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 shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” (Matthew 22:37-40 ESV)

Exaltation of the Cross

Save Your people, O Lord, and bless Your inheritance; * grant victory to Your Church over her enemies * and protect Your commonwealth by Your Cross. (Troparion - Tone 1)

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

Willingly lifted up on the Cross, O Christ God, * bestow Your compassions upon the new commonwealth that bears Your name. * By your power grant joy to Your Church, * granting her victory over her enemies. * May she have your Cross as the weapon of peace * and the invincible ensign of victory. (Kontakion - Tone 4)

The Church celebrates the Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross on September 14th.

Random Proverb

"My son, do not forget my teaching, but let your heart keep my commandments, for length of days and years of life and peace they will add to you." (Proverbs 3:1,2 ESV)

Pray Without Ceasing

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

Wisdom from the Church Fathers

Our distresses are notorious, even though we leave them untold, for now their sound has gone out into all the world. The doctrines of the Fathers are despised; apostolic traditions are set at nought; the devices of innovators are in vogue in the Churches; now men are rather contrivers of cunning systems than theologians; the wisdom of this world wins the highest prizes and has rejected the glory of the cross. Shepherds are banished, and in their places are introduced grievous wolves hurrying the flock of Christ. Houses of prayer have none to assemble in them; desert places are full of lamenting crowds. The elders lament when they compare the present with the past. The younger are yet more to be compassionated, for they do not know of what they have been deprived. All this is enough to stir the pity of men who have learnt the love of Christ; but, compared with the actual state of things, words fall very far short....

Saint Basil the Great
(Letter 90)