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

“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you." (Matthew 7:7,8 ESV)

Resurrection

Christ is risen from the dead * trampling down Death by death, * and to those in the tombs bestowing life! (Troparion)

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

Although You descended into the tomb, O Immortal One, * You destroyed the power of Hades; * You arose as the victor, O Christ God, * proclaiming to the myrrh-bearing women: “Rejoice!” * And granting peace to Your Apostles, * O, You, Who gives resurrection to the fallen. (Kontakion)

Random Proverb

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction. (Proverbs 1:7 ESV)

Pray Without Ceasing

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

Wisdom from the Church Fathers

I pray Thee, compassionate Lord, do not allow me to be condemned because of the unworthy and ungrateful manner in which I contemplate the great mysteries that Thou hast revealed to Thy saints and through them to me, a sinner and Thy unworthy servant. For see, Lord, Thy servant stands before Thee, idle in everything, speechless, as one who is dead; and I do not dare to say anything more or to presumptuously contemplate further. But as always I fall down before Thee, crying from the depths of my soul. . . .

St. Peter of Damascus