Deisis (Novogorod)

Patriarch Gregorios III: No to foreign military intervention in Syria

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

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” (Matthew 5:43-44 ESV)

Transfiguration

You were transfigured on the mountain, O Christ God, * showing Your glory to Your Disciples as far as they were able to bear it. * Through the prayers of the Mother of God, * let Your everlasting Light shine also upon us sinners. * O Giver of Light, glory to You! (Troparion, Tone 7)

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

Upon the mountain You were transfigured, O Christ God, * and Your Disciples beheld Your glory as far as they could receive it, * so that when they would see You crucified, * they would understand that You suffered willingly; * and they would preach to the world * that You are truly the radiance of the Father. (Kontakion, Tone 7)

Dormition

O Mother of God, in giving birth you preserved virginity; * and in falling asleep you did not forsake the world. * You are the Mother of Life and have been transferred to life, * and through your prayers you deliver our souls from death. (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.

Neither the tomb nor death could detain the Mother of God, * who is unsleeping in her prayers and our unfailing hope in her intercession; * for He Who dwelt in her ever-virgin womb, * transferred to Life the Mother of Life. (Kontakion - Tone 2)

Random Proverb

"My son, be attentive to my wisdom; incline your ear to my understanding, that you may keep discretion, and your lips may guard knowledge." (Proverbs 5:1,2 ESV)

Pray Without Ceasing

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

Wisdom from the Church Fathers

“The legalization of the termination of pregnancy is none other than the authorization given to an adult, with the approval of an established law, to take the lives of children yet unborn and thus incapable of defending themselves. It is difficult to imagine a more unjust situation, and it is very difficult to speak of obsession in a matter such as this, where we are dealing with a fundamental imperative of every good conscience — the defense of the right to life of an innocent and defenseless human being.”

- Saint John Paul II