CWN - Maronite bishop in Syria has criticized Western media coverage of the Arab Spring.

“The problem of so many media is that they don’t really grasp real picture of the situation,” Bishop Elias Khoury Sleman of Lattakia told Aid to the Church in Need. “The Arab Spring has been depicted as this clear push for liberty and democracy—but the actual results in Libya, Egypt, and Yemen, for example, are proving otherwise. In many respects, the West is poorly informed, including its churches, despite good intentions.”

“Right now, in Syria, the story needs to be told that moderate rebels and Islamists have begun fighting each other,” he continued. “The world’s major powers must intervene—now—to stop Syria from tumbling into utter chaos. I am very worried about the situation. Nonetheless, I continue to have hope—call it a foolish hope, if you will. But with God everything is possible.”

“I cannot and will not speak separately of Christians and Muslims,” he added. “We have lived together in Syria for 1400 years. Why can we not manage to live together anymore? That is the big question. We Christians want to stay and moderate Muslims want the same thing. Why do jihadists and fundamentalist Muslims come to Syria, and elsewhere, to insist that this coexistence is no longer possible?”

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Teachings of Christ

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God." (John 3:16-18 ESV)

Encounter

Rejoice, O Mother of God, Virgin full of grace. * From you has risen the Sun of Righteousness, Christ our God, * shining upon those who are in darkness. * Rejoice also, you righteous Elder; * for you received in your arms the Deliverer of our souls, * Who has given us resurrection. (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.

O Christ God, through Your birth You sanctified the Virgin's womb; * and blessed, as it was proper, the hands of Simeon. * Now, having come, you saved us. * Give peace to Your commonwealth in times of war * and strengthen our civil authorities, whom You have loved, O You who alone loves mankind. (Kontakion, Tone 1)

(The Feast of the Encounter is February 2nd - the 40th Day of Christmas)

Random Proverb

"My son, do not despise the Lord's discipline or be weary of his reproof, for the Lord reproves him whom he loves, as a father the son in whom he delights." (Proverbs 3:11,12 ESV)

Pray Without Ceasing

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

Wisdom from the Church Fathers

The hour of death will come upon us, it will come, and we shall not escape it. May the prince of this world and of the air (cf. John 14:30; Eph. 2:2) find our misdeeds few and petty when he comes, so that he will not have good grounds for convicting us. Otherwise we shall weep in vain. 'For that servant who knew his lord's will and did not do it as a servant, shall be beaten with many stripes' (cf. Luke 12:47).

St. Hesychius the Priest