Catholic World News

Melkite patriarch resigns

May 08, 2017

Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Patriarch Gregory III Laham, the head of the Melkite Greek Catholic Church since 2000.

The patriarch, 83, presented his resignation to the Pope in February.

“After careful prayer and reflection, I consider it opportune and necessary for the good of the Greek Melkite Church to accept his resignation today,” the Pope said in a May 6 letter, adding:

In thanking His Beatitude, a zealous servant of the People of God, for his years of generous service to his Church and for keeping the attention of the international community focused on the tragedy of Syria, I invoke upon you all the intercession of the Holy Mother of God and willingly give my apostolic blessing to our dear Greek Melkite Church as a sign of grace and encouragement for the future of communion and witness of the Gospel.

The Damascus-based Eastern Catholic church, which has over 1.3 million members, will be governed by its senior bishop, Archbishop Jean-Clément Jeanbart, until a synod chooses a new patriarch.

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