Deisis (Novogorod)

Letter to Pope Francis from Patriarch Gregorios III

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

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’" (Matthew 7:21-23 ESV)

Ascension

You ascended in glory, O Christ our God, * granting joy to Your disciples by the promise of the Holy Spirit; * through this blessing they were assured * that You are the Son of God * the Redeemer of the world! (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.

When You fulfilled the divine plan for us * and united things on earth with things in heaven, * you ascended in glory, O Christ our God, * in no way departing from us but remaining inseparable, * and crying out to those who love You: “I am with you, and no one is against you.” (Kontakion, Tone 6)

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

We see the water of a river flowing uninterruptedly and passing away, and all that floats on its surface, rubbish or beams of trees, all pass by. Christian! So does our life. . . I was an infant, and that time has gone. I was an adolescent, and that too has passed. I was a young man, and that too is far behind me. The strong and mature man that I was is no more. My hair turns white, I succumb to age, but that too passes; I approach the end and will go the way of all flesh. I was born in order to die. I die that I may live. Remember me, O Lord, in Thy Kingdom!

St. Tikhon of Voronezh