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Intervention of Mons. Joseph ARNAOUTI, Patriarchal Exarch of Damascus of the Armenians, Bishop Emeritus of Kamichlié of the Armenians (SYRIA)


“When the completion of the time came” (Gal 4:4), God “sent his only begotten Son, Jesus Christ the Saviour, who took flesh as an Asian” (Ecclesia in Asia, no. 1) and who would return to the Orient (Mt 24:27). Christ is the incarnated, dead and risen merciful Love. He is the Son of the East. The Incarnation, whose jubilee we celebrated in the year 2000, John Paul II (Novo Millennio Ineunte) conceives it “not only as a remembrance of the past, but also as a prophecy of the future” (no. 3). The same Pope summarizes the 20th century as a century of barbarians and the manifestation of Divine Mercy. In reference to the Instrumentum laboris, 2nd goal and part of the Synod: “to foster ecclesial communion”, I will read the signs of the times, which summarizes a word by Pope Benedict XVI: “the mystery of Merciful Love was at the center of the Pontificate of my venerable predecessor” (John Paul II). I suggest the following propositions:
1. The institution of a liturgical feast of the Father. The “Our Father” is the ecumenical prayer par excellence.
2. To build together the Body of Christ: to be servants of communion, prophets of hope and witnesses of mercy (A New Hope for Lebanon). In the Middle East “different Catholic eparchies cross”. “This difficulty could be a grace... but should not impoverish it (no. 64). We note, “the absence of meaning of the Church as mystery of communion” (no. 80).
3. The primacy of Grace is that of Peter during the 3rd millennium. After Paul VI, John Paul II recognizes that the primacy of the Bishop of Rome “constitutes an obstacle” for the majority of other Christians and invites to search with him for forms of ministry of unity of the Bishop of Rome. In fact, Vatican II states that the Bishop of Rome is the “permanent and visible source and foundation of unity of faith and communion” (Lumen Gentium, no. 18). On the other hand, according to Pope John Paul II, from the human weakness of Peter, it is clear that his specific service is an act of grace. After his triple denial, Peter needs Divine Mercy for his service to be a service of mercy, born of multi-form Mercy of God (Ut Unum Sint). Accord¬ing to the same Pope, the Church must not “forget the prayer that is a cry for the mercy of God amid the many forms of evil which weigh upon humanity and threaten it” (Dives in Misericordia, No. 15).

[00054-02.03] [IN032] [Original text: French]



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