Deisis (Novogorod)

Patriarch Gregorios’ Letter Concerning the Islamist Attack on the Syrian Cathedral in Baghdad

Patriachial Coat of Arms
Rabweh, 8 November 2010

Christian bloodbath
in the Cathedral of our Lady of Deliverance
Baghdad

The carnage which took place on Sunday, November 1, 2010 in the Syrian Catholic Cathedral of our Lady of Deliverance in Baghdad was of an unprecedented cruelty and barbarity. It was an attack capable of undermining the good will of genuine bridge-builders between cultures, brave heroes of inter-religious dialogue, as well as the optimism of the Special Assembly of the Synod of Bishops for the Middle East.

I offer my sincere condolences and the assurance of my prayers and those of our Church to His Beatitude Patriarch Ignace-Joseph III (Younan), to His Eminence Cardinal Emmanuel III (Delly) and to all those who are broken-hearted at this crime.

We know that this criminal act is not the work of authentic Islam, and cannot be based on it. Despite that, we hold Muslims in Iraq and in all Arab countries to be responsible for Christian security, since they have power, and control the army and police force.

We urge Arab countries to study the reality of fundamentalist terrorism and the trends that feed on it. This is a global Islamic responsibility, because showing Islam under that guise is a disfigurement of authentic Islam. The real enemies of Islam and Muslims are neither "Islamophobia" nor "Christian Europe," but rather these fundamentalist organisations and trends.

They are also the enemies of Christianity and of every Christian and Muslim social and human value, whether Arab or not.

Christians are peaceable, patriotic, loyal, faithful to their homeland and countries, tolerant and naturally inclined to forgiveness. But they are not passive, cowardly, timid, any more than they are inclined to be humiliated. They are not sheep, designed to be slaughtered by fundamentalists. Christians are builders of values, nations and cultures, including Islamic culture itself.

If Muslims do nothing to safeguard this creative strain represented by Arab Christians in Iraq and throughout the Middle East, the prosperity and drive of Islamic culture will be in danger of collapse, and Muslims will then be their own worst enemies, enemies of their faith and of their countries.

Dear Muslim and Christian Arab brothers, let us adopt a unifying way of talking and act together to build a better future for all our children and compatriots!

Gregorios III

Patriarch of Antioch and All the East
of Alexandria and of Jerusalem


Teachings of Christ

“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand. I and the Father are one.” (John 10:27-30 ESV)

Lenten Prayer of St. Ephrem

O Lord and Master of my life, drive away from me the spirit of despondency, carelessness, love of power, and idle chatter. (Prostration)

Rather grant to me, Your servant, the spirit of wholeness of being, humility, patience, and love. (Prostration)

Yes, O Lord and King, grant that I may see my own faults and not condemn my brother; for You are blessed to the ages of ages. Amen. (Prostration)

Annunciation

Today is the fountainhead of our salvation, * and the revelation of an eternal mystery: * The Son of God becomes the Son of a Virgin, * and Gabriel announces the good news of grace. * Therefore, let us also cry with him to the Mother of God: * "Rejoice, O Full of Grace, the Lord is with you!” (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.

To you, O Mother of God, our leader and defender, * we, your servants, delivered from calamity, offer hymns of victory and thanksgiving. * So you, who have invincible might, * set us free from every peril * that we may cry to you: * "Rejoice, O unwedded Bride!" (Kontakion, Tone 8)

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

BROTHER: What is purity of soul?

OLD MAN: Remoteness from anger and from the error of the remembrance of evil things, and being weaned from the bitter nature, and reconciliation with our enemies, and peace which is beyond troubling, and simplicity of love which is above this world; with these things is the inner man cleansed, and he puts on Christ and is redeemed.


E. A. Wallis Budge, "The Paradise of the Holy Fathers"