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(15 December 2011)

The three Patriarchs – H. B. Ignatius IV (Hazim), Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch and All the East, H. H. Mar Ignatius Zakka I (Iwas), Syriac Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch and All the East, and H. B. Gregorios III (Laham), Melkite Greek Catholic Patriarch of Antioch and All the East, of Alexandria and Jerusalem – met at the Monastery of Saint Ephraim the Syrian at Ma’arrat-Saydnaya, on the morning of Thursday, 15 December 2011, and examined together what is going on in our beloved homeland, Syria, namely, the events that have been raging now for nine months.

They examined these events and their after-effects on the country and among the faithful: tragedies and sufferings on several levels. They expressed their deep pain at what has happened, and their sadness for the victims who have been killed, as well as their fear about the deterioration of the economic situation. They expressed their fervent wish for Syria’s wounds to be healed, for reconciliation among its people in love, tolerance, co-operation and wisdom, and for them to prefer the homeland’s welfare to any other interest, returning to their roots, heritage, conscience, trust in mutual exchange and in solving their problems by themselves.

The Patriarchs rejected any kind of foreign intervention from any source, and asked for the lifting of sanctions on Syria imposed upon whatever pretext.

Similarly, they rejected recourse to violence of any form whatever, and called for peace and reconciliation of everyone in the name of God and country. They encouraged the reforms and positive steps promulgated by the government, by appealing to respect for the principles of justice, freedom, human dignity, social justice and the rights of fellow-citizens.

Finally, they prayed fervently to Almighty God for him to have mercy on the slain, comfort the hearts of the afflicted, protect Syria and its leaders and guide them to a safe haven, peace, sovereignty and prosperity, and for them to ask everyone’s participation in unceasing prayer, and not to allow fear to take hold of anyone or for a hair of our heads to be touched save by the leave of God, our heavenly Father, as our Lord Christ taught us.     

As we are in the period of preparation for the glorious Feast of the Nativity, we send to all our sons and daughters and to our fellow-citizens our cordial good wishes, asking our Lord Jesus, the pre-eternal God, become man for our salvation, to fill our hearts with the joy and peace heralded by the angels on the glorious night of Christmas, at the intercession of the Mother of God, the Ever-Virgin Mary, and of all the saints.      

+ Ignatius Zakka I Iwas
Syriac Orthodox Patriarch

+ Ignace IV Hazim
Greek Orthodox Patriarch

+ Gregorios III Laham
Melkite Greek Catholic Patriarch

Saydnaya, 15 December 2011