www.churchinneed.org - WITH MEDIA focused on the Syrian regime, aided by Russian planes, killing some 250 people in a rebel-held suburb of Damascus, rebel attacks on the Syrian capital’s Christian neighborhoods go largely unreported. According to a report by Caritas Internationalis, the situation there is critical, as Christian suburbs have been hit by mortar attacks since late January 2018.
Christians are under siege throughout the Middle East and Aid to the Church in Need works to protect them, including in Damascus

“More than 200 mortar shells have hit Damascus’ eastern neighborhoods, causing more than 28 killed and 90 injured,” Caritas has reported. Attacks are ongoing at this writing. Official figures hold that more than 42 people have been seriously injured and that a dozen people have been killed. The actual numbers may be much higher.

Several of the mortars hit very close to the convent that is home to Sister Annie Demerjian. She told us that she and the other residents of the convent narrowly escaped death when a mortar fell but “thanks be to God did not explode.” Otherwise, she and several of the University students, Sister Annie said, “would have been injured or killed.” Sister Annie, who belongs to the congregation of Jesus and Mary, said: “Yesterday [Feb. 21, 2018] was like hell. It was raining bombs. There were so many people injured.”

Caritas reported on a Feb. 8, 2018 attach during which “some 70 mortar shells hit many neighborhoods in Damascus, leaving more than 30 people injured, 5 killed and causing huge material damages to apartments, shops and cars.”

As Caritas further reported: “People in Damascus are very depressed nowadays. They were optimistic in the last few months, and they felt that they had reached the end of war; but they feel now that they are back to zero. Most of the families who are living in the eastern part of the city stopped sending their children to school after the Jan. 22, 2018 attacks. The main streets and squares that are usually very crowded during the day are now almost empty. All the people are very cautious in their movements.”
Christians are under siege throughout the Middle East and Aid to the Church in Need works to protect them, including in Damascus

The increasing violence is connected to a broad offensive launched by Al-Qaida-linked groups to capture a key military base in the eastern countryside just outside Damascus. This base, known as “The Vehicle Base,” houses large numbers of soldiers, as well as big weapon depots. The civilian population in territory held by both sides suffer from the continuous fighting between armed rebel groups and the Syrian army.

“Please pray for us in Syria, and help us talk loudly about this part of the story, which is neglected, and which is severely affecting our lives and the lives of our loved ones,” the Caritas report concluded.

Father Andrzej Halemba, who oversees our projects in Syria, called for prayers “for the Syrian Christians, who are living through some extremely difficult moments at this time.” He said that hundreds of civilians, many of them Christians, are living in terror night and day on account of the incessant attacks.”
—Maria Lozano


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)

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)

Random Proverb

"Go to the ant, O sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise. Without having any chief, officer, or ruler, she prepares her bread in summer and gathers her food in harvest." (Proverbs 6:6-8 ESV)

Pray Without Ceasing

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

Wisdom from the Church Fathers

The purpose of the advent of the Saviour, when He gave us His life-giving commandments as purifying remedies in our passionate state, was to cleanse the soul from the damage done by the first transgression and bring it back to its original state. What medicines are for a sick body, that the commandments are for the passionate soul.

St. Isaac of Syria