Appeal of H.B. Gregorios III
Patriarch of the Melkite Greek Catholic Church
President of the Assembly of the Catholic Hierarchy in Syria

Prot. N° 412 /2013D
Damascus, 30 August 2013


We renew our rejection of any foreign military intervention in the Syrian crisis.

We should like to summarise our remarks over the last few days, made in various interviews on the matter.

The tragic situation that Syria has been experiencing for the last two and a half years is the strongest evidence of the primary importance of seeking the earliest possible peaceful, diplomatic resolution of the crisis.

However, dealing with defining the responsibility of this or that side for tragedies, massacres and the use of chemical weapons, though legitimate, is secondary.

King Solomon said there was “a time of war and a time of peace.” (Ecclesiastes 3: 8) Now is the time to make peace.

That is why, as President of the Assembly of the Catholic Hierarchy in Syria, and as Patriarch of the Melkite Greek Catholic Church, I am adding my voice to all the statements made by most of my brother Eastern Patriarchs, several Episcopal Conferences, the Archbishop of Canterbury, and especially His Holiness Pope Francis and his representative at the United Nations in Geneva, when I state the categorical rejection by Syria’s Catholic Churches, including the Melkite Greek Catholic Church, in Arab countries and those of the expansion, of any foreign intervention in Syria and any attack or intervention of any sort whatsoever.

 

Furthermore, we join the many countries, comprising over half the world’s population, who reject any outside military intervention in Syria.

Our conviction is still sure: no victory through weapons and violence. Violence leads to violence and weapons to other weapons. The parties to the conflict will continue to fight to the bitter end, as they all have an abundance of weapons.     

We wonder how we in Syria have managed to cross the “red line” and fallen into the danger of resorting to chemical weapons.       

The answer is that for the last two and a half years, Eastern and Western countries have not stopped sending weapons, money, military experts, secret service agents and Salafist fundamentalist armed gangs of thugs and criminals, who have fallen on Syria like a destructive new flood, far more dangerous even than destructive chemical weapons, whose use on our Syrian soil we reject on any pretext whatever.

Those above mentioned factors have caused the death of 100,000 victims, the forced displacement of eight million Syrians, the traumatisation of two million children, the destruction of the academic future of millions of school-children and students and the destruction of thousands of villages, not to mention the wrecking of both infrastructure and institutions, widespread chaos, the abduction of thousands of people (men, women and children), rape, extortion of ransom, robberies, assaults on civilians, hatred, enmity, revenge, exacerbation of ethnic and religious conflicts, and that among members of the same country, or sometimes of the same family.

Nevertheless, we hope for a unanimous, global campaign to be orchestrated to prepare seriously and carefully for the Geneva 2 meeting. Contrary to the calls to arms, attacks and military interventions, we enjoy listening to appeals from around the world aimed at creating an atmosphere of reconciliation, dialogue, humanitarian solidarity, hope, forgiveness and finally peace. These are all contributory factors to creating an atmosphere conducive for holding Geneva 2.       

Meanwhile, we are launching a campaign of prayer in our churches, homes, youth movements and confraternities.

So we join in the calls for prayer that have been launched around the world for peace in Syria, as that is the real movement for solidarity with Syria.

We entrust ourselves, with all our faithful and fellow-citizens, to the protection of the Mother of God, the Virgin Mary, Our Lady of Damascus, Queen of Peace and Mother of Jesus, the Prince of Peace, asking them to allow peace to reign again, in our beloved Syria, Palestine, the Middle East and around the world.

+ Gregorios III

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


Teachings of Christ

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God." (Matthew 5:9 ESV)

Saint Nicholas of Myra

The truth of your deeds has revealed you to your flock, * as a rule of faith, an image of meekness, and a teacher of abstinence. * Therefore, you attained the heights through humility, * and riches through poverty. * O Father and Hierarch Nicholas, * pray to Christ God that our souls may be saved. (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.

In Myra, You were shown to be a servant of the sacred things, O Holy Nicholas, * for, fulfilling the Gospel of Christ, you, O Venerable, laid down your life for your people, * and saved the innocent from death. * Therefore, you were sanctified as a great initiate of the grace of God. (Kontakion, Tone 3)

Random Proverb

For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding. (Proverbs 2:6 ESV)

Pray Without Ceasing

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

Wisdom from the Church Fathers

It was said about John the Little that one day he said to his older brother: "I want to be free from care and not to work but to worship God without interruption." And he took his robe off, and went into the desert. After staying there one week, he returned to his brother. And when he knocked at the door, his brother asked without opening it: "Who is it?" He replied: "It's John, your brother." The brother said: "John has become an angel and is not among people anymore." Then he begged and said: "It's me!" But his brother did not open the door and left him there in distress until the next morning. And he finally opened the door and said: "If you are a human being, you have to work again in order to live." Then John repented, saying: "Forgive me, brother, for I was wrong."

Sayings of the Desert Fathers