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

“Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you." (Matthew 6:33 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

"Blessed is the one who finds wisdom, and the one who gets understanding, for the gain from her is better than gain from silver and her profit better than gold." (Proverbs 3:13,14 ESV)

Pray Without Ceasing

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

Wisdom from the Church Fathers

Seek, my child, the nobility of the soul, for it is truth; that of the body is false. Do not seek honor from men, for this injures one; but rather, seek heavenly glory . . . . You are to be sympathetic with all the brethren and help them as much as possible; and, you are to minister to them that are unable or weak. Do not desire to live by another's labors . . . . Never ridicule anyone, and especially when they are in misfortune. When you hear that a certain brother is disorderly, supplicate God to correct his life. Visit and help the sick, and serve the brethren as their servant; so you might be a friend of Christ Who, for your sake, became a servant and minister. Always heed, my child, not to fall into temptations. However, if it happens that you should fall, immediately rise up and amend yourself with repentance, and again hasten to prayer. In this manner, live your life, my child, and God shall always come to you and help you in soul and body.

St. Theodora of Alexandria, "The Lives of the Spiritual Mothers: An Orthodox Materikon of Women Monastics and Ascetics