Nothing tortures me and some priests as parish councils do; they are councils full of wrong mentalities. Some councils work with a peaceful, brotherly and pious spirit. There is a difficulty in applying laws for reasons that differ between a place and another. The law says that you choose the members among the active believers that you find in every Divine Liturgy. However, reality shows that we don’t see all the members of the council participating with us in the Divine service. You can’t know previously who will come to the service and who won’t come. The true issue isn’t to find someone that can control properties and money but to find a person that has the spirit of the Lord.

Being a member in a parish council means that you should commit to the Church in its spiritual sense, and contribute with the priest in attracting believers to the Church at least by being present yourself and by getting your family members to Church. Perhaps the solution is to have classes to choose candidates for parish councils and choose those who have more jealousy towards the Church and a greater knowledge. However, the thought that controls us in every village is choosing the members from different families and finding a balance between large families, but you might not find in every large family or in every house qualified people to fill this position and carry the responsibility. Sometimes you must have disequilibrium in order to have efficient and qualified people to manage the spiritual, administrative, and financial issues that impose their selves in every parish. It’s a pity to tire the Archdiocese by imposing selection from every family.

This was concerning the selection. As for the progress of issues, it is required from all the members to always live through a brotherly spirit in which they respect each other and live in Christ’s peace so that a person doesn’t get controlled by staying attached to his opinion when a fellow member proves him wrong. There is no place in the council to have groups in conflict where you stay with a group and the other in another group and stubbornness enters and a discussion doesn’t happen because it is a “partisanship” discussion or based on prejudice. If no one gives something up for the other and for the sake of the truth and reality, things won’t go in a healthy way. The unity of the group is better than insisting on your opinion. All opinions collide and arguments reply on other arguments, but loyalty is more important than having one opinion and imposing it.

The other thing is to accept to leave the council when its time ends. The form of the council in its nature is not permanent. And this is what the Holy Synod insisted on because it wanted to have what is called in democracy “Authority exchange”.

The wisdom behind changing people is to find an opportunity for the good discerning believer to show his gifts and for the Church to benefit from him. Every person that dies is laid off unless he had great gifts and was unique because the Church loses if it laid him off. Those people are few. You should give the opportunity for the active and giving believer to enter.

Then, the council doesn’t form a reigning family that stays forever. If a member’s position wasn’t renewed when the time of the council ends, this doesn’t mean that we complain from him. The only idea for us is that we should encourage the rising groups that we didn’t know before and discovered later. Leaving the parish council teaches the members humbleness and they should stay in the parish and know what is happening and contribute in thought because many discussed projects are known by people outside the council and once they give their opinion they would be exactly as those in the council.

If you wanted this law to stay active, we should, in God’s grace, increase in piety and in the spirit of peacefulness and we should make issues become smoothly discussed so that we actually become real brothers for each other.

Translated by Mark Najjar

Original Text: “مجلس الرعية أيضًا وأيضًا” –Raiati 21- 25.05.2003