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The Holy Synod
September 22-26, 1998

By the gracious invitation of His Holiness Patriarch Moran Mor Ignatius Zakka I, Iwas, our exalted Patriarch, the members of the Holy Synod, their Eminences the Metropolitans and Archbishops, traveled to the Monastery of St. Ephraim the Syrian in Ma'arrat Saydnaya to attend the meetings of the Holy Synod.

After selected prayers from the Order of Pentecost, His Holiness opened the session of the Holy Synod welcoming their Eminences. This was followed by reading the Agenda which contained three major items: the Constitution of the Church, the Unified By-laws of the Parish Councils, and the Personal Status Law. Amendments and additions were made to all three items.

The Synod, after studying the three items, submitted the final versions to His Holiness for approval and publication. A team of specialists will review the documents from a legal perspective.

Other items discussed and actions taken include the following:

  1. The Synod decided that the year 1999 will mark the 800th anniversary of the passing away of Patriarch Mor Michael the Great. His Holiness is to issue a Patriarchal Bull calling for commemoration of this event on November 7th, (the day of his death) 1999.
  2. Concerning the 2000th Jubilee of the Incarnation of the Lord and the International Syrian Convention, the Synod resolved that they should be held between 25 August to 14 September, 2000 AD. A central committee was formed to prepare for these occasions, namely, the Jubilee and the Convention. The Committee consisted of their Eminencies the Metropolitans of Syria and Lebanon. Local committees are also to be formed in the diffident Archdioceses which will coordinate with the Central Committee.
  3. As to the Ecumenical movement, it was discussed at length. Reports on the revival of the Council of the Ancient Oriental Orthodox Churches in the Middle East (Syrians, Copts and Armenians) were read, and the past steps, actions, decisions and declarations resulted from the periodical meetings of this council were reviewed.
  4. Regarding Easter, the Synod resolved to continue efforts in cooperation with all churches to reach an agreeable fixed date based on previous decisions of our Holy Synod.
  5. The Synod resolved that Wednesday marking the Middle of the Holy Lent shall also mark a feast called "The feast of the Martyrs of the Syrian Church".

The Synod also resolved that every Metropolitan shall sign a document attested by a Notary Public ceding all his personal properties to the church according to the provisions of item 153 of the Church Constitution. A copy of this document shall be submitted to the venerable Patriachate by the next session of the Holy Synod.

At the beginning of the meeting, His Eminence Metropolitan Mor Malatius Barnaba rendered his resignation as the Head of the Archdiocese of Homs and Hamah and the environs, to His Holiness, for health reasons, and for reaching the legal retirement age. His resignation was accepted.

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Last Update: October 12, 1998