CWN - Sharply criticizing nations that support the Syrian rebels, 50,000 residents of historic Christian villages in Syria have applied for dual Russian citizenship, according to the Russian news agency Interfax.

“We are scared of the conspiracy of the West and hateful fanatics who are waging a brutal war against our country,” according to the residents’ appeal, as reported by Interfax.

“It is for the first time since the Nativity of Christ that we Christians of Qalamoun living in the villages of Saidnaya, Maara Saidnaya, Maaloula and Maaroun are under threat of banishment from our land,” the appeal continued. “We prefer death to exile and life in refugee camps, and so we will defend our land, honor and faith, and will not leave the land on which Christ walked.”

“The Christians of Qalamoun believe that the purpose of the Western-backed terrorists is to eliminate our presence in what is our native land, and with some of the most revolting methods as well, including savage murders of ordinary people,” they added. “We see the Russian Federation as a powerful factor of global peace and stability. Russia pursues a firm line in the defense of Syria, its people and its territorial integrity.”

An official of the Russian Orthodox Church said that the appeal “vividly indicates Russia's high authority in the Middle East, especially among the Christian minorities living there.”

“Their move was guided by the intention to stress that ‘the Christians of the East have known for centuries that no other country would take care of their interests better than Russia,’” added Archpriest Nikolay Balashov, deputy head of the Moscow Patriarchate’s External Church Relations Department. “It is not a secret that it is a great honor for me, as a Russian citizen and the Qalamoun residents’ brother in faith, to hear that.”


Teachings of Christ

“The Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Mark 10:45 ESV)

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

"Go to the ant, O sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise. Without having any chief, officer, or ruler, she prepares her bread in summer and gathers her food in harvest." (Proverbs 6:6-8 ESV)

Pray Without Ceasing

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

Wisdom from the Church Fathers

"And when his eyes were opened, he saw nothing. And for three days he could not see." (Acts 9:9)

By no means would he [Saul] have been able to see well again unless he had first been fully blinded. Also, when he had rejected his own wisdom, which was confusing him, he could commit himself totally to faith. Since he had not believed that the Lord had conquered death by rising on the third day, he was now taught by his own experience of the replacement of three days of darkness by the return of the light.

Commentary on the Acts of the Apostles from the Venerable Bede