http://actualidadereligiosa.blogspot.pt - This is a full transcript, in the original English, of my interview with His Beatitude Patriarch Ignatius Joseph III, of the Syriac Catholic Church.

What brings you to Portugal?
This is my first visit to Portugal. I have wanted to make such a pilgrimage to Our Lady of Fátima for several years. We organised this trip for prayer, to pray to her for peace in the Middle East. I did the same thing three years ago when I organised another pilgrimage to Lourdes, in France. So it is a trip of hope, of renewed veneration to the Mother of the Lord, the Virgin Mary, whom we venerate very much in the East.
 
Is devotion to Our Lady of Fátima widespread among the faithful in your church?
Not really, not as much as to Our Lady of Lourdes, but we will work on it. We are finishing the first church dedicated to Our Lady of Fátima in Lebanon. Actually we, the Syriac Catholic Church, have also the first church dedicated to Our Lady of Fátima in Syria, which is in Damascus. It was dedicated four years ago. So we try surely to spread the devotion to Our Lady of Fátima since hers was especially a message of peace, hope, penance and return to the Lord, which we very much appreciate in these times of darkness which surrounds all aspects of life in the Middle East, in particular Syria, Iraq and Lebanon.
 
Five years after the beginning of the war in Syria, how do you assess the current situation?
We are all devastated, especially by this hypocritical agenda of the Western politicians. They don't care for anything besides their own interests. I just read about the visit of the second ranking person in Saudi Arabia, the son of the present King, to France. He was welcomed with tremendous respect by the French President and everybody knows that these kind of relations are based on – it’s very sad to say – a Machiavellian agenda, for the interests of both countries, without thinking about the many infractions and retrograde regime which is not even accepted by the family of civilised nations because of the lack of respect for Human Rights.
 

We are so sad to see that we have been forgotten. Christian minorities have been living in the region for Millennia and we have been forgotten by the so called civilised Western nations. The same ones which pretend to protect the charter of human rights and democracy, equality and religious and civil liberties.

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Teachings of Christ

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’" (Matthew 7:21-23 ESV)

Christ is Born!

Your Nativity, O Christ our God, * has dawned upon the world the light of knowledge. * for through it, those who served the stars * were taught by a star to worship You, the Sun of Righteousness * and to know You, the Dawn from on high. * Glory to You, O Lord! (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.

Today the Virgin gives birth to the Transcendent One, * and the earth offers a cave to the Unapproachable One. * Angels and shepherds sing His glory; * Wise Men journey with a star * for there is born for us an infant Child, the God Who is before all ages. (Kontakion, Tone 3)

Random Proverb

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction. (Proverbs 1:7 ESV)

Pray Without Ceasing

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

Wisdom from the Church Fathers

The perfection of the Christian life -- and I mean that life which is the only one the name of Christ is used to designate -- is that in which we participate not only by our mind and soul but in all the actions of our lives, so that our holiness may be complete, in accordance with the blessing pronounced by Paul, in our 'whole body and soul and spirit' (I Thess. 5:23), constantly guarded from all admixture with evil.

St. Gregory of Nyssa, From Glory to Glory