March 26, 2009
Protopresbyter Paul O'Callaghan and
The Council of Presbyters of the Diocese
of Wichita and Mid-America
Beloved in Christ,
Greetings and Blessings to you during this holy season of The Great Fast!
We have received and reviewed your letter dated March 17th, 2009 in which you pose fifteen questions related to the February 24th, 2009 decision of the Holy Synod of Antioch regarding the status of all bishops across the Holy See of Antioch. We will try our best to answer these questions as follows:
1. Are there any other diocesan bishops, outside our Archdiocese, that are affected by the Holy Synod's decision?
Answer: Yes. In the Patriarchate there are three bishops, the Bishop of Saydnaya, the Bishop of Qatana, and the Patriarchal Vicar. In addition, the Archdiocese of Akkar had the Bishop of Tartous and the Bishop of Marmarita & Al Hosn. The Bishop of Marmarita & Al Hosn was elected as Metropolitan for the Archdiocese of Western and Central Europe. The Bishop of Tartous was elected to succeed Metropolitan Paul Bendali in the Archdiocese of Akkar. He refused to have either diocesan or auxiliary bishops in his Archdiocese at this time.
2. There seems to be differences in tone and meaning between the Arabic original and the English translations of Articles 77 and 78. Can these be clarified?
Answer: The English translation was my best effort. If someone can produce a more accurate translation, this would be most welcome.
3. What were the intentions of the Holy Synod in formulating these amendments?
Answer: The intention was to have good order and consistency throughout the Holy See of Antioch by normalizing the status of all bishops.