharos, Vol. LII. II-III.


  1. Click return to text 1Cf. on this subject, Karalevskij: "Origines ethnologiques du peuple melkite” in DHGE (Dictionnaire d'Histoire et de Géographie Ecclesiastique), Vol. III, col. 585-589. Also C. Charon (=Karalevskij, Korolevskij or Korolevsky): "L’origine ethnologique des Melkites,” in Echos d’Orient, 1908, Vol. XI, pp. 82-89.
  2. Click return to text 2The word "Melkite” comes from the Syriac word "malko” which means king, emperor. At first it was a nickname given to those who followed the Byzantine emperor, protector of the faith of Chalcedon. We use the form "Melkite” rather than "Melchite” to de-Italianize the word and render it more equivocal to other European languages. Cf. the article "Antioche” in DGHE, col. 589 [English translation: Christian Antioch, Fairfax VA: Eastern Christian Publications] in which Al Massoudi is cited as the first Arabic writer to have used this word. This nickname had been given under the patriarchate of Theodosios of Alexandria (536-566), cf. Msgr. Duchesne, L’Eglise au VI siècle, p. 339.
  3. Click return to text 3 “Antioche,” in DHGE, col. 578.
  4. Click return to text 4 4 The title “Byzantine” can be applied to the rite of these three patriarchates, accepting that this rite had its origins and evolution in Greater Syria rather than in Byzantium itself. Cf. on this subject, Ibid., col. 690693 and even the author Karalevskij: Histoire des patriarcats Melkites, Rome, 1911, Bk. 3, p 1-206. [The English translation is History of the Melkite Patriarchates, Vol. 3/1, Fairfax VA: Eastern Christian Publications]. Unfortunately race, language and territory are mixed together. In order to give an example of this inadmissible confusion in the 20thcentury, cf. Synopsis Scriptorum Ecclesiae Antiquae, Belgium 1953, where the author (the present dean of the faculty of spirituality in a great Roman University) puts Saint John Chrysostom in his new country “Greece,” indicating there was in the very same era a place called Syria! In any case, since it is more legitimate that those in the university do research and that their professors are authors, the same for Byzantium. As capital of the Empire, Byzantium must be considered as the author of that which was formed by the other patriarchates less celebrated than itself.
  5. Click return to text 5 5 Present Auxiliary Bishop of Patriarch Maximos V. [Translator Note: He later became Eparch of Mexico City and Melkite Exarch to Caracas, Venezuela, and died in Caracas in ?].
  6. Click return to text 6 6 Cf. Bulletin paroissial de la communaute grecque-melchite catholique a Alexandrie, No. 4, 5, 6, 1952.
  7. Click return to text 7 7 Present Archbishop of Baalbek, Lebanon [Translator Note: Later retired and died in 2008]. We note that he had a courageous ecumenical attitude at Vatican Council II. Cf. his contribution in Voix de l'Eglise en Orient, Freiburg, 1962, and other earlier publications of the Greek-Melkite Catholic Patriarchate.
  8. Click return to text 8 8 Cf. critique of the article of P. Rai in Bulletin paroissial... Op. Cit.
  9. Click return to text 9 9 Cf. Le Lien (Beirut), which has this sub-title: “Bulletin du patriarcat Grec-Melkite Catholique.”
  10. Click return to text 10 10 Cf. DTC, X, col. 1698 ff.; H. Musset: Histoire du Christianisme specialement en Orient, 1948, Bk. I, pp. 270 ff.
  11. Click return to text 11 11 According to Le Quien, Oriens Christianus, ed., 1958, Bk. II, p. 764, the Patriarch of Antioch was Theodosios V; compare with “Antioche” in DHGE, col. 699.
  12. Click return to text 12 12 Ibid., col. 620-621.
  13. Click return to text 13 13 Cf. J. Nasrallah, Chronologie des patriarcats melchites d’ Antioche de 1250 a 1500, Jerusalem 1968, pp. 28-31. The author affirms (p. 47): “It does not seem possible to doubt the ‘Catholicism’ of the Patriarchates of Antioch and Alexandria from 13th to 16th centuries since H. Zayat had published a series of texts originating from the Mamlouk chancellery.” It concerns the book, The Greek Melkites in Islam (in Arabic), Bk. I, Harissa, 1953. It seems that this affirmation is exaggerated, without exactly determining the kind of professed catholicism. If it concerns the Orthodox-Catholicism of the second millennium, the Latin missionaries of the 17th century tell us the resistance of the Greek Patriarchates to this kind of Catholicism.
  14. Click return to text 14 14 The original letters are preserved in the Vat. Arab. 48, 68v-69r (to pope) and 66v-67r (to cardinal). Cf. also Oriente Cattolico, Vatican, 1962, p. 251. For the role of Leonard Abel in this affair, cf. J. Nasrallah, Chronologies des patriarcats Melkites d' Antioche de 1500 a 1634, Paris, 1959, pp. 43-44. Cf. also DHGE, article “Abel,” col. 70-71. We have not spoken of the mission of Moise Giblet because of the doubt around “Liber Rubeus” which is the only document that speaks about it and that does not seem to be authentic, Cf. J. Nasrallah, Chronologie...Op. Cit., pp. 34-35.
  15. Click return to text 15 15 The Roman Congregation was founded by Pope Gregory XV at the beginning of 1622. On January 14, 1622 the first meeting of the cardinals and prelates designated for this work took place. The principal reason for this Congregation was determined in the Encyclical of January 15, 1622 and the Constitution of June 22, 1622: “to preserve the Catholic faith of the faithful, to convert heretics, schismatics and infidels and finally, to prevent the progress of heretical preachers.” Cf. Collectanea S. Cong. De Prop. Fide, Vol. 1 (1622-1866), pp. 1-2. In 1917 the Eastern part of this Congregation became a separate Congregation “for the Eastern Church” and presently “for the Eastern Churches.”
  16. Click return to text 16 16 Cf. W. DeVries: Rom und die patriarchate des Ostens, Freiburg, 1963, p. 38 “Die Missionare kamen durchweg ohne jede spezielle Vorbereitung in den Nahen Osten. Sie erlernten zunachst mit vieler Muhe die notigen Sprachen und machten sich dann mit grossem Eifer und Optismus an die Arbeit. Ihr Zeil war es, moglichst bald zu kommen. Diese suchten sie anzubahnen einmal durch die Gewinnung von Bischofen und Patriarchen, dann aber auch durch moglichst Zahlreiche Einzelbekehrungen.”
  17. Click return to text 17 17 Op. Cit., Idem, p 82. Note that this precious book of W. DeVries is one of the most objective and most scientific written by a Latin on the subject of the patriarchates of the east. Since this book remains inaccessible (because of its language) to many readers, we advise the reading of articles of this same author prepared in various languages and in many periodicals of Europe and America.
  18. Click return to text 18 18 Cf. G. Hering, Oekumenisches Patriarchat und europaische Politik (1520-1683), Weisbaden, 1968, p. 153.
  19. Click return to text 19 19 Cf. the letter of this archdeacon of Aleppo to Pope Urban VIII (April 1629) in Archives of the Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith (Rome), SOCG (= Scritture Originali riferite nelle Congregazione Generali), Vol. 180, fol. 91r (in Arabic) and fol. 90r (Latin translation).
  20. Click return to text 20 20 Cf. “Brevis descriptio locorum Missionis Capucinorum provinciae Brittanicae in partibus Syriae et Palestinae,” in Archives of the Congregation, SOCG, Vol. 197, fol. 55r -57r. Compare with another account in fol. 58r -73v and 19 -38r in the same volume. 20 Cf. “Brevis descriptio locorum Missionis Capucinorum provinciae Brittanicae in partibus Syriae et Palestinae,” in Archives of the Congregation, SOCG, Vol. 197, fol. 55r -57r. Compare with another account in fol. 58r -73v and 19 -38r in the same volume.
  21. Click return to text 21 21 W. DeVries affirms in Op. Cit., p. 82 that the arrival of the Jesuits was in 1627. Our date is proven by the letter sent by Gaspar Maximillier and Jean Stella to the Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith, cf. SOCG, Vol. 386, fol. 240r. Cf. also the rich bibliography in Op. Cit. of G. Hering, p 153.
  22. Click return to text 22 22 Cf. the account given by Fr. Jerome Queyrot (2 December 1629) in Arch. Prop., SOCG, Vol. 195, fol. 159r -167r.
  23. Click return to text 23 23 Cf. Letter of Fr. Isaac d’Aultry to the Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith (16 Feb. 1652) in Arch. Prop., SOCG, Vol. 197, fol. 102r.
  24. Click return to text 24 24 Cf. W. DeVries, Op. Cit., p 82. Compare with “Antioche,” DHGE, col. 641.
  25. Click return to text 25 25 Cf. Arch. Prop., Vol. 197, fol. 345r -352r.
  26. Click return to text 26 26 The enumeration of all the quarrels of the missionaries at this time is too long. Every detailed account of the mission fathers contains some incidents of this kind. The most vehement were between the Capuchins and Franciscans Minor. Cf. the résumé of these quarrels in SOCG, Vol. 197, fol. 50r -51v.
  27. Click return to text 27 27 Cf. SOCG, Vol. 196, fol. 5v; Vol. 115, fol. 276r. Compare with Acta Congr. 119 of 1 Feb. 1630.
  28. Click return to text 28 28 Cf. for this subject the various letters sent by Meletios Karmeh, Greek Archbishop of Aleppo (16121634) to the Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith in which he praises the zeal of the missionaries.
  29. Click return to text 29 29 The witnesses are missing until the 17th century, even on the part of high prelates of the Melkite Patriarchate.
  30. Click return to text 30 30 To this effect there is the abundant correspondence of Karmeh with the Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith which we will analyze later. As an example, we mention the letters of May 1629, December 1629, March 1631, October 1631 preserved in the Arch. Prop., SOCG, Vol. 180, fol. 208r, 95r, 35v, and 75r (all in Arabic).
  31. Click return to text 31 31 Cf. SOCG, Vol. 395, fol. 295r and 296v; Vol. 180, fol. 39r and 40r. The patriarch did not expressly sign the official act of union for fear of the Turks who would have considered this act as political allegiance with the Western enemy. However, Pachomios carried three letters of Karmeh addressed to the pope and to the Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith for the printing of Arabic books (Vol. 180, fol. 41r, 42r and 43r).
  32. Click return to text 32 32 The witnesses while he was living are also numerous than those after his death which took place on 1 January 1635. According to the letters preserved in the Arch. Prop., no Latin missionary lamented this holy bishop and later patriarch. On the other hand, he was always considered as a true Catholic by those who knew him.
  33. Click return to text 33 33 It concerns Msgr. Francesco Ingoli, secretary of this Congregation from 6 January 1622 until 24 April 1649. Cf. N. Kowalsky, Collectio Urbaniana, Series III, 4, Rome, 1962, pp. 1-39.
  34. Click return to text 34 34 We bear this judgment according to the remarks handwritten by Ingoli himself, which we have recounted in the course of the research and which shows a vast knowledge of the theological, juridical, political and religious problems of the churches of the east in his era.
  35. Click return to text 35 35 Arch. Prop., SOCG, Vol. 180, fol. 46v: “...questo negotio importa grandemente, perche questo patriarcha e quello, che veramente si puo dire patriarcha d'Antiochia, perche succede a quelli che intervennero ne' generali Concilii essendo gl'altri de Maroniti, Giacobiti e Nestoriani piu tosto Nazionali, che generali.”
  36. Click return to text 36 36 Because of the Holy Places, Ibid., Vol. 195, fol. 38r-39r, 82r, 431v, 637r, 638v, etc.
  37. Click return to text 37 37Ibid., Vol. 195, fol. 38v. This paragraph is titled “parere de Segretario Ingoli del mondo che s'ha da tenere per odinare le represalie contro li greci Scismatici...”
  38. Click return to text 38 38 Cf. The witness of his student, the future great patriarch, Macarios Zaim in “Life of Patriarch Euthymios Karmeh...” [in Arabic] published by Leon Kilzi in al-Maçarrat, 1913, pp. 41-47; 81-89; 135-144.
  39. Click return to text 39 39 Although his brother, Thalge, and his student, Macarios Zaim, wanted to disguise this martyrdom to save face before other churches, the matter was very evident for the missionaries: Karmeh had died in a less normal fashion (perhaps poisoned). His Jesuit contemporary, Amieu, made this judgment: Karmeh died “in holy true Catholic faith.” Cf. the excellent article of J. Nasrallah, “Euthyme Karme II” in DHGE, col. 53-57 with a rich bibliography.
  40. Click return to text 40 40 Arch. Prop. SOCG, Vol. 180, fol. 39r; Vol. 395, fol. 295r and 296v.
  41. Click return to text 41 41 Karmeh became patriarch on 1 May 1634. Eight months later (1 January 1635) he died. Pachomios left for Rome when Karmeh was just elected patriarch (according to the letters he carried). We know that his trip lasted only six and one half months (cf. SOCG, Vol. 180, fol. 101r), and he remained in Rome certainly until the general congregation of 26 July 1635 when the text was given to him to sign. Moreover, Ingoli himself notes in fol. 108v: “...mentre era (Pakhome) in viaggio mori questo patriarcha (Euthyme d’ Antioche).” Compare with article of J. Nasrallah, Op. Cit., col. 56 and his book , Notes et documents..., 1965, p 131.
  42. Click return to text 42 42 It is interesting to see how Karmeh understood union. The letters we examined in our research never arrived to the content of the Roman primacy of Vatican I. Karmeh came to affirm that the pope of Rome is the “steward (wakile) of Christ,” cf. SOCG, Vol. 180, fol. 43v.
  43. Click return to text 43 43 Cf. J. Nasrallah, article cit. on this patriarch in DHGE, col. 56.
  44. Click return to text 44 44 A. Rabbath, Documents inedits pour servir a l’ histoire du christianism en Orient, Bk. I, Paris, p. 402. The text is also mentioned by Zayat, The Melkite Greeks in Islam (in Arabic), I, 1953, p. 80. This again proves what we suggested in footnote 39.
  45. Click return to text 45 45 Cf. “Relatione delle missione d' Aleppo, e di Damasco,” from the Dominican provincial, Fr. Thomas Vitale in SOCG, Vol. 196, fol. 43r-46v. This account has been examined in congregation 296 of the Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith, 3 March 1643. The fact is recounted also by J. Besson in his book of 1660, La Syrie et la terre sainte au XVII s.,” Paris, 1862, p. 68. Cf. text in the article “Euthyme III,” DHGE, col. 57, cf. Ibid., another affirmation by P. Nacchi.
  46. Click return to text 46 46 SOCG, Vol. 196, fol. 205r-215r. Account of 3 July 1641. In fol. 212v, we read: “esso (Euthyme III) mi disse davanti tutti io confesso il Pontefice Romano et lo conosco capo della Chiesa Cattolica et tengo vera tutta sua credenza et se son avessi paura d' altri greci io mi glorificarei...”
  47. Click return to text 47 47 Ibid., fol. 212v. Compare with article cited: “Euthyme III,” col. 58.
  48. Click return to text 48 48 Cf. Karalevskij, article “Antioche” in DHGE, col. 643 and Grumel, Echos d’ Orient, 1928, p. 73. Rev. C. Bacha affirms the Catholicism of this patriarch very simply in “Extract from the Voyage of Patriarch Macarios the Aleppian, (in Arabic),” pp. 119-135, while Zayat rejects it in al-Machreq, 1932, pp. 881-892: “Le patriarche Macaire etait-il catholique?” J. Nasrallah in Notes et documents... Op. Cit., p. 138 follows the opinion of Grumel and Karalevskij. The diversity of these judgments appear to come from the conception of union and catholicism which some contemplate with eyes of the first millennium and others with those of second millennium. An historical dogmatic study must dissipate the ambiguities in this matter.
  49. Click return to text 49 49 Cf. SOCG, fol. 240, fol. 45v-45r. The letter is written in Arabic and bears the official signature of the Patriarch of Antioch. It is dated 14 December 1663. An Italian translation of this letter is found in the same volume, fol. 43rv. The Capuchins and Carmelites are praised in this letter.
  50. Click return to text 50 50 Ibid., we remark that this patriarch did not make a “properly said” profession of faith in this letter. For him union would be to make the wall which separates the two Churches — eastern and western — disappear. Compare with article “Antioche” in DHGE, col. 643 in which Karalevskij affirms that in 1664 Macarios sent two bishops to Rome to give a profession of faith to the Holy Office. The letter which we cited above and which is dated 14 December 1663 says nothing about this profession of faith which had to be written around the same date in order to have arrived in Rome in 1664.
  51. Click return to text 51 51 Compare to the chalice offered by Pope Paul VI to Patriarch Athenagoras I. It would be interesting to examine the profound significance of this gesture.
  52. Click return to text 52 52 Cf. Paul of Aleppo (son of Patriarch Macarios III), Voyage du Patriarch Macarie d'Antioche, ed. B. Radu, in Patrologia Orientalis, XXII. Cf. also the manuscript in Arabic 70 of the archive of the ministry of foreign affairs to Moscow (copied in 1700). An abridged translation has been published by F.C. Belfour, The Travels of Macarios, Patriarch of Antioch, 2 vols., London, 1829-1836 according to another manuscript of the British museum. Cf. article “Antioche” in DHGE, col. 642-643.
  53. Click return to text 53 53 Letter of Fra Sylvester to prefect of the Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith, 10 April 1665, in SOCG, Vol. 240, fol. 59r.
  54. Click return to text 54 54 In 1687, Athanasios III Dabbas, competitor of Cyril V Zaim, sent his profession of faith to Rome (cf. very significant letter of Cardinal Cybo to Patriarch Athanasios III on 23 August 1687 in Arch. Prop. Scritture riferite nei congressi, Greci, Vol. I, fol. 365r) but when he became the only patriarch without a competitor in 1720, his attitude completely changed (cf. Bacha, L’ histoire de l’Eglise Grecque-Melkite, I, 1938, pp. 126-129, in which he cites the witness of the Maronite Bishop, G. Farhat, contemporary of the patriarch in question). Moreover, Cyril V Zaim sent his profession of faith to Rome in 1716 but it is known that he also excommunicated the “latinizing Bishop of Saida” (cf. Mansi, Vol. 46, 132). A sober and astute analysis of these two professions of faith are found in W. DeVries, Op. Cit., pp. 312-314; cf. also pp. 88-90.
  55. Click return to text 55 55 Many bishops and faithful sent the profession of faith prescribed by Rome to pass to Catholicism through the intermediary of the missionaries. Bishops Gregory of Aleppo and Macarios of Tripoli sent it to Rome in 1698 (cf. J. Nasrallah, Notes et documents..., p. 143). Sylvester of Beirut and Parthenos of Baalbek sent it in 1701 (cf. Oriente Cattolico, Vatican, 1962, p. 252), Bishop Gerasimos of Saidnaya sent it in 1716 (cf. C. Bacha, Voyage of Patriarch Macarios the Aleppian, (in Arabic) Harissa, 1912, p. 48). For the Roman tendencies of the Greek people of Antioch, cf. H. Zayat, Greek Catholics in Islam, I (in Arabic), pp. 75-76.
  56. Click return to text 56 56 As an example, the concurrence between Cyril V Zaim and Athanasios III Dabbas before their pact in 1694 which in turn obtained the “firman” of Constantinople (cf. Bacha, Historie...pp. 126-129).
  57. Click return to text 57 57 On the subject of this bishop, Euthymios, cf. Bacha, Op. Cit., who meticulously traces the life of this bishop and shows the role of the Salvatorian missionaries in the union with Rome. The article of J. Nasrallah, “Euthyme Saifi” in DHGE, col. 64-67, is very scientific and very objective. An excellent synthesis is found in this article on true catholicism which animated many Greek prelates of Antioch a century before Saifi. The author thinks (col. 66): “it is exaggeration to make Euthymios Saifi the first Catholic hierarch of Antioch and the only artisan of the union with Rome.” But was he not the only artisan in the manner in which the union was made? Moreover, as Nasrallah rectifies it (col. 64), Saifi is not the nephew of Euthymios; Karmeh conceived another form of union. Compare with the article of Karalevskij “Antioche” in DHGE, col. 645, which has been followed by many others without control. We refer the readers to Nasrallah’s article.
  58. Click return to text 58 58 A part of my doctoral thesis in preparation will be consecrated to this very important point which represents today one of the most difficult ecumenical problems. Can one be in communion with Rome without being cut off from his Orthodox confreres? [Translator note: The historical part of this thesis was published in Beirut in 1981. Bishop Nicholas Samra has an unpublished English translation of it].
  59. Click return to text 59 59 It is evident that the legitimacy (according to Rome) of Patriarch Athanasios III Dabbas, who had sent his profession of Catholic faith in 1687, was not certain. Cf. footnote 54. Cf. Rescript of the Propaganda of 6 December 1701.
  60. Click return to text 60 60 Cf. His letter to the Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith of 23 January 1723 in C. Bacha, Op. Cit., p. 467.
  61. Click return to text 61 61 Cf. Letters published by Bacha, Op. Cit., 466 ff.
  62. Click return to text 62 62 Ibid., pp. 483-484.
  63. Click return to text 63 63 Cf. Letter cited above, footnote 60.
  64. Click return to text 64 64 Cf. J. Hajjar, Nouvelle Histoire de l’ Eglise, Paris, 1966, p 247. It appears that there had been a good number of Saifi’s relatives on his side. C. Bacha enumerates them in Op. Cit., pp. 6-7. Much has been written about this hasty election to show its validity or invalidity. Paul Bacel has considered it as “anti-canonical” (cf. Echos d' Orient, 1906, p. 283). On the other hand, C. Bacha affirms that “Cyril VI Tanas had been elected regularly and canonically to the Patriarchal See of Antioch.” (cf. Echos d' Orient, 1907, p. 206). Since then the argument of the right of the Damascenes to elect their bishop and consequently the Patriarch of Antioch, had been prevalent (cf. particularly the booklet of Nasrallah, S. B. Maximos IV et la succession apostolique du siege d’ Antioche, Paris, 1963, p. 57 ff). We must remark that the question was not only a question of election, for the ratification of the other bishops of the same patriarchate was required, but also for the act of consecration in which three bishops were necessary.
  65. Click return to text 65 65 Cf. Nasrallah, art. cit., “Euthyme Saifi” in DHGE, col. 67. On the controversial identity of Neophytos Nasri, cf. the successive articles in Echos d' Orient: 1901-1902, p. 83 (by C. Charon); 1904, p. 213 (by H. Boustani); 1905, p. 87 (by C. Bacha) and pp. 361-362 ( by P. Bacel); 1906, pp. 160-161 (by S. Vailhe who would say: “N. Nasri was a Choeirite monastic!”); cf. A. Chaccour in “Hayat wa Amal,” April 1949, pp. 22-37.
  66. Click return to text 66 66 This Salvatorian missionary “went to and fro between the dioceses of Saidnaya and Baalbek” (article of J. Nasrallah, col. 67). On June 25, 1723 he wrote to the Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith lamenting Patriarch Athanasios III Dabbas who has chased him from all Syrian dioceses and thus he took refuge in Saida. Cf. the letter published by C. Bacha in History of Greek-Melkites (in Arabic), pp. 486-487.
  67. Click return to text 67 67 Cf. article “Antioche” in DHGE, col. 647: compare with J. Hajjar in Nouvelle Histoire de l’ Eglise, Paris, 1966, p. 247.
  68. Click return to text 68 68 Ibid., in “Antioche” and J. Hajjar; cf. also Musset, Histoire du Christianisme, II, p. 174.
  69. Click return to text 69 69 Cf. Bacha, Echos d' Orient, 1907, pp. 200-206, Voyage of Patriarch Macarios the Aleppian (in Arabic), Harissa, p. 48; Histoire des grec-Melkites, p. 23; Hajjar, Op. Cit., p. 247. Compare with what Nasrallah says in his article “Euthyme Saifi,” col. 67: “Saifi sent his monks to preach in most of the eparchies of the patriarchate. He was equally tactful to designate one of them as bishop of the diocese, for the second one to counsel him and when needed to succeed him.”
  70. Click return to text 70 70 Cf. Bacha, Echos d' Orient, 1907, p. 203; Article: “Antioche.” in DHGE, col. 647.
  71. Click return to text 71 71 Much has been written about the identity of Cyril VI Tanas. Let us note only that he was a student of the College of the Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith in Rome. Every student of the Pontifical College must make an irrevocable oath, according to which he is obliged all his life to remain in the service of the Apostolic Roman See, even if he renounces the ecclesiastical state. Cf. Constitutio Alexandri PP. VII, 20 July 1660, in Collectanea S. C. Propaganda Fide, I, Rome, 1907. Tanas did not have to become a Salvatorian in virtue of this same oath which prohibited the entrance into religious life.
  72. Click return to text 72 72 J. Nasrallah in S. B. Maximos IV et la succession apostolique du siege d' Antioche, Paris 1963, p. 58, affirms: “We must remember, above all, that the majority of the episcopate was of Aleppian origin and the Christians of this large city of the north, either Catholic or Orthodox, were against every candidate chosen by the Damascenes. It is for this unique reason that no bishop accepted to go and confer the cheirotonia for Tanas.” However, the same author affirms on the preceding page that there were many bishops (who were not all “from the great city of the north”) who sent their profession of faith to Rome! Were these bishops not aware of another kind of union which safeguarded its identity in the Patriarchate of Antioch?
  73. Click return to text 73 73 Cf. H. Musset, Histoire...II, Jerusalem 1948, p. 175: certain missionaries of Aleppo considered “the hatred of the inhabitants and the Latin religious of Damascus imprudent,” cf. the perspicacious judgment of the consul of Aleppo.
  74. Click return to text 74 74 Echos d’ Orient, 1906, p. 286.
  75. Click return to text 75 75 Cf. H. Musset, Op. Cit., p. 176: Bishop Gerasimos of Aleppo was arrested, imprisoned, taken to Constantinople and sent to exile for five years to Athos.” Cf. Echos d' Orient, 1904, pp. 157-158.
  76. Click return to text 76 76 Cf. A. Chaccour in Hayat wa Amal, April 1949, pp. 25-30.
  77. Click return to text 77 77 Ibid., p. 31.
  78. Click return to text 78 78 Cf. P. Bacel, “Le Patriarche Cyrille VI et les Choueirites,” in Echos d’Orient, 1906, pp. 283-287.
  79. Click return to text 79 79 In the letter of Pope Benedict XIII to Capuchin Dorotheos of the Holy Trinity (which should bear the confirmation of Cyril VI), dated 13 August 1729, we read: “...nihil in se aut subditis suis immutaturum, in ritibus et consuetudinibus graeci ritus...” This was neither the first nor the last recommendation for Cyril VI and before him for his uncle Saifi. Cf. DeVries, Op. Cit., pp. 90-91.
  80. Click return to text 80 80 Cf. Echos d’Orient, 1906, pp. 8-10 and p. 283. Mansi, Book 46, col. 262-272.
  81. Click return to text 81 81 Cf. Musset, Op. Cit., p. 174.
  82. Click return to text 82 82 Cf. Echos d’Orient, 1907, p. 205; DeVries, Op. Cit., p. 91: “Rom erkannte nach einigem Zogern den Patriarchen Cyrill Tanas an (1729). Der Grund des Zogerns waren Zweifel an der Gultigkeit der Wahl und ungunstige Informationem uber die Latinisierungstendenzen des Cyrill.”
  83. Click return to text 83 83 Cf. Musset, Op. Cit., p. 177.
  84. Click return to text 84 84 Cf. Rabbath, Documents inédits I, p. 574. Before 1724 there were often two or three competitors on the very patriarchal see of Antioch. But this time the matter was very serious and more divisive for the two competitors: one supported by Rome, the other by Constantinople.
  85. Click return to text 85 85 Cf. Mansi, Bk. 46, col. 183-262: “Synodus in monasterio S. Salvatoris habita in qua Cyrillus a S. Sede patriarcha Antiochenus constituitur 1730 Aprilis 25.” In the pope's letter to his delegated Dorotheos of the Holy Trinity, we read: “volumus, ut auctoritate nostra per te ipsum vel per subdelegatum tuum, confirmatem a nobis Patriarchalem eletionem declares.” By this, we see the less historical affirmation of the Patriarchal Review of the Syrian Orthodox (in Arabic), Damascus 1969, p. 140, which is still inspired by some improper ecclesiastical facts of the same century which were sadly produced in the Eastern Churches in union with Rome. A response to the mentioned review was published in al-Macarrat (in Arabic), Harissa, 1969, pp. 121-125 (by Archimandrite Joseph Haddad).
  86. Click return to text 86 86 H. Musset, Op. Cit., p. 176. Some contemporary historians have questioned if we can speak of a profession of Catholic faith with the first juridical Catholic Patriarch of Antioch after the separation of 1054, since Tanas was already Catholic and even a missionary of the Roman Church among his compatriots, by W. DeVries, Op. Cit., p. 351: “Seraphim (Tanas) war bereits katholisch, als er mit dem Namen Cyrill den Patriarchenthron bestieg. Wir haben hier gar Keinen greifbaren Akt der Union.”
  87. Click return to text 87 87 Saifi, in his letter to the Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith, dated 10 July 1723. Cf. Bacha, Op. Cit., pp. 469-470. Moreover, this sentiment has surfaced from time to time, particularly among the eastern uniates to whom Rome conceded prelates directly chosen by them.
  88. Click return to text 88 88 Cf. Arch. Prop. Miscellanea, Maroniti, Vol. IV, fol. 456v-457r. This is a letter of Cyril VI Tanas to Bishop Jean Amiouni who was in Rome, dated 7 September 1733.
  89. Click return to text 89 89 Cf. Mansi, Bk. 46, col. 387-389 ( a letter of 1 March 1745). W. DeVries, Op. Cit., p. 294: “...einem brief..., in dem er daruber klagt, er sei Patriarch nur mehr dem Namen nach; man habe ihm alle seine Rechte geraubt.”
  90. Click return to text 90 90 Mansi, Bk. 46, col. 99-104.
  91. Click return to text 91 91 Mansi, Bk. 46, col. 449-454: “Synodis Nationalis (!) in conventu S. Salvatoris celebrata 1751 Aprilis 24 -Maii 5.
  92. Click return to text 92 92 Mansi, Ibid., col. 461.
  93. Click return to text 93 93 Cf. Levenq, art. “Athanase IV” in DHGE, col. 1374. The author, who wishes at any cost to name Cyril VI Tanas by the name of Cyril III, mentions that Mansi reserves 186 columns on the subject of Jaouhar. We wish to know the essentials of all the columns to see why Rome had not accepted him (even excommunicating him) and had preferred one of his opponents. Didn’t it concern the two currents of the Greek-Melkite Catholic Patriarchate: one wishing to continue the innovations, and the other to remain faithful to Orthodoxy while remaining in communion with Rome? The bishops who upheld Jaouhar were from the vicinity of the Monastery of Holy Savior, cf. the letter of those bishops preserved in the Archives of St. Anne (Jerusalem) and mentioned by Musset, Op. Cit., p. 179. The judgment of Karalevskij in his article “Antioche” DHGE, col. 650 is not without foundation.
  94. Click return to text 94 94 Cf. Mansi, Bk. 46, col. 493-503. The brief of nomination of 1 August 1760 had been confided to Dominican Domenico Lanza who wonderfully executed his mission (cf. DHGE, IV, col. 1375). But he failed to acknowledge that things were complicated, for Rome had not received the name which four bishops sent in opposition to the designation of Jaouhar (DHGE, III, col. 650). The same problem is found even today (mutatis mutandis) for the United States where the Greek-Melkite Catholic Patriarchate has an Exarchate (cf. Le Lien, (Bulletin of the Patriarchate), No. 3, 1969. Compare with Byzantine Catholic World, (Ruthenian newspaper in USA), 5 January 1969.
  95. Click return to text 95 95 5 January 1761.
  96. Click return to text 96 96 Cf. text of Musset, Op. Cit., p. 179. The Melkite Catholics of Alexandria and Jerusalem depended upon the Franciscans of the Holy Land until 1722. It is certain that it needed a better solution since the faithful had pastors of their own rite. But it is necessary to note that it was only a provisional solution.
  97. Click return to text 97 97 Cf. Mansi, Vol. 46, col. 599-618: “Synodus in monasterio Sancti Antonii in Monte Libano habita as creandum novum patriarcham Antiochenum Graecorum-Melkitarum 1788 Aprilis 24-Maii 5.”
  98. Click return to text 98 98 Cf. Arch. Prop. Istruzioni, Bk. I, fol. 492 and 524; Mansi, Bk. 46, col. 621. It is interesting to compare this instruction with the actual problem of the Greek-Melkite Catholic Exarchate in the USA where the jurisdiction of the Patriarch of Antioch over the faithful of the very same rite is contested. Cf. our study of this problem published in Het christelijk Oosten, II, 1970, (in Nimeque, Netherlands).
  99. Click return to text 99 99 Cf. Mansi, Bk. 46, col. 617-668, where all the Instructions of the Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith are found with the acts of the Synod.
  100. Click return to text 100 100 J. Hajjar, Op. Cit., p. 251.
  101. Click return to text 101 101 Cf. Art. “Antioche” DHGE, col. 651, and “Adam,” col. 494-495; cf. also the unpublished thesis of L. Laham: Catholicism, Gallicanism et Orthodoxie dans l' Ecclesiologie de Germanos Adam, Metropolite d' Alep (1725 ? -1809), Rome 1961.
  102. Click return to text 102 102 Cf. L. Laham, “Germanos Adam, Metropolitan of Aleppo” (in Arabic) in the Arabic Review Al-Wahdat, No. 2, Saida, 1969, pp. 171-189. A good synthesis of the life and works of this metropolitan is found here.
  103. Click return to text 103 103 Cf. Mansi, Bk. 46, col. 667-674.
  104. Click return to text 104 104 Ibid., col. 673-679.
  105. Click return to text 105 105 Ibid., col. 683-878.
  106. Click return to text 106 106 Cf. article “Antioche” DHGE, col. 651. J. Hajjar, Op. Cit., p. 485.
  107. Click return to text 107 107 Cf. Collectio Lacensis II, Freiburg 1876, 555-557. Cf. also Acta S.C. de Prop Fide in the volume “condanna del sinodo di Karkafe de’ Greci Melchiti, a. 1834.,” in which the whole volume is consecrated to this question with a comparison to the Synod of Pistoie in Italy in 1786. It is curious to see western terminology applied to an Eastern synod! Doesn’t it concern in the last place the liturgical autonomy, discipline and theology which the Christian East enjoyed during the first millennium? Cf. W. DeVries, Rom und die patriarchate des Ostens, Freiburg, 1963, pp. 278 and 295. Cf. also “I patriarcati orientali nel primo millennio,” O.C.A., No. 181, Rome, 1968.
  108. Click return to text 108 108 Cf. art. “Antioche,” DHGE, col. 651.
  109. Click return to text 109 109 J. Hajjar, Op. Cit., p. 486. Cf. Mansi, Bk. 46, col. 949-968. It concerns the two synods of 1816 and 1831.
  110. Click return to text 110 110 Cf. art. “Antioche,” col. 652. Echos d' Orient, 1902, pp. 113-118 and 1903, pp. 198-207.
  111. Click return to text 111 111 Cf. Mansi, Bk. 46, col. 915-950: “Synodi Antiochenae in causa Maximi Mazloom electi Episcopi Alepensis habitae 1810-1815.”
  112. Click return to text 112 112 Cf. art. “Antioche,” col. 653; J. Hajjar, Op. Cit., p. 486.
  113. Click return to text 113 113 Cf. Mansi, Bk. 46, col. 967-980.
  114. Click return to text 114 114 Cf. J. Hajjar, Un lutteur infatigable, le Patriarche Maximos III Mazloom, Harissa (Lebanon), 1957.
  115. Click return to text 115 115 J. Hajjar: Op. Cit., pp. 70-284. Compare with Karalevskij, art. “Antioche,” DHGE, col. 653-657 in which the author, at all costs, wishes to see the Gallican prejudices with this great Patriarch, forgetting all the autonomy of the Eastern patriarchs during the first millennium. Cf. also footnote 107.
  116. Click return to text 116 116 Cf. Mansi, Bk. 46, col. 981-1170; Collectio Lacensis II, Fribourg , 1876, col. 579-592.
  117. Click return to text 117 117 Cf. art. “Ain-Traz,” DHGE, col. 1204.
  118. Click return to text 118 118 The jurisdiction of the Patriarch of Antioch over Greek-Melkite Catholics of the other two patriarchates, accorded by Rome in 1772, must be transformed in title to conform to tradition, Patriarch of Antioch and all the East, of Alexandria and Jerusalem. It is necessary to see the evolution of the idea of “nation” under the Ottoman Empire (Maronite nation, Armenian nation...). The political situation of the era demanded the existence of a religious “leader” of each nation. Mazloom obtained a beret from the sultan on 31 October 1837, which conferred upon him the civil jurisdiction in the territory of the three Greek-Melkite Patriarchates and in the rest of the empire. Politically speaking, this was excellent. But Mazloom, preferring the idea of the “nation” to the idea of the Patriarchate of Antioch, of which he was titular, asked Rome for the title of Patriarch of the Greek-Melkite Catholic Church. Rome conferred upon him simply the personal privilege of adding to his authentic title, the words: “of Alexandria and Jerusalem,” words which did not change anything which had already been accorded in 1772. Compare with Hajjar, Op. Cit., pp. 289-299.
  119. Click return to text 119 119 Cf. art. “Antioche,” DHGE, col. 654. In 1725, Cyril VI Tanas was expelled from Damascus.
  120. Click return to text 120 120 This was in 1848. Cf. Ibid., col. 655. Hajjar, Op. Cit., 291.
  121. Click return to text 121 121 Cf. Hajjar, Op. Cit., pp. 265-284: “bilan d’un patriarcat.”
  122. Click return to text 122 122 Cf. DeVries, Op. Cit., pp. 272-273 (with a rich bibliography). The confirmation of Rome with the sending of the pallium was necessary not only for the exercise of patriarchal power, but even Episcopal power` of the elected patriarch (letter of Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith on 1 December 1837 to be compared with the Motu Proprio Cleri Sanctitati, 2.6, 1957, canon 235, #2, and canon 238, #1, 3.
  123. Click return to text 123 123 He was a Salvatorian monk with a great sanctity of life. Cf. article “Antioche” DHGE, col. 655-656.
  124. Click return to text 124 124 From an encyclical of January 1857. Cf. Gatti -Korolevskij, I riti e le chiese Orientali, I, Genova, 1942, p. 446.
  125. Click return to text 125 125 The Bishop of Beirut resisted this innovation submitted from Vatican Council I in 1870. Cf. Gatti - Korolevskij, Op. Cit., p. 446; art. “Antioche,” DHGE, col. 659. Cf. also the acts of “schismatic” synod of Greek-Melkite Catholic Patriarchate against the introduction of the Gregorian Calendar, in Mansi, Bk. 46, col. 1181-1184: “Synodus schismatica Zahlensis habita propter Kalendarii Gregoriani observantuan a patriarcha propositam 1859 augusti 12-24.” Bahouth had given his resignation in August 1858 but Pope Pius IX refused to accept it. He gave a second resignation in 1864 which was accepted by Rome. Ibid., col. 658-659. He died in 1882.
  126. Click return to text 126 126 Karalevskij names him with reason (Ibid. col. 659) “the most remarkable Patriarch of the 19th century.” He remained nine years (1847-1856) at the Greek College in Rome in which he had the chance to perfect his secondary studies and follow his philosophical and theological courses.
  127. Click return to text 127 127 In 1811 Patriarch Agapios III Matar attempted to open a patriarchal seminary in Ain Traz, Lebanon. But the Roman Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith feared the ideas of Bishop Germanos Adam whose disciples had been deputed for his teaching; Rome forced it to close. Again it was attempted but the good professors were missing! These were finally the White Fathers who took to heart the instruction of the Greek-Melkite Catholic clergy in the new seminary of St. Anne. The instruction was solid and much conformed to the tradition of the Eastern Fathers. After the War of 1967, this seminary was installed in Harissa, Lebanon since it was impossible for candidates from Arab countries to go to Jerusalem.
  128. Click return to text 128 128 In fact some of the Catholic theologians present at Vatican Council I separated from the Roman Church and formed the “Old Catholics.”
  129. Click return to text 129 129 It deals with the “Constitutio dogmatica prima de Ecclesia Chrisati,” promulgated 18 July 1870.
  130. Click return to text 130 130 Note that the pope signs “servant of the servants of God” (Servus Servorum Dei).
  131. Click return to text 131 131 This relates to the pentarchy, dear to easterners of the Greek rite.
  132. Click return to text 132 132 Cf. Densinger-Schonmetzer, Encgiridion symbolorum. ed. 1965: Constitutio dogmatica I “Pastor aeternus” of Ecclesia Christi (#3059-3064).
  133. Click return to text 133 133 This discourse had been reported by J. Nasrallah, Notes et documents... Jerusalem, 1965, pp. 41-43. There are some ecumenists today who want to designate these authentic sons of the east with the nickname “uniates” and consider them as obstacles to the union of the Roman and Orthodox Churches! See the final part of this study.
  134. Click return to text 134 134 Cf. article “Antioche,” col. 662.
  135. Click return to text 135 135 Letter dated Cairo, 8 February 1871. Cf. p. Granderath, Geschichte des vatikanischen Konzils, Freiburg- in-Breisgau, 1906, Bk. III, p. 609. Cf. also article “Benni,” DHGE col. 1353 ff., and W. De Vries, Op.Cit., pp. 283, 292.
  136. Click return to text 136 136 Cf. W. De Vries, Op. Cit., p. 287. In 1894 Patriarch Gregory II Yousof obtained jurisdiction even over Greek-Melkite Catholic residents in Asia Minor, cf., Gatti-Korolevskij, Op. Cit., p. 454.
  137. Click return to text 137 137 Cf. Mansi, vol. 46, col. 1199-1208.
  138. Click return to text 138 138 Cf. Ibid., col. 1207-1214.
  139. Click return to text 139 139 Qadi was named Apostolic Patriarchal Vicar by Rome until the Synod of Sarba 24-29 March 1919 at which he was canonically elected. Cf. Gatti-Korolevskij, Op. Cit., pp. 449-450.
  140. Click return to text 140 140 Ibid., p. 450.
  141. Click return to text 141 141 Cf. Cardinal Gabriel Accacios Coussa (Memorial published by the Basilian Aleppian Order), Beirut, 1964, p. 24 (by P. Rai, presently Auxiliary Bishop of Maximos V Hakim, and later Eparch of Mexico and Exarch of Venezuela).
  142. Click return to text 142 142 He died 29 July 1962 at Rome. Ibid. pp. 26-35.
  143. Click return to text 143 143 The most important results of this codification was Motu Proprio “Cleri Sanctitati” (2 June 1957) which gave rise to protests from the Greek-Melkite Catholic Synod in 1958. Cf. P. Medawar, “Quelques incidences du synode grec-melkite catholique tenu au caire du 6 au 11 Fevrier 1958,” in Voix de L'Eglise en Orient, Fribourg 1962, pp. 97-107.
  144. Click return to text 144 144 Although Gregory Yousof spoke in Latin at Vatican I, Maximos IV spoke in French at Vatican II. According to the schedule of the two councils it seems that the Fathers of the Vatican Council II better understood the language of the French speaking patriarch.
  145. Click return to text 145 145 Cf. the various witnesses of the Greek Orthodox prelates in the European reviews and above all in Greece. Even the Roman Catholics remember Maximos IV: “The thought of the Eastern Church, however, was not absent from conciliar debates. They were expressed by the voice of the prelates of the Eastern Catholic Churches: the memory of the energetic interventions of Patriarch Maximos IV is remembered by all.” (Mgr. C.J. Dumont, Op. Cit., le futur concile general des Eglises orthodoxes: attente et espoirs de l'Eglise Catholique-romaine, in “Omnis Terra,” November 1969, pp. 29-37).
  146. Click return to text 146 146 Cf. G. Rezac, “Sull’ estensione della potesta dei partriarchi ed in genere delle Chiese Orientali suifedeli del proprio rito.” in Concilium, 8, 1969, p. 1540. This decree downsizes the eastern patriarchs by stimulating the creation of new patriarchates. Cf. # 8 and # 11 of this decree.
  147. Click return to text 147 147 One is tempted to see this last decree as reserved to “separated” brethren only, and once they are “united” it is necessary for them to follow the first decree.
  148. Click return to text 148 148 Cf. “Grandes lignes d'une vie pleine,” in Le Lien, # 1, 1968, pp. 6-11.
  149. Click return to text 149 149 Ibid., p. 3.
  150. Click return to text 150 150 Cf. Le Lien, Le Bulletin du Diocese d’Alep (in Arabic) Le message de Galilee, etc.
  151. Click return to text 151151 This annual Synod met at the patriarchal residence of Ain Traz, Lebanon from August 18-23, 1969. Cf. the report concerning the work of this Synod in Le Lien #4, 1969. Cf. the same report with our annotations in Het christelijk Oosten, #1. Nimegue 1970 (in Netherlands).
  152. Click return to text 152 152 The Greek edition of Rome provides four books, two of which are published under the patronage of the Roman Congregation for the Eastern Churches.
  153. Click return to text 153153 The liturgical office of the Body of Christ was composed by Melkite Bishop of Aleppo, Maximos Hakim (later Maximos II, cf. above) and Rev. Nicolas Sayegh in 18th century. A Latin translation was made by Rev. Peter Rai in Italian Bulletin of Grottaferrata (Rome 1952).
  154. Click return to text 154 154 This congress met for the first time from May 11-15, 1969 at the Convent of Christ the King near Beirut. Cf. Le Lien, # 3, 1969. The Patriarch was present with other prelates of the patriarchate. [Translator’s note: The author of this article is the Secretary of this Congress since 1974 and participated in the annual Synod in this quality.]
  155. Click return to text 155 155 Concerning this problem, it is sufficient to read the last numbers of the patriarchal bulletin Le Lien to see how the relations in the church are not always simple. Cf. our study “Le patriarcat grec-melkite catholique a la recherche de son identite: Exarchat Romain or Antiochien?” in Het Christelijk Oosten," # 2, Nimegue 1970 (Netherlands).
  156. Click return to text 156 156 It seems that there are some Orthodox brethren, especially in Syria, who have internal trouble with their hierarchy and who wish to attach themselves to the Greek-Melkite Catholic Patriarchate. The Patriarch had recommended that sacraments be administered to them when they asked for them without accepting their official adhesion which would be detrimental to the open dialogue. Cf. on this subject the report on “Christian Witness, Proselytism and Religious Liberty in the Setting of the World Council of Churches” (New Delhi 1961). Compare with Cardinal Bea, Unity in Freedom, p. 192: Vatican II, Decree on Ecumenism # 4; Declaration on Religious Liberty, # 4; cf. also G. Baum, Ecumenism and Conversion Work (Sheed and Ward stagbook, 1963) pp. 214-241, and M. J. Guillou, “Mission in the Spirit of Ecumenism,” in One in Christ 3 (1967) pp. 11-34.
  157. Click return to text 157 157 Cf. Le Lien # 3 1969 (article of P. Placide who responds to a western ecumenist).
  158. Click return to text 158 158 This is the affirmation of the director of the very important review “La Civilta Cattolica” which has influence in Roman circles. Moreover, he was one of the official representatives of the Roman Church at the 4th Assembly of C.M.E. at Uppsala. The affirmation is of 9.7 1968. Cf. Fairy von Lilenfeld, “Romischkatholische und Orthodoxe Kirche nach dem zweiten Konzil und Orientalium Ecclesiarum” in Materialdienst des Konfessions-Kundlichen Instituts, March April 1969, p. 24 (in footnote). We see that the author (professor of the evangelical faculty of Theology at Erlangen, Germany) is more indulgent and more comprehensive than those who were favored in the passing to union of this patriarchate to Rome (cf. the entire article, pp. 21-27).
  159. Click return to text 159 159 Note that the Eastern Catholic prelates were put aside at the time of the visit of Pope Paul VI to Constantinople and the visit of Patriarch Athenagoras I to Rome.
  160. Click return to text 160 160 Mgr. C.J. Dumont, Op. Cit., p 33. However, the author, a known ecumenist who also considers that Eastern Catholics are an “obstacle on the way to the global restoration of full communion among the churches,” sees that the factual situation of these easterners “does not permit ruling by authority without their assistance and their assent.”
  161. Click return to text 161 161 Cf. above the second part. It is true that one wishes for the global union of the patriarchate, but as we have seen, the case has been unduly accelerated and the reduplication was fatally produced.
  162. Click return to text 162 162 Cf. Genesis 45: 3 ff: And Jacob said to Joseph: “At last I can die, now that I have seen for myself that Joseph is still alive.” (Gen. 46:30).
  163. Click return to text 163 163 Cf. John 17: 11 and 21-23.
  164. Click return to text 164 164 Compare with Kyr Neophytos Edelby “The Vocation of Eastern Catholics” in the book Perspectives of Catholicity, Brussels 1962, # 4; from the same author, “La rinascita della comunione tra Oriente ed Occidente,” in Concilio Vivo (Ed. Ancora), Milano 1967, pp. 343-358. Cf. also L'Eglise Grecque Melkite au Concile, 1967. An Italian translation of this last book appeared in Editions Dehoniennes de Bologne (Italy).
  165. Click return to text 165 165 Cf. His interventions at the extraordinary Synod of Bishops meeting in Rome from 11 to 28 October 1969, in Il Regno, Bologne 1969, # 20, pp. 445-446 and 459-460. The patriarch gave an interview to this same Italian Review on page 474 of # 21 of the same year.
  166. Click return to text 166 166 Cf. Decree of Vatican II, Unitatis Redintegratio, # 18: “Sacrosancta Synodus sperat for, ut sublato pariete occidentalem orientalemque Ecciesiam dividente, unica tandem fiat mansio angulari firmata lapide, Christo Iesu, qui faciet utraque unum.” Cf. also Mansi. Bk. 31, col. 1026.
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