Damascus (Agenzia Fides) - A mortar shell hit the Bab Tuma area on Monday, January 8, in the old city of Damascus where several churches are concentrated, causing massive damage to the Latin Catholic parish of the Conversion of Saint Paul, entrusted to the pastoral care of the Franciscan friars. The side and the roof of the church were damaged, the windows were broken and the systems used to heat the parish were also damaged. The mortar shells also caused damage to the adjacent Maronite cathedral, built in 1865.
The Archeparchy of Damascus of the Maronites, led by Archbishop Samir Nassar, counted over 20,000 baptized in 2013.

The mortar shells launched against the Old City of Damascus represent yet another confirmation that the conflict in Syria is still ongoing and continues to affect even peripheral areas of the capital. In recent days, local sources contacted by Fides confirmed the news of air raids carried out in the eastern suburbs of Damascus, on areas still in the hands of anti-Assad groups. While Syrian official sources report that in the early hours of today, Tuesday, January 9, Israel implemented an attack on Syrian territory with the use of aircraft and missiles, aimed at hitting a Syrian military base near Katifa, eastern suburb of Damascus. (GV) (Agenzia Fides, 9/1/2017)

Teachings of Christ

“Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account." (Matthew 5:11 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

"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

“It is necessary most of all for one who is fasting to curb anger, to accustom himself to meekness and condescension, to have a contrite heart, to repulse impure thoughts and desires, to examine his conscience, to put his mind to the test and to verify what good has been done by us in this or any other week, and which deficiency we have corrected in ourselves in the present week. This is true fasting.”

Saint John Chrysostom