Deisis (Novogorod)

From His Beatitude Patriarch Gregorios III on the eve of the Geneva 2 Conference

Prot. 16/2014C - Cairo, 14/01/2014

On the occasion of the holding of the Geneva 2 Conference for peace in Syria, as president of the Assembly of Catholic Hierarchs in Syria, I have just written a prayer appeal for that Conference’s success.

Now I should like to express my good wishes for the success of that Conference, together with the following considerations.

1- Prayers will be raised in every home in Syria for the success of the Geneva 2 Conference, for the peace that comes from Jesus Christ, Prince of Peace. Peace is one of God’s names in the Qur’an. Peace is the programme of the Christmas Feast for all humanity: “Glory to God in the highest! On earth peace, good will towards men!” That could really be a good programme for Geneva 2.

2- We pray for genuine reconciliation among all Syrians at Geneva 2, not only for security arrangements and much needed humanitarian aid, but also for a much needed human, cordial, national, really Syrian reconciliation of faith, which is crucial to the success of Geneva 2.

3- We pray for a united stance at Geneva 2 from the United States of America, the Russian Federation, the European Union, (especially France, Great Britain and Germany) and China and Iran! This western and eastern unity is the warranty for the success of Geneva 2.

4- Such unity will be capable of engendering the Arab unity that is so necessary for Geneva 2’s success! We pray for this unity.

5- This dual international and Arab unity is the warranty for the success of Geneva 2 and is the real way to halt the influx of weapons to the armed foreign groups in Syria and to the whole region. Seeking for peace rules out sending weapons, for peace has no need of weapons.

6- We long and pray for the peace to be Syrian, though we are grateful to all those countries who are working for that Syrian peace! Their efforts should be concentrated on obtaining a peace that is really Syrian, for that would be true peace and the best and most suitable for all parties to the conflict and for all Syrians.

7- So the whole of Syria will become a church or sanctuary, with hands uplifted in prayer. This prayer is for all Syrians; praying for all those who are struggling, whatever their political orientation, inclination or adhesion! We are praying for everyone, so that everyone can make ready the way for Geneva 2’s success.

8- Yesterday (13 January) a meeting for the success of this Conference was held at the Vatican.

9- At the initiative of the World Council of Churches, a meeting will be held in Geneva (15-17 January 2014). Together with very many representatives of various Churches from around the world, I shall be taking part. We shall be discussing ideas about the role of the Church at this particular moment in history that is so significant, not only for Syria and the surrounding region, especially Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, the Holy Land, Palestine, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict… but for the whole Middle East and for world peace. We shall pray together, reflect together and then draw up a paper and launch a global appeal in the form of a spiritual, human, universal Christian message, especially to the participants in the Geneva 2 Conference: that will be our way of participating in the Conference.

10- Through this letter and initiative, we should like to highlight especially the role of Syria’s Christians and Churches in working together for peace, reconciliation, love, forgiveness, compassion, affection, solidarity, mutual support… a better future for Syria and the region!

11- Finally, I should also like to address an appeal for prayer for the success of the vote on the new constitution in Egypt, which will be put to the vote on 15 January, just on the eve of Geneva 2. I think that the consent of Egyptians to this constitution would also be an historic event of considerable significance and have an impact on the peace process, freedom, democracy, citizenship, living together, mutual acceptance of one another, mutual respect, Muslim-Christian dialogue, prosperity and progress in all the Arab countries that we love.

Let us pray: God of Peace, Grant peace to our countries!

+Gregorios III

Patriarch of Antioch and All the East
of Alexandria and of Jerusalem


Teachings of Christ

“If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel's will save it. For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul? For what can a man give in return for his soul?" (Mark 8:34-37 ESV)

Lenten Prayer of St. Ephrem

O Lord and Master of my life, drive away from me the spirit of despondency, carelessness, love of power, and idle chatter. (Prostration)

Rather grant to me, Your servant, the spirit of wholeness of being, humility, patience, and love. (Prostration)

Yes, O Lord and King, grant that I may see my own faults and not condemn my brother; for You are blessed to the ages of ages. Amen. (Prostration)

Annunciation

Today is the fountainhead of our salvation, * and the revelation of an eternal mystery: * The Son of God becomes the Son of a Virgin, * and Gabriel announces the good news of grace. * Therefore, let us also cry with him to the Mother of God: * "Rejoice, O Full of Grace, the Lord is with you!” (Troparion, Tone 4)

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever and to the ages of ages. Amen.

To you, O Mother of God, our leader and defender, * we, your servants, delivered from calamity, offer hymns of victory and thanksgiving. * So you, who have invincible might, * set us free from every peril * that we may cry to you: * "Rejoice, O unwedded Bride!" (Kontakion, Tone 8)

Random Proverb

"The woman Folly is loud; she is seductive and knows nothing." (Proverbs 9:13 ESV)

Pray Without Ceasing

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

Wisdom from the Church Fathers

We believe that the divine presence is everywhere and that "the eyes of the Lord are looking on the good and the evil in every place." But we should believe this especially without any doubt when we are assisting at the Work of God. To that end let us be mindful always of the Prophet's words, "Serve the Lord in fear" and again, "Sing praises wisely" and "In the sight of the Angels I will sing praise to Thee." Let us therefore consider how we ought to conduct ourselves in the sight of the Godhead and of His Angels, and let us take part in the psalmody in such a way that our mind may be in harmony with our voice. 

St. Benedict