Saydnaya (Agenzia Fides) - Syrian President Bashar al Assad visited the temporary seat of the Syriac Orthodox monastery of the Holy Cross, under construction, accompanied by his wife Asma and other family members. He was received by Syriac Orthodox Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II together with Metropolita Mor Timotheos, the Syriac Orthodox Vicar of Damascus, and monks of the monastery. The official sources of the Syriac Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch report that President Assad's visit took place "a few days ago" without specifying the date. Assad and his wife, accompanied by the Patriarch, also met the children housed in the "Small Angel House", an orphanage supported by the Syriac Orthodox Church, he had lunch with them and with the monks of the monastery. In this context - inform Syriac Orthodox Church sources - the Patriarch informed the President "about the projects the Patriarchate is carrying out in the region".
In Saydnaya, a small town about 35 km from Damascus, there is also the female Greek Orthodox monastery of the Mother of God, founded in the Justinian era at the site of a Marian apparition, where an ancient Marian icon attributed to Saint Luke is kept. (GV) (Agenzia Fides, 8/9/2017)

Teachings of Christ

“If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’" (John 7:37-38 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)


Today is the fountainhead of our salvation, * and the revelation of an eternal mystery: * The Son of God becomes the Son of a Virgin, * and Gabriel announces the good news of grace. * Therefore, let us also cry with him to the Mother of God: * "Rejoice, O Full of Grace, the Lord is with you!” (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.

To you, O Mother of God, our leader and defender, * we, your servants, delivered from calamity, offer hymns of victory and thanksgiving. * So you, who have invincible might, * set us free from every peril * that we may cry to you: * "Rejoice, O unwedded Bride!" (Kontakion, Tone 8)

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

Guard thyself then, O man; thou hast the signs of Antichrist; and remember them not only thyself, but impart them also freely to all. If thou hast a child according to the flesh, admonish him of this now; if thou hast begotten one through catechizing, put him also on his guard, test he receive the false one as the True. For the mystery of iniquity doth already work. I fear these wars of the nations; I fear the schisms of the Churches; I fear the mutual hatred of the brethren. But enough on this subject; only God forbid that it should be fulfilled in our days; nevertheless, let us be on our guard. And thus much concerning Antichrist.

St. Cyril of Jerusalem, Catechetical Lecture XV