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Ain-Traz, Synods of


Ain-Traz is the summer residence of the Melchite patriarch of Antioch when he is in Lebanon. This residence was purchased in 1811 by Patriarch Agapios Matar to be used as a seminary for married priests. It is here that the Melchite patriarch convenes with his bishops to study, discuss, and decide on the major issues concerning their community. In the course of modern Melchite history, two of the synods held at Ain-Traz deserve particular attention.

Ain-Traz Synod I was convoked and presided over by the then newly elected patriarch Maximos Mazloum on Dec. 13, 1835. The canons outlined by this synod relate to the Melchite discipline. They regulate Baptism, Confirmation, the Liturgy of the Presanctified, Confession, Extreme Unction, Holy Orders, Matrimony, communication in sacris, the holy days of obligation, the clergy (garb, commerce, residence, catechism, exercise of medicine, inheritance), the religious (garb, exclaustration), pastoral visits of the bishops, alms to the seminary of Ain-Traz, charitable foundations, fast and abstinence, pilgrimages to different churches, usury, etc. The Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith confirmed in forma generali the 25 canons listed above with few modifications of the text submitted. In this manner the Melchite discipline, outlined at the Synod of Saint-Sauveur in 1790 and reaffirmed at the Synod of Qarqafee in 1806, received the official stamp of the Church on Jan. 13, 1838.

While the Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith was studying the acts of this synod, Patriarch Maximos Mazloum received a diploma from the sultan in Constantinople recognizing him as the sole civil leader of all the Melchites in the Turkish Empire, and from the Holy See in Rome, the right to add to his title the words "Alexandria and Jerusalem." As a result, his jurisdiction was extended to encompass the territories of the old patriarchates of the East.

Ain-Traz Synod II was called by Patriarch Cyril Jehunla and was held from May 30 to July 8, 1909. The acts are not printed. It is certain, however, that they have served as fontes to the modern codification of the Eastern Churches as it concerns the Melchite congregation.

Besides these two official synods, each successive patriarch meets regularly with his bishops at Ain-Traz to discuss current events. Their directives are printed in the major publications of the community, mainly Al Masarrat, published by the Paulist Fathers at Harrissa; Ar Risalat Al Muh alisiat, published by the Salvatorian Fathers at Saida; and Le Lien, published by the Patriarchal clergy in Cairo.

Bibliography: c. j. von hefele, Histoire des conciles d'après les documents originaux, tr. and continued by h. leclercq, 10 v. in 19 (Paris 190738) 11:339379. j. chammas, ulasat arî al-Kanîsat al-Malakîyat, 3 v. (Sidon, Leb. 1952) 3:185.

[l. malouf]

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