Damascus
Great and Holy Friday 29/03/2013


Most Holy Father

This letter comes to you on Good Friday, called Great and Holy in our Eastern tradition, while you are celebrating the first Way of the Cross of your pontificate, as Bishop of the Church of Rome that presides in charity!

I am writing this letter in Damascus, whilst experiencing a harsh, bloody, painful, long Way of the Cross stretching over all Syria’s roads and that all Syrians have been experiencing and living for more than two years now!

Like Jesus, who fell three times under the weight of the Holy Cross, and whom Simon of Cyrene was fetched to help, we too need a Simon, and even more Jesus, to bear the Cross with us and to bring to an end without delay our harsh way of the cross, by enabling it to reach the joyful goal of the Resurrection!

 

Holiness! You are Simon, you are Jesus’ Vicar! We turn to you as we need your help! Syria is imploring you! All our faithful, indeed all Syrian citizens are counting on Your Holiness, expecting an initiative from Your Holiness, the Vatican, the Catholic Church, the world’s billion and a quarter Catholics! an initiative that would set out a roadmap to bring the crisis to an end, stop the build-up of weapons,  violence, terror, hostage-taking, ransoms, chaos and death!..

That is the way of reconciliation, forgiveness, dialogue, security, brotherhood, mutual help and peace.
Your help is infinitely precious to us all and to all the peoples of the Middle East; because the Syrian crisis has begun to affect neighbouring countries, especially Lebanon, as well as Palestine, Iraq, Jordan and Egypt – the whole Middle East in fact.

We are awaiting an initiative from Your Holiness, a gesture and a word like Jesus’ “Misereor!” For us you are a Saint Francis, friend of the poor, a Simon or a Good Samaritan! You are the Holy Father, our Holy Father!
Thank you, Holy Father! We are praying for you as you asked! We pray for our risen Saviour to help you bring joy, enthusiasm and hope of the Resurrection through your sacred Petrine ministry.
                                                               
+ Gregorios III

Patriarch of Antioch and All the East
Of Alexandria and of Jerusalem
President of the Assembly of Catholic Hierarchy in Syria


Teachings of Christ

“I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. (John 14:6 ESV)

Entrance of the Mother of God into the Temple

Today is the prelude of the goodwill of God * and the heralding of the salvation of mankind; * the Virgin appears clearly in the temple of God * and foretells Christ to all. * Let us also with a mighty voice cry out to her: * “Rejoice, O Fulfillment of the Creator’s divine plan.” (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.

The most pure Temple of the Savior, * the most precious Bridal-Chamber and Virgin, the sacred Treasury of the glory of God, * is brought today into the house of the Lord, * bringing with her the grace that is in the Divine Spirit. * The angels of God praise her in song: * “She is the heavenly tabernacle.” (Kontakion - Tone 4)

(November 21st)

Random Proverb

"My son, do not despise the Lord's discipline or be weary of his reproof, for the Lord reproves him whom he loves, as a father the son in whom he delights." (Proverbs 3:11,12 ESV)

Pray Without Ceasing

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

Wisdom from the Church Fathers

The Holy Eucharist is the first, most important, and greatest miracle of Christ. All the other Gospel miracles are secondary. How could we not call the greatest miracle the fact that simple bread and wine were once transformed by the Lord into His very Body and His very Blood, and then have continued to be transformed for nearly two thousand years by the prayers of priests, who are but simple human beings? And what is more, this mystery has continued to effect a miraculous change in those people who communicate of the Divine Mysteries with faith and humility. 

St. Ambrose of Optina