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

'Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day." (John 6:53-54 ESV)

Exaltation of the Cross

Save Your people, O Lord, and bless Your inheritance; * grant victory to Your Church over her enemies * and protect Your commonwealth by Your Cross. (Troparion - Tone 1)

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

Willingly lifted up on the Cross, O Christ God, * bestow Your compassions upon the new commonwealth that bears Your name. * By your power grant joy to Your Church, * granting her victory over her enemies. * May she have your Cross as the weapon of peace * and the invincible ensign of victory. (Kontakion - Tone 4)

The Church celebrates the Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross on September 14th.

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

If you want, or rather intend, to take a splinter out of another person, then do not hack at it with a stick instead of a lancet, for you will only drive it in deeper. And this is a stick – rude speech and rough gestures. And this is a lancet – tempered instruction and patient reprimand. “Reprove,” says the Apostle, “rebuke, exhort,” but he did not say “beat” (2 Timothy 4:2). And if even this is required, do it rarely, and not with your own hand.

St. John Climacus, “The Ladder of Divine Ascent", Step 8, On Freedom From Anger and On Meekness