The Greek-Melkite Patriarch of Antioch, Grégoire III, has warned his bishops of some alarming statistics about the toll being taken on the Lebanese, particularly the nation's Christians.

"According to a recent survey, 60% of the Lebanese are considering the idea of emigrating, and 35% of them are actually waiting for a visa," the Patriarch stated yesterday during his opening remarks for the annual assembly of the Greek-Melkite Synod, reported Fides.

The meeting of the Greek-Melkite bishops, taking place at the patriarchal summer residence in Ain Trez, Lebanon, is including discussions of the family and emergency situations experienced by communities in Syria. The Patriarch reflected how the mayhem plaguing the Middle East is forcing populations to flee to other areas of the world.

Turning to the survey's data, the Greek-Melkite Church's primate highlighted that when one looks at those Lebanese who potentially will emigrate, the majority are Christians.

"If this is the case for Lebanon," the Patriarch said, “what will happen in countries with less stability?" 

"It is necessary to operate in every way possible to try to stop this bleeding," he stressed.

The Synod of the Maronite Church's annual assembly also began yesterday at the Patriarchal See of Bkerke. Patriarch of Antioch of the Maronites, Boutros Bechara Rai, is presiding over the assembly whose participants will examine the status of religious courts and their service regarding marital crisis, theological teaching in ecclesiastical institutions, the work of the missions and the Maronite dioceses out of Lebanese territory, in the Diaspora.

While together, the Maronite Bishops prayed for an end to war through the diplomatic channels in Syria, Iraq, and Yemen and for peace in the Holy Land and throughout the Middle East.