Melkite Greek Catholic Patriarchate
Ain Traz, Aley, Lebanon

December 2017
Good Wishes for Christmas
and the New Year 2018

Dear Friends

This year’s festive greetings are inspired by my pilgrim visit to the Holy Land in October 2017, after a seventeen-year absence and twenty-six-year service.

You were in my prayers, especially at the Church of the Resurrection and that of the Nativity at Bethlehem and in the other holy places that I visited.

My prayer for you is one of thanks to the Saviour and to you, because you have been my companions along my priestly, episcopal and patriarchal road, through your love, generosity and friendship. Those were fruitful years of service, with projects to the glory of God and for the welfare of my sons and daughters! In reflecting on the course of my priestly, episcopal and patriarchal life (lasting fifty-eight years) I have discovered that projects occurred annually, meaning that there were altogether fifty-eight such!

Thanks to the Saviour and to you for this abundant harvest. God and your love have filled my life with fruitfulness and dedication.

With these feelings, I wish you a Merry Christmas, after my retirement from patriarchal service! Please continue to accompany me with your prayers and love.

I repeat my favourite saying: I love you!

Merry Christmas!
Happy and Holy 2018!

+Gregorios III
Patriarch of Love, Reconciliation and Peace!


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)

Pentecost

Blessed are You, O Christ our God, * Who has shown the fishermen to be all wise, * by sending down to them the Holy Spirit, * and through them You have caught the whole world in Your net. * O Lover of Mankind, glory to You. (Troparion - Tone 8)

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and to the ages of ages. Amen.

When the Most High descended, confusing tongues, * He divided the nations; * but when He distributed the tongues of fire, * He called all to unity; * and, with one voice, * we glorify the Most Holy Spirit. (Kontakion - Tone 8)

Random Proverb

"My son, be attentive to my wisdom; incline your ear to my understanding, that you may keep discretion, and your lips may guard knowledge." (Proverbs 5:1,2 ESV)

Pray Without Ceasing

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

Wisdom from the Church Fathers

Adam, before the fall ... participated in ... divine illumination and resplendence, and because he was truly clothed in a garment of glory he was not naked, nor was he unseemly by reason of his nakedness. He was far more richly adorned than those who now deck themselves out with diadems of gold and brightly sparkling jewels. St. Paul calls this divine illumination and grace our celestial dwelling when he says, 'For this we sigh, yearning to be clothed in our heavenly habitation, since clothed we will not be found naked' (2 Cor. 5:2).

St. Gregory Palamas (Topics of Natural and Theological Science no. 67, The Philokalia Vol. 4 edited by Palmer, Sherrard and Ware; Faber and Faber pg. 377)