VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Two months after bishops of the Melkite Catholic Church declared they had reconciled with each other and found a way to move forward together, the Vatican announced Pope Francis had accepted the resignation of Melkite Patriarch Gregoire III Laham.
In a letter released by the Vatican May 6, Pope Francis said that in February, the 84-year-old Syrian-born patriarch “spontaneously presented me with his renunciation of the patriarchal office, asking me to decide the most favorable moment to accept it.”
“After praying and reflecting attentively, I consider it opportune and necessary for the good of the Greek Melkite Church to accept his resignation today,” said the letter addressed to Patriarch Laham and all the bishops of the Melkite Church.
Pope Francis thanked the patriarch for his service and, especially, for his work to keep the suffering and the needs of the people of Syria in the public eye.
Patriarch Laham had convoked a synod of the Melkite bishops in June 2016, but the meeting was postponed because half the Melkite bishops boycotted the gathering and called for the patriarch’s resignation. One of the main issues of contention was the management of church property, but also leadership styles.
At the time, the patriarch called the bishops’ absence a “case of open rebellion.”
After eight months, the synod met in February at the patriarchate in Rebweh, Lebanon. Afterward, the bishops issued a statement thanking God “for the spirit of reconciliation and renewed commitment to walk together in partnership to restore peace in the church.”
The bishops also scheduled another synod assembly for June.
Between the resignation of Patriarch Laham and the election of a new patriarch by the synod, the church will be administered by the member who has been a bishop the longest, in this case Melkite Archbishop Jean-Clement Jeanbart of Aleppo, Syria, 74.
In a time to build, CatholicPhilly.com connects people and communities
As society emerges from the loss and separation of the pandemic, CatholicPhilly.com works to strengthen the connections between people, families and communities every day by delivering the news people need to know about the Catholic Church, especially in the Philadelphia region, and the world in which we live.
By your donation in any amount, you join in our mission to inform, form in the Catholic faith and inspire the thousands of readers who visit every month.
Here is how you can help:
- A $100 gift allows us to present award-winning photos of Catholic life in our neighborhoods.
- A $50 gift enables us to cover a news event in a local parish, school or Catholic institution.
- A $20 gift lets us obtain solid faith formation resources that can deepen your spirituality and knowledge of the faith.
- A small, automated monthly donation means you can support us continually and easily.
Won't you consider making a gift today?
Please join in the church's vital mission of communications by offering a gift in whatever amount that you can ― a single gift of $40, $50, $100, or more, or a monthly donation. Your gift will strengthen the fabric of our entire Catholic community.
Make your donation by credit card here:
Or make your donation by check:
222 N. 17th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103