Patriarch Gregorios with Archbishop ChrysostomosDamascus, 20090505 - Archbishop Chrysostomos II of Nova Justiniana and All Cyprus, accompanied by an episcopal delegation, has been visiting Damascus in this Year of Saint Paul, in the footsteps of the Apostle Paul, as guest of the Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch. He also visited the Greek Catholic Patriarch on Sunday, 3 May.

At 5pm., Archbishop Chrysostomos and his companion bishops were received by Patriarch Gregorios III, together with his Patriarchal Vicar, Bishop Joseph (Absi), the Papal Nuncio, Archbishop Mario Zenari and all Catholic bishops in Damascus, first in the Cathedral of the Dormition of the Mother of God. There, Archbishop Chrysostomos and his delegation were showered with flowers by a wedding party, and escorted by a Scout group and the choir singing Resurrection hymns. Patriarch Gregorios then invited his guest to enter the sanctuary to venerate the Gospel Book, which Archbishop Chrysostomos was pleased to do. The choir then sang “Many Years” for the Archbishop. Afterwards Archbishop Chrysostomos and his party made a tour of the Patriarchate where, in the Reception Hall, Patriarch Gregorios addressed his visitors, alluding to the fact that Saul made his first missionary journey to Paphos, (formerly the metropolitan see of Cyprus’ Archbishop) as we learn from the thirteenth chapter of the Acts of the Apostles (Acts 13: 6-12.) It was also in Paphos that Saul became known as Paul, after encountering the deputy, Sergius Paulus, who “believed, being astonished at the doctrine of the Lord.” In reply, Archbishop Chrysostomos expressed himself very happy with the warmth and sincerity of his welcome at the Melkite Greek Catholic Cathedral in Damascus. He spoke of the importance of the role of Saint Barnabas, Cyprus’ patron and companion of Paul. Patriarch Gregorios presented his distinguished guest and brother hierarch with a complete set of the Liturgical Books in Arabic and Greek, which are the fruit of his own years of service as head of the Patriarchal Commission for Liturgy. For his part, Archbishop Chrysostomos presented a plate with the emblem of an imperial eagle.

Group PhotoEarlier on Sunday, Archbishop Chrysostomos and his delegation had concelebrated the Divine Liturgy with Orthodox Patriarch Ignatios IV (Hazim.) Afterwards, Patriarch Ignatios hosted a lunch for eighty at his patriarchal residence. Patriarch Gregorios III was pleased to accept an invitation from Patriarch Ignatios on this occasion.

Sunday’s visit of Archbishop Chrysostomos ended with a dinner in his honour, hosted by the Ambassador of Cyprus, Mr. Efstathios Orphanides, at which Patriarch Gregorios III was among the many distinguished clerical guests, both Christian and Muslim.

Story: Valerie Chamberlain

Teachings of Christ

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” (Matthew 5:43-44 ESV)

Christ is Born!

Your Nativity, O Christ our God, * has dawned upon the world the light of knowledge. * for through it, those who served the stars * were taught by a star to worship You, the Sun of Righteousness * and to know You, the Dawn from on high. * Glory to You, O Lord! (Troparion, Tone 4)

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever and to the ages of ages. Amen.

Today the Virgin gives birth to the Transcendent One, * and the earth offers a cave to the Unapproachable One. * Angels and shepherds sing His glory; * Wise Men journey with a star * for there is born for us an infant Child, the God Who is before all ages. (Kontakion, Tone 3)

Random Proverb

"My son, do not lose sight of these — keep sound wisdom and discretion, and they will be life for your soul." (Proverbs 3:21,22a ESV)

Pray Without Ceasing

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

Wisdom from the Church Fathers

Let us go forward with the heart completely attentive and the soul fully conscious. For if attentiveness and prayer are daily joined together, they become like Elias' fire-bearing chariot, raising us to heaven. What do I mean? A spiritual heaven, with sun, moon and stars, is formed in the blessed heart of one who has reach a state of watchfulness, or who strives to attain it.

St. Philotheus of Sinai