10 - 14 September 2012
St. Jacob Baradaeus Monastery
Atchaneh, Bekfayya, Lebanon
The Holy Synod held its meeting at St. Jacob Baradaeus monastery in Atchaneh - Bekfayya, Lebanon from September 10 - 14, 2012. It was headed by His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Zakka 1, Iwas, Patriarch of Antioch and all the East and the supreme Head of the universal Syriac Orthodox Church. The Holy Synod started with opening prayers and supplications to God Who blessed and eased the assembly of the Synod in Atchaneh. It is the second time the Holy Synod is being convened in Atchaneh. The first one was in September of 1971.
The Synod was attended by their Eminences the Metropolitans of the Holy See of Antioch from all over the world. They discussed the situation of the church in general and in the Middle East in particular, Syria, Iraq, and Lebanon, the countries facing turbulent times. They prayed for them to have peace and tranquility among all people from all denominations, sects, religions, and ethnicities. They also asked the Lord to have mercy on the souls of all who perished in this conflict and for the speedy recovery of all the wounded, and for reunion of all refugees and sufferers.
The Fathers, members of the Holy Synod, stressed that the Middle East countries are our homeland, the sacred land and soil which we are proud of. It was there our Lord Jesus Christ was born and lived, as well as our forefathers who a long time ago established the first civilization in the world and in which we share nowadays our life and destiny with our brethren. We regret the chaos and troubles marring this land causing the endangerment of the lives of people, disrespect to their dignity, desecration to their worshipping homes and their religious, social, and national institutions.
It greatly pains the Fathers to what is happening in our beloved Syria these days, the country that carries our name, civilization, traditions, and embraces our Holy See of Antioch. They pray the situation will become calm and peace will spread among people. From the position of responsibility, the Fathers call upon all sides to stop the violence, the language of weaponry, killings, and infringements of all kinds. They call for a peaceful dialogue which is the base of every reform or solution to the present crisis. In this regard, they want to emphasize that the sole official spokesman for our church is the Holy Synod of the Syriac Orthodox Church of Antioch headed by His Holiness, our Patriarch. He represents our church and our people at the local, regional, and international arenas, albeit all over the world.
The holy Fathers expressed their confidence that the people of good conscience and goodwill can best offer their prayers and supplications to God to lessen the burden of these difficult times on the people. We ask Him for a safe return of all refugees to their homes, assuring that immigration is a murderous bleeding which abolishes our personality, threatens our existence in the land of our forefathers, and destroys our esteemed traditions.
The Fathers discussed the agenda of the meeting which included: The present situation of the church in the Middle East and in India, our Archdioceses worldwide, our role in the ecumenical movement, the Easter date, the role of the laity in the service of the church, and other matters serving people and countries. They concluded the Holy Synod urging the faithful to endure and take refuge in God because the requests of the faithful will be answered by heaven. They ask, in the beginning and the end, to take the path of the word and dialogue as a principle which leads us to the safe haven, so that whoever works for peace will be rewarded by God Who said: "Blessed are the peace makers for they shall be called the children of God." (Mathew 5:9)
The Western Archdiocese of the Syriac Orthodox Church of Antioch