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(from ONE magazine May 2010)

Diversity of Eastern Churches
Posted: 21 May 2010

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Patriarchs Gregory III and Ignatius Zakka I greet Archbishop Brunett of Seattle.  (photo: Gabriel Delmonaco) 

The participants encountered the rich diversity of the Eastern churches and the exceptionally warm ecumenical climate, meeting the five patriarchs of Antioch and all the East — all successors of the Apostle Peter, who directed the life of the church there before settling in Rome.

Though Antioch is now a city in Turkey of about 200,000 people, over 7,000,000 Christians around the world can trace their faith to the city where the followers of Christ “were first called Christians.”

The Antiochene Christian communities in Lebanon and Syria, commented Archbishop Dolan, “may be tiny numerically; they are indeed confronting towering problems; they certainly can chart their Christian lineage back to Peter and Paul; but they are not relics! They are not museum pieces! The church is young and alive!”

The delegation was received by each of the patriarchs of Antioch: Greek Orthodox Ignatius IV, Melkite Greek Catholic Gregory III, Syriac Orthodox Ignatius Zakka I, Syriac Catholic Ignace Youssef III and Maronite Nasrallah Peter Cardinal Sfeir. The group also visited Armenian Catholic Patriarch Nerses Bedros XIX.