CWN - Several Catholic Church leaders in Syria beg the US and other Western governments to stop supporting rebel groups, in a Catholic World Report article by Alessandra Nucci.

“Please help us to pull our country back from the abyss of the fundamentalist regime in which they are trying to immerse us,” says Archbishop Jean Clement, the Melike Catholic leader in Aleppo. Church leaders contend that support for rebel groups benefits the cause of Islamic jihadists.

“Just stop selling arms to the terrorists,” pleads Father Mtanios Haddad, a Melkite now serving in Rome. He elaborates: "Three things are needful: stopping the trade of arms from America (destined to the terrorists) closing Saudi Arabia’s wallet (which funds the terrorists) and closing the frontier with Turkey (through which come the terrorists)."

Eastern Catholics fear that Americans (and others in the Western world) have been given an inaccurate understanding of the fighting in Syria. “I think that those who control the information in the West have a political agenda,” complains Chaldean Catholic Bishop Antoine Audo of Aleppo.

Speaking for his Melkite flock, Archbishop Clement says: “The idea that one day a fundamentalist Muslim state might be imposed on their children is an unbearable nightmare to them.” Speaking then to the West, he continues: “This is why we turn to our brethren in the West and pray that they may help us prevent this from happening.”

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Teachings of Christ

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly." (John 10:10 ESV)

Theophany

When You were baptized in the Jordan, O Lord, * worship of the Trinity was revealed, * for the Father's voice bore witness to You, calling You His “beloved Son”, * and the Spirit in the form of a dove confirmed the certainty of these words. * O Christ God, * Who appeared and enlightened the world, glory to You! (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.

You have appeared to the whole world today, * and Your light, O Lord, is signed upon us, * who with knowledge praise You in song: * "You have come, and You have appeared, O Unapproachable Light." (Kontakion, Tone 4)

Theophany is a Greek word meaning "manifestation or appearence of God".

Random Proverb

"The wage of the righteous leads to life, the gain of the wicked to sin." (Proverbs 10:10 ESV)

Pray Without Ceasing

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

Wisdom from the Church Fathers

While the Bridegroom tarried, they slumbered and slept: Give ear, ye prudent, to our Lord's parable, for it is all light. All of them slept, both the foolish and the wise -- Which signifies that the good and the wicked die until the resurrection. The same sleep comes upon the ten of them, which is as much as to say, That death is the same for all creation without distinction. One was the sleep of the wise and of the foolish, For one is death, both of the righteous and of sinners. The good die, as the wise virgins slept; And the bad die, as the foolish also slept. Behold, all creation looketh for the coming of the Bridegroom, Christ, Who cometh at the end with His angels. But since He hath tarried, all generations slumber and sleep with the sleep of death, while looking for when He cometh.

A Homily on the Ten Virgins by Mar Jacob, Bishop of Serugh