Damascus 31 March 2012

Patriarch Gregorios III, as President of the Assembly of the Catholic Hierarchy in Syria, together with Syrian Catholic and Maronite and Armenian Catholic bishops and Latin Catholic priests, today (31 March) received at the Melkite Greek Catholic Patriarchate in Damascus Mgr. Giampietro Dal Toso, Secretary of the Papal Council Cor Unum accompanied by the Papal Nuncio Archbishop Mario Zenari. Mgr. Dal Toso was delivering one hundred thousand dollars for urgent humanitarian assistance to the Syrian people from His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI.

The sum had beenearmarked by the Pope forimmediate assistance to the Syrian “population exhausted from violence.

Benedict XVI has also decided to devolvethe collections gathered during Holy Thursday Mass that he will celebrate on the 5th of April in the basilica of San Giovanni in Lateranoto the humanitarian assistance of Syrian refugees.

The Catholic Churches of Syria are currently engaged, especially through Caritas Syria, and working in the name of the Assembly of Catholic Hierarchy in Syria, in projects of assistance to the Syrian population without distinction on grounds of politics or religion through their charitable branches, in particular in the areas of Damascus, Homs and Aleppo. Cor Unum highlights that"we know the Holy Father's repeated calls for the cessation of violence in Syria and that a way be found for dialogue and reconciliation between the warring parties, with a view to peace and the common good… The Pope,” concludes the Cor Unum text, “exhorts us to pray for those who are suffering in this country."

On Good Friday, the Pontifical Council Cor Unum, whose President is Cardinal Robert Sarah, will send the money raised during the evening Mass celebrated by the Pope on Holy Thursday to Caritas Syria, which will use it to assist Syrian refugees and victims of war.

Patriarch Gregorios III, speaking during the Divine Liturgy held on Palm Sunday, thanked the Holy Father for his love to Syria and all its people. Syrian television also broadcast thanks from the Syrian Government to Pope Benedict XVI.

Sources: http://vaticaninsider.lastampa.it/en/homepage/world-news/detail/articolo/siria-syria-13999/ , http://www.fides.org/aree/news/newsdet.php?idnews=31280&lan=engand H.B. Patriarch Gregorios III

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)