Annual Ecumenical Christmas Meeting
On 17 December, the annual Ecumenical Meeting of patriarchs, bishops, priests, monks and nuns of all denominations was held at the Melkite Greek Catholic Patriarchate in Damascus: one hundred and twenty persons were present.
After a meditation, Patriarch Gregorios III (who was in fact the only patriarch present) invited all the bishops there to speak to the assembly about Christmas and the current situation. The meeting concluded with prayers for the sixth hour and chants in various liturgical languages.
All were then invited by His Beatitude to an agape meal for Christmas.
Aid to victims’ families
On 18 December Patriarch Gregorios III went to St. Joseph’s Church for a series of meetings.
He honoured the memory of the martyrs from the regions of Damascus, Homs and the Hauran and greeted relatives of sixty-seven victims. His Beatitude then led a prayer service and later presented the relatives with gifts from Aid to the Church in Need.
His Beatitude later met 185 children from Ma’alula and gave them a gift of money.
His Beatitude also met 800 children from the local parish.
Through Aid to the Church in Need and Caritas Poland some three hundred and twenty families of victims and about 5000 children from the regions of Damascus, Homs and the Hauran will be receiving aid.
On 19 December Patriarch Gregorios III met some fifteen handicapped persons at the Patriarchate in Damascus.
Thanks are due to ACN and Caritas Poland from the Christians of Syria, and we are hoping that Christmas may bring peace, joy and love to the hearts of Syria’s people and to their children.
Notes by telephone from Patriarch Gregorios III: