Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby welcomed Melkite Greek Catholic Patriarch Gregorios III to Lambeth Palace on Wednesday last week.
His Beatitude Gregorios III, who is President of the Assembly of Catholic Hierarchs in Syria, was visiting Britain to appeal for reconciliation in Syria and raise awareness of the crisis there.
He was invited to Lambeth Palace by Archbishop Justin, who over a shared meal offered a sign of shared suffering of the Church of England with people in Syria and across the region – and assured His Beatitude of the ongoing bonds between the Anglican and Orthodox churches.
Before the meal, the Archbishop and Patriarch Gregorios prayed for and blessed each other during a Eucharist service.
During their time spent together, the Archbishop assured His Beatitude of the ‘continuing prayers’ of the Church of England for all the persecuted people and churches in the region and for peace in the Middle East.
The Melkite Greek Catholic Church is an Eastern Catholic Church in full communion with the Holy See. It is also one of the members of the Middle East Council of Churches. The Melkites, Byzantine Rite Catholics of mixed Eastern Mediterranean and Greek origin, trace their history to the early Christians of Antioch, Turkey, of the 1st Century AD.
The Patriarch was invited to the UK by Aid to the Church in Need, a Catholic charity supporting persecuted and other suffering Christians around the world.