L’Ĺ’uvre d’Orient writes that today marks a significant anniversary for the Melkite Church viz. communion with the Church of Rome.

Today marks 300 years since the Melkite Greek Catholic Church restored its union with Rome.

The Melkites, historically linked to three patriarchs – Antioch, Alexandria and Jerusalem – are Christians of the Byzantine rite. Unlike other churches in the region that support monophysism (Coptic, Syrian), they remain faithful to the doctrine defined by the Chalcedonian Council in 451. After the failure of the attempt to reunite with Rome at the Ecumenical Council of Florence in 1439, two tendencies emerge: either in favor of Constantinople, be in favour of Rome.

In 1724, at the death of Patriarch Athanasios III Dabbas, a double line of patriarchs was established, one Orthodox, the other Catholic recognized by Rome a few years later. The head of the Melkite Catholic Church, His Beatitude Youssef Absi holds the title of Patriarch of Antioch and the Whole East, from Alexandria and Jerusalem. He lives in Damascus and leads about two million followers including the diaspora.

His Grace Jean Yazigi is the Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch.

Three other Orthodox patriarchs exist in the East: Alexandria, Constantinople and Jerusalem brings together nearly 14 million believers.