February 27, 2013
His Beatitude John X, Patriarch of Antioch and All the East, has prepared an extensive pastoral letter for his flock. It includes sections on Preaching, A Responsible Priesthood, Love and Pastoral Work, The Dialogue of Religions, and much more. The letter opens:
“It is a pleasure to address you through this message, hoping that it conveys to you some of my concerns as to what our Church needs today and what is demanded of each of us. I would like to resort to these words:
“‘In grace we grow, in service we transcend, and in love the structure is strengthened,'” as a motto for my Patriarchate, as God has willed that I will be watching over the Antiochian Church and embracing its children with the help of my brothers the bishops. The Church is the Church of all of us. God has willed that we are in it as brethren, in order to work as one body. I know that many of you complain because they do not hear enough the voice of their Church. They think that it has abandoned them, and that it does not care for their real problems. Others, on the other hand, complain about the fact that many do not care about their Church, and are not interested in its affairs. I understand this complaint, and I am saddened by anyone who would forsake the flock of Christ because of negligence, arrogance, laziness or lack of transparency or care. It is my sincere wish that we should all share equally the responsibility for our Church, as Chrysostom has taught us. We will be responsible for it, if we respect our gifts and if we collaborate in caring for the affairs of our family as a whole.
“For a person to take care of the affairs of his family, he should get acquainted with its situation, and should hope that the family itself knows his concerns and his constraints. We should therefore come up with diverse tools and measures that could make each of us listen to the other, before we start preaching and planning.”
The full text of the letter is available (source).