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

“Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you." (Matthew 6:33 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

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

The work of prayer belongs to the angels, and is, therefore, the special concern of the Church. Every other work, i.e., charity, nursing the brethren, visiting the sick, caring for prisoners, releasing captives, and other similar things, is done by the brethren in love and offered by them to God. Similarly, poverty, fasting, sleeping on the ground, prostrations, vigils, etc., are good and like a sacrifice to God, because they aim to subdue and humble the body so that we may be purified and approach God and become friends of God -- yet these things do not present us directly to God, whereas prayer does so and unites us with Him. A person praying acts towards God like a friend -- conversing, confiding, requesting -- and through this becomes one with our Maker Himself.

St. Symeon of Thessalonica