Liqaa Center - Rabweh (Lebanon) 6/12/2013

The Assembly of the Catholic Hierarchy of Syria, presided over by Patriarch Gregorios III, met in special session with Cardinal Robert Sarah, President of the Vatican’s Cor Unum.

The members of the Synod wished to express their gratitude on this occasion to all those who, over the last two and a half years of the Syrian crisis, have helped the Church in Syria carry out its service of aiding all Syrian citizens and especially Christians, through Caritas Syria and all welfare associations.

Our gratitude goes above all to Pope Francis, the Holy See, Cor Unum and its President, Cardinal Sarah, who have been especially alert to the needs of our Churches and our country.

We thank the episcopal conferences and the various, especially Catholic, charitable organisations, which have helped us through the projects of Caritas Syria, (presided over by Bishop Antoine Audo SJ) which is working in the Assembly’s name.

Many of our eparchies and associations have received assistance from various organisations. Through this statement to the international press, we should like to thank them.

Through this ministry of Christian service, you are helping us fulfil the motto of the Special Assembly for the Middle East of the Synod of Bishops: Communion and Witness. Indeed, we are giving exemplary witness to the evangelical values of love and service, especially to the poorest, after Pope Francis’ example and in accordance with the teachings of the Gospel and the Church.

As bishops and ministers of reconciliation, we are seeking to put an end to this disastrous, tragic war which has caused so much bloodshed! This war has created so many injured and disabled sufferers, refugees and victims and inhumane, tragic situations.

We are praying, and ask everyone to pray, for peace in Syria and throughout the Middle East, cradle of Christianity.
End the war! Stop the violence! Stop the noise of weapons! Let us hear the voice of forgiveness, reconciliation and peace!

We are getting ready for Christmas! Despite our sufferings, we are determined to sing with faith, hope and spiritual strength that hymn first chanted in our land of Palestine, and we invite our friends, partners and the whole world to sing with us,

“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace; goodwill towards men!”


Teachings of Christ

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another." (John 13:34-35 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

Honor the Lord with your wealth and with the firstfruits of all your produce; then your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will be bursting with wine. (Proverbs 3:9,10 ESV)

Pray Without Ceasing

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

Wisdom from the Church Fathers

What, then, are the things which are being prepared for those who wait for Him? The Creator and Father of the ages, the All-holy One, Himself knows their greatness and beauty. Let us then strive to be found among the number of those that wait, that we may receive a share of the promised gifts.

St. Clement of Rome