By Doreen Abi Raad
Catholic News Service

BEIRUIT (CNS) -- Syrian-born Melkite Catholic Patriarch Gregoire III Laham warned against armed intervention in his country, saying, "It has brought us to the tragedy we are now living in Syria."

Speaking to Catholic News Service by phone Aug. 27 from the patriarchal summer residence in Ain Traz, Lebanon, the patriarch said such a step "would be a tragedy, a tragedy, a tragedy -- for the whole country and the whole Middle East."

"Enough with the intervention," he said.

"It is fueling hatred, fueling criminality, fueling inhumanity, fueling fundamentalism, terrorism -- all these things are the fruit of intervention. Enough!"

"Surely, it will spread like a world war," he said.

The patriarch lamented the U.S. decision to postpone again a meeting with Russia aimed at preparing for a peace conference on Syria.

"The Holy Father was very clear on Aug. 25," the patriarch said, referring to Pope Francis' call for peace in Syria during the Sunday Angelus, when the pontiff said, "It is not clashes, but an ability to meet and to dialogue that offers prospects for a hope of resolving the problems."

"This is the real voice to be heard, and not the voice of weapons and interventions and of warships," Patriarch Laham said.

"Instead of trying to change the (Syrian) government, help the government to change. We are all for change. We are all for reforms. But not in this way, with blood."

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Teachings of Christ

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another." (John 13:34-35 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

"Take my instruction instead of silver, and knowledge rather than choice gold, for wisdom is better than jewels, and all that you may desire cannot compare with her." (Proverbs 8:10,11 ESV)

Pray Without Ceasing

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

Wisdom from the Church Fathers

Why do you increase your bonds? Take hold of your life before your light grows dark and you seek help and do not find it. This life has been given to you for repentance; do not waste it in vain pursuits. 

St. Isaac the Syrian