Damascus (Agenzia Fides) - Christians in Syria are "no guests or migratory birds". They "are part of the origin of the nation, and without them there is no pluralistic Syria". This is what Syrian President Bashar Assad said on Sunday, September 17, to a large delegation of participants in a room of the Damascus Hall at the annual youth gathering organized by the Syriac Orthodox Church. Responding to the questions posed by some of the young people present, the Syrian leader highlighted the failed attempts of the "extremists" of striking Syrian Christians in order to expel them from the Country, arguing that this operation was part of a larger design aimed at "dividing the region in sectarian States to justify the existence of the Jewish State".

During the meeting with young Christians, President Assad was accompanied by Syriac Orthodox Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II. Three Bishops and numerous monks and priests of the Syriac Orthodox Church also took part in the gathering.

Recently Assad has repeatedly shown his closeness to senior Syriac Orthodox Church leaders. At the beginning of September, as reported by Agenzia Fides (see Fides 8/9/2017), the Syrian President also carried out a visit to the temporary seat of the Syriac Orthodox monastery of the Holy Cross, under construction, in the town of Saydnaya, accompanied by his wife Asma and other family members. On that occasion, Assad and his wife, accompanied by Patriarch Ignatius Aphrem, also met the children housed in the "Small Angel House", an orphanage supported by the Syriac Orthodox Church, and had lunch with them and with the monks and the nuns of the monastery. (GV) (Agenzia Fides, 18/9/2017)


Teachings of Christ

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another." (John 13:34-35 ESV)

Encounter

Rejoice, O Mother of God, Virgin full of grace. * From you has risen the Sun of Righteousness, Christ our God, * shining upon those who are in darkness. * Rejoice also, you righteous Elder; * for you received in your arms the Deliverer of our souls, * Who has given us resurrection. (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.

O Christ God, through Your birth You sanctified the Virgin's womb; * and blessed, as it was proper, the hands of Simeon. * Now, having come, you saved us. * Give peace to Your commonwealth in times of war * and strengthen our civil authorities, whom You have loved, O You who alone loves mankind. (Kontakion, Tone 1)

(The Feast of the Encounter is February 2nd - the 40th Day of Christmas)

Random Proverb

"One gives freely, yet grows all the richer; another withholds what he should give, and only suffers want." (Proverbs 11:24 ESV)

Pray Without Ceasing

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

Wisdom from the Church Fathers

Good and God-loving men accuse people of something bad when they are present, but when they are absent they not only refrain from accusing them, but do not permit others to do so when they attempt to speak of them.

From St. Anthony the Great (170 Texts on Saintly Life no. 30) REF: Fr. Seraphim Rose, "Letters"