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Nevertheless, the two churches, led by their patriarchs, continue to work together, seemingly functioning as one body, particularly in the Middle East. Last year, in the Damascus suburb of Doumar, both patriarchs consecrated the Church of Sts. Peter and Paul, a large edifice built by members of both communities that each now share as the center of their community. Plans are already in the works for future shared facilities.

“Reconciliation must be made concerning our history, our tradition and our liturgical rites,” Patriarch Gregory III said during his opening speech to the Melkite Greek Catholic synod of bishops held last June in Lebanon. “The only means through which we can strengthen the Christian presence in the Middle East,” he continued, “is the universal call toward the Lord’s supper.”

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Michael La Civita is the executive editor of ONE magazine.

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Tags: Melkite Greek Catholic Church Maronite Church Church of Antioch