I had the opportunity to interview His Beatitude once again last week, when he was in Portugal. I asked him directly about this issue and he replied the following:You have been criticized by leading figures in your own Church. Several bishops have called for your resignation. Is resignation an option?
I am for the cannon law, which says that the Patriarchal See is vacant upon the death of the Patriarch or by his own resignation. I like to tell my bishops "I love you. Let us love eachother so that we can confess, love, and serve our Church and make it a symbol of testimony for the Lord in this tragic situation for the whole Christian Middle East"Can you imagine a situation where you would resign in the future? Or do you prefer to die in your post, as is traditional among Eastern Patriarchs?
That is up to God. I can't answer you, because I don't have that power. Let's just say that I am here for the service of the Church and the future is in the hands of God.
The full interview, more focused on the current situation in Syria, can be read here: http://actualidadereligiosa.blogspot.pt/2016/10/the-rebels-brought-war-into-peoples.html