CWN - Chaldean Catholic Patriarch Louis Raphael Sako called upon the UN to address the “catastrophic situation” facing Christians in Iraq, in a March 27 presentation to the Security Council.

The Security Council, on a French initiative, was meeting to discuss the persecution of Christians and other religious minorities by the Islamic State. The March 27 meeting marked the first time that the persecution of Christians has been the focus of a debate at UN headquarters in New York.

“Frankly, the so-called Arab Spring impacted negatively on us,” Patriarch Sako told the meeting. He said that Muslim extremists are unwilling to tolerate other faiths, and conditions have deteriorated for religious minorities.

“At the same time, it is important to understand that these terroristic acts should not be generalized to all Muslims,” the Chaldean Patriarch said. “In fact, there is a silent and peaceful majority of Muslims that reject such politicization of the religion.”

The Iraqi prelate urged international leaders to support his country’s government in a drive for “the liberation of all Iraqi cities-- and for us Christians, Yezidis and Shabaks especially the city of Mosul as well as the towns in the Nineveh plain and villages.” However, he cautioned that military action alone cannot solve the problems facing the country. He urged a concerted effort to counter religious extremism, end support for terrorists, and ensure the restoration of the rule of law.

In the absence of effective action, the Patriarch said, the situation could easily become more dangerous, and violence could escalate: “Millions of children and young people are deprived of schools and education. Millions of refugees are being in camps without care and attention. The growing frustration, unemployment and poverty could easily develop an atmosphere of revenge and extremism.”

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Teachings of Christ

“Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you." (Matthew 6:33 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

"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

Monasticism itself is a perpetual labor of conquering passions and uprooting them in order that, being in a pure and immaculate state, one may preserve oneself before the face of God. This, then, is your task! Give your attention to it, and direct all your powers towards it.

St. Theophan the Recluse