CWNews.com - Melkite Catholic Patriarch Gregory III Latham has issued an appeal to international leaders to help prevent the outbreak of more widespread violence in Syria, arguing that it is possible to resolve the country’s political crisis without ousting the Assad regime.

“Don’t think about changing the regime, but help the regime change,” the Melkite prelate urged. While insisting that he is not competent to evaluate the political situation, he said that the Church will always work to avoid violence. Patriarch Gregory added that in his view the uprisings that have shaken the Arab world during the past year are not revolutions in the ordinary sense, but could bring real and necessary changes.

In light of the fears that other Christian leaders have expressed about the future of other countries—notably Egypt—after the “Arab Spring” uprisings have brought Islamic parties to power, it is noteworthy that the Melkite leader sees the current Syrian regime as relatively tolerant of the Christian minority. “Syria has always had the lowest emigration rate in the Arab world,” the patriach notes. “It is due to the fact that the regime is secular.”

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Entrance of the Mother of God into the Temple

Today is the prelude of the goodwill of God * and the heralding of the salvation of mankind; * the Virgin appears clearly in the temple of God * and foretells Christ to all. * Let us also with a mighty voice cry out to her: * “Rejoice, O Fulfillment of the Creator’s divine plan.” (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.

The most pure Temple of the Savior, * the most precious Bridal-Chamber and Virgin, the sacred Treasury of the glory of God, * is brought today into the house of the Lord, * bringing with her the grace that is in the Divine Spirit. * The angels of God praise her in song: * “She is the heavenly tabernacle.” (Kontakion - Tone 4)

(November 21st)