16 June 2010

In the Context of the Year for Priests

Pursuant to the decision of the Holy Synod regarding the Year for Priests, the animation committee organised a Day for Priests held in the Patriarchal Headquarters and Seminary at Rabweh on Wednesday, June 16 in the presence of His Beatitude, Patriarch Gregorios III and bishops.

Some two hundred priests, both those in religious orders and married priests with their wives attended this day, notable for its brotherly and familial atmosphere.

After arriving and registering, everyone attended in the church a service at which hymns of Pentecost were sung. This was followed by a study of the lives and examples of the model priests, Saint Jean-Marie Vianney, the Curé d'Ars and Blessed Father Beshara Abu Mrad, B.S.[1] His Beatitude Patriarch Gregorios III then gave a talk on the priestly life to the assembled clergy. After a break, a special programme called The joy of encounter, in which a number of speakers gave witness about their vocation and encounter with Christ, occupied the clergy for the rest of the morning.

The morning's meeting was rounded off by a communal lunch.

This event was part of a number of events in Syria and Lebanon connected with the Year for Priests.

  • For example, on 20 March, His Beatitude met with Melkite and Maronite bishops, priests and people of the parishes of Tyre and Sidon.
  • On 15 April, also in Rabweh, some thirty-six clergy, members of the Melkite religious orders of Lebanon met in the presence of His Beatitude to study the theme of the forthcoming Synod for the Middle East: Communion and Witness.
  • On 28 April, some seventy sisters, members of Melkite religious orders met in the presence of His Beatitude and Bishop Salim Ghazal to discuss their work in the context of the Year for Priests and the forthcoming Synod for the Middle East.
  • Then on 29 May under the auspices of the Assembly for Catholic Patriarchs and Bishops in Lebanon (APECL) there was a gathering of four hundred and fifty clergy (including the Catholic Patriarchs and some fifty bishops) at St. Paul's basilica, Harissa, Lebanon, at which His Beatitude spoke on Pauline themes connected with priestly life.
  • From 7-9 June, His Beatitude, with Archbishop Joseph Absi, led a retreat for the clergy of the Eparchy of Damascus in the Monastery of St. Thomas, Seidnaya.
V. C.

[1] For information on these two saintly priests, see H.B. Patriarch Gregorios III's Christmas Letter 2009, iv, v http://www.pgc-lb.org/english/News3_Christmas_letter_2009.html


Teachings of Christ

“Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.” (Luke 5:31-32 ESV)

Exaltation of the Cross

Save Your people, O Lord, and bless Your inheritance; * grant victory to Your Church over her enemies * and protect Your commonwealth by Your Cross. (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.

Willingly lifted up on the Cross, O Christ God, * bestow Your compassions upon the new commonwealth that bears Your name. * By your power grant joy to Your Church, * granting her victory over her enemies. * May she have your Cross as the weapon of peace * and the invincible ensign of victory. (Kontakion - Tone 4)

The Church celebrates the Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross on September 14th.

Nativity of the Mother of God

Your nativity, O Virgin Mother of God, * heralded joy to all the world; * for from you has dawned the Sun of Righteousness, Christ our God, * and, having annulled the curse, He gave the blessing * and by destroying Death He granted us eternal life. (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.

Through your holy nativity, O Immaculate One, * Joachim and Anna were freed from the reproach of childlessness, * and Adam and Eve from the corruption of death. * Delivered from the guilt of sin, your people celebrate this as they cry out to you: * "The barren woman gives birth to the Mother of God, the Nourisher of our Life." (Kontakion - Tone 4)

The Church celebrates the Feast of the Nativity of the Mother of God on September 8th.

Random Proverb

"He who commits adultery lacks sense; he who does it destroys himself." (Proverbs 6:32 ESV)

Pray Without Ceasing

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

Wisdom from the Church Fathers

Even a pious person is not immune to spiritual sickness if he does not have a wise guide -- either a living person or a spiritual writer. This sickness is called _prelest_, or spiritual delusion, imagining oneself to be near to God and to the realm of the divine and supernatural. Even zealous ascetics in monasteries are sometimes subject to this delusion, but of course, laymen who are zealous in external struggles (podvigi) undergo it much more frequently. Surpassing their acquaintances in struggles of prayer and fasting, they imagine that they are seers of divine visions, or at least of dreams inspired by grace. In every event of their lives, they see special intentional directions from God or their guardian angel. And then they start imagining that they are God's elect, and often try to foretell the future. The Holy Fathers armed themselves against nothing so fiercely as against this sickness -- prelest.

Metropolitan Anthony Khrapovitsky