Met. Georges Khodr is the official observer for the Patriarchate of Antioch at the Catholic Synod of Bishops for the Middle East. This is the summary of his intervention that was published on the Vatican website. English version from here.
- H. Em. Georges KHODRE, Greek-Orthodox Metropolitan of Byblos, Botrys and Mount Lebanon (LEBANON)
“This communion within the Universal Church is manifested in two ways: firstly, communion in the Eucharist; secondly, communion with the Bishop of Rome”.
The ambiguity of this statement rotates around the use of the term Catholic Church as well as the tie of the Eucharist with the Pope. Now, the expression begins with Saint Ignatius of Antioch, and designates communion in a local Church united in Orthodox faith to his bishop in such a way that the liturgy mentions him without referring to another ecclesial authority. The mention of the Bishop of Rome in the liturgy outside of one’s own diocese introduces the idea of a universal Church mentioned in the Instrumentum laboris and repeated in the inaugural Mass of this synod. The word introduces a numeric, spacial, sociological note while the Catholic Church is constituted herself first locally by Lord as His Body. Does not the Universal Church have as her corollary the existence of a universal bishop who would exercise a jurisdiction over a world independently of the Eucharist, the only sign of communion between Christians? It is the Eucharist that makes us everywhere a “chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation”.
In mentioning the Pope of Rome in the Eastern liturgies we are inviting the Churches to a practice the East has never known.