CWN - Concluding a meeting in Dimane, Lebanon, the patriarchs of the Eastern churches in communion with Rome have issued a “prophetic appeal” warning agains a “plan of genocide” that threatens to eliminate the Christian presence in the Middle East.

In their statement the Eastern Catholic prelates urge international leaders to bring an end to the warfare in their region. They encourage Pope Francis to bring world leaders together to plan action to protect the Christians in the Middle East.

Noting the dramatic decline in the Christian presence in their region, the patriarch attribute the flight to both the violence that troubles the Middle East and the deliberate choices of some actors. Of the wars in their region, they say, the “goals are now clear: destruction, killing, exile, boosting terrorist organisations, spreading the spirit of intolerance and conflict between religions and cultures.”

 

The elimination of Christians, the patriarchs say, would be “a human catastrophe, even a defeat for civilisation and an affront to all humanity.”

To their own peole, the Catholics of the Middle East, the patriarchs urged perseverance: "Let us remain rooted in the land of our fathers and ancestors, hoping against every hope in a future in which, as parts of a genuine and specific heritage, we shall be understood as sources of enrichment for our societies and for the universal Church in the East and the West."

The statement was issued by

  • Maronite Catholic Patriarch Bechara Rai,
  • Syriac Catholic Patriarch Ignatius Youssef Younan II,
  • Melkite Catholic Patriarch Joseph Absi,
  • Coptic Catholic Patriarch emeritus Ibrahim Isaac Sidrak,
  • Chaldean Catholic Patriarch Louis Raphael Sako,
  • Armenian Catholic Patriarch Gregory Petros XX, and
  • Bishop William Shomali, representing Archbishop Pierbattista Pizzabella, the apostolic administrator of the Roman Catholic Patriarchate of Jerusalem.
 

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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

"My son, do not forget my teaching, but let your heart keep my commandments, for length of days and years of life and peace they will add to you." (Proverbs 3:1,2 ESV)

Pray Without Ceasing

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

Wisdom from the Church Fathers

If you want, or rather intend, to take a splinter out of another person, then do not hack at it with a stick instead of a lancet, for you will only drive it in deeper. And this is a stick – rude speech and rough gestures. And this is a lancet – tempered instruction and patient reprimand. “Reprove,” says the Apostle, “rebuke, exhort,” but he did not say “beat” (2 Timothy 4:2). And if even this is required, do it rarely, and not with your own hand.

St. John Climacus, “The Ladder of Divine Ascent", Step 8, On Freedom From Anger and On Meekness