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

'Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day." (John 6:53-54 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

Honor the Lord with your wealth and with the firstfruits of all your produce; then your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will be bursting with wine. (Proverbs 3:9,10 ESV)

Pray Without Ceasing

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

Wisdom from the Church Fathers

The Seraph could not touch the fire's coal with his fingers, but just brought it close to Isaiah's mouth: the Seraph did not hold it, Isaiah did not consume it, but us our Lord has allowed to do both. 

St. Ephraim the Syrian