Prot. 408/2013D
Damascus
29 August 2013

When we disseminated His Holiness Pope Francis’ call for peace in Syria, made after the recitation of the Angelus on Sunday, 25 August, we added some personal comments, expressing our gratitude and that of Syria for his heartfelt appeal.

We read with interest the remarks of our friend Archbishop Silvano Maria Tomasi, the Holy See’s permanent observer to the United Nations in Geneva. Speaking on Radio Vatican on 22 August, he expressed his views on the use of chemical weapons in Syria.

Archbishop Tomasi warned against rushing to pass judgment about which side may be using chemical weapons, without clear and compelling evidence. That was the responsibility of the UN monitors mandated to work in Syria to shed light on the matter.

Archbishop Tomasi emphasised the importance of engaging in dialogue, rather than violence which fuels conflict, and recalled the position of Pope Francis, who stressed that violence cannot lead us to any solution.

“That is why dialogue must begin, so that we can arrive at Geneva II, where representatives of all parts of Syrian society can be present and try to create some kind of transitional government.”

This wise attitude can save the region from further destruction and displacement, disasters and suffering.

We thank His Holiness the Pope and Archbishop Tomasi for these constructive stances. This corresponds to what we have always advocated and still do: that the Holy See should set out a plan specific to the Pope and the Vatican with regard to the Syrian crisis. We have even proposed that there should be a special team at the Vatican focused on dealing round the clock with the Syrian crisis. It would help to provide sound advice and strengthen the Vatican’s influence on global policy with regard to the Syrian crisis and the question of Palestine, which is associated with the Syrian crisis.

We shall remain in contact with the Vatican and the Catholic Episcopal Conferences around the world, in order to support the process of reconciliation, dialogue and understanding for the service of our beloved Syria and the future of all its sons and daughters from all its constituent parts. We have been and will remain one Syrian family, working as one, for a renewed Syria, one country for all its children.

+ Gregorios III

Patriarch of Antioch and All the East,
Of Alexandria and of Jerusalem


Teachings of Christ

“Whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 10:33 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

Honor the Lord with your wealth and with the firstfruits of all your produce; then your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will be bursting with wine. (Proverbs 3:9,10 ESV)

Pray Without Ceasing

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

Wisdom from the Church Fathers

Acts of charity, almsgiving and all the external good works do not suppress the arrogance of the heart; but noetic meditation, the labor of repentance, contrition and humility -- these humble the proud mind.

Elder Joseph the Hesychast