Melkite Greek Catholic Church

Of all Eastern Catholics, the Melkites have been the most assertive in questioning the centralizing ecclesiology of Vatican I, even in its Vatican II incarnation. Even before the former Council, Patriarch Germanos Adam (d. 1809) argued the rights of his local Church, and drew accusations of 'Gallicanism'. Patriarch Gregory Yusef II opposed Pastor aeternus, and when compelled to sign the document, added 'preserving all the rights and privileges of the patriarchs'.

Immediately after Vatican II, Melkites almost universally ceased pronouncing the filioque in the Creed, although little pneumatological reflection accompanied the shift; it was more a matter of symbolizing the theological distinctiveness endorsed by Vatican II.

In the area of ethics, Archbishop Joseph Raya, a popularizing theologian, questioned Catholicism's stance on birth control, insisting that married couples should be free to follow their consciences.

Theologians Metropolitan Germanos Adam combined Catholic apologetics, conciliarism and an appreciation for eastern emphases such as the epiclesis. Patriarch Maximos III Mazloum (d. 1855), usually considered the greatest of the patriarchs, also wrote theology. In the twentieth century, J. Nasrallah was prolific in historical theology. Churchmen Elias Zoghby, Peter Medawar and Neophytos Edelby stand out as creative ecclesiologists, along with Orestes Kerame, who prepared many of Patriarch

Maximos IV's electrifying interventions at Vatican II. Georges Habra has published seven volumes (in French) on fundamental theology, exegesis, eschatology and ethics. They are characterized by an application of scriptural and patristic insights to existential questions. Habra is thus the only Eastern Catholic theologian who has ventured beyond a focus on particular questions and historical theology to produce a broad synthesis of more universal significance. The average Eastern Catholic has tended to rely on Roman Catholic thinkers for such syntheses.

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