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Intervention of 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]


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