- 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

“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you." (Matthew 7:7,8 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)

Random Proverb

"Take my instruction instead of silver, and knowledge rather than choice gold, for wisdom is better than jewels, and all that you may desire cannot compare with her." (Proverbs 8:10,11 ESV)

Pray Without Ceasing

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

Wisdom from the Church Fathers

Even a pious person is not immune to spiritual sickness if he does not have a wise guide -- either a living person or a spiritual writer. This sickness is called _prelest_, or spiritual delusion, imagining oneself to be near to God and to the realm of the divine and supernatural. Even zealous ascetics in monasteries are sometimes subject to this delusion, but of course, laymen who are zealous in external struggles (podvigi) undergo it much more frequently. Surpassing their acquaintances in struggles of prayer and fasting, they imagine that they are seers of divine visions, or at least of dreams inspired by grace. In every event of their lives, they see special intentional directions from God or their guardian angel. And then they start imagining that they are God's elect, and often try to foretell the future. The Holy Fathers armed themselves against nothing so fiercely as against this sickness -- prelest.

Metropolitan Anthony Khrapovitsky