To our Muslim Fellow-Citizens

15 October 2013

An Appeal for Arab Unity
And Peace Preservation

On the occasion of blessed Eid ul-Adha, I send my cordial good wishes to my Muslim brothers and sisters in Syria, Lebanon and the Arab and Muslim world. I should like this feast to bring the message of peace and an end to crises for our suffering Arab region and for everything to return to normality, since it is our right to experience the feast in peace. Let everyone return to mutual encounter and living in love, friendship and tolerance for one another.

I wish to affirm that God will not abandon us in this tragic situation that our countries are experiencing. Every believer ought to be working for peace, security and reconciliation. All we men and women ought to state unambiguously that we do not want death, killing, war and weapons. We accept neither the destruction of our towns, villages, culture and civilisation nor seeing our citizens killed or forced into homelessness or emigration.

I pray that Almighty God may allow love and openness to win every heart. May the value of the Sacrifice or Redemption, which is the name and meaning of this feast, be the slogan for our joint progress towards peace. We declare once more that peace can only be realised from Jerusalem. Otherwise it is useless to speak of perfect, complete and lasting peace.

To Muslim Arab kings, presidents and leaders I address my sincere good wishes and greetings, praying for this feast to be an opportunity for a meditative pause, prayers and concerted, committed action for the dignity of our countries and citizens, for peace among our nations and for the preservation of the spiritual value of humans.

As a friend, I tell my beloved Muslim friends, especially in Syria and Lebanon, in Arab countries and throughout the world: we ought not to be afraid, because we are children of faith, hope and love. These difficult, dark times will grow lighter. Hearts will regain their God-given calmness. Let us all work to show more solidarity with refugees and displaced persons in order to alleviate their tragedy and pain.

In conclusion, I appeal to the international community and to humanitarian organisations to expend their utmost efforts to bring about peace for nations and enable them to enjoy their independence, respecting their right to determine their own future.

+Gregorios III
Patriarch of Antioch and All the East
Of Alexandria and of Jerusalem


Teachings of Christ

“So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.” (Matthew 7:12 ESV)

Exaltation of the Cross

Save Your people, O Lord, and bless Your inheritance; * grant victory to Your Church over her enemies * and protect Your commonwealth by Your Cross. (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.

Willingly lifted up on the Cross, O Christ God, * bestow Your compassions upon the new commonwealth that bears Your name. * By your power grant joy to Your Church, * granting her victory over her enemies. * May she have your Cross as the weapon of peace * and the invincible ensign of victory. (Kontakion - Tone 4)

The Church celebrates the Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross on September 14th.

Random Proverb

"Blessed is the one who finds wisdom, and the one who gets understanding, for the gain from her is better than gain from silver and her profit better than gold." (Proverbs 3:13,14 ESV)

Pray Without Ceasing

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

Wisdom from the Church Fathers

Even a pious person is not immune to spiritual sickness if he does not have a wise guide -- either a living person or a spiritual writer. This sickness is called _prelest_, or spiritual delusion, imagining oneself to be near to God and to the realm of the divine and supernatural. Even zealous ascetics in monasteries are sometimes subject to this delusion, but of course, laymen who are zealous in external struggles (podvigi) undergo it much more frequently. Surpassing their acquaintances in struggles of prayer and fasting, they imagine that they are seers of divine visions, or at least of dreams inspired by grace. In every event of their lives, they see special intentional directions from God or their guardian angel. And then they start imagining that they are God's elect, and often try to foretell the future. The Holy Fathers armed themselves against nothing so fiercely as against this sickness -- prelest.

Metropolitan Anthony Khrapovitsky