CWNews.com - Pope Benedict XVI said that he would encourage the Christians living in the Middle East “to keep the faith and, despite numerous sacrifices, stay in the land were they were born.” He urged the Christians who had emigrated from the region “not to forget their origins, especially their religious origions.”

The Holy Father made these remarks in a June 25 talk to representatives of the Aid Agencies for the Oriental Churches (ROACO). He thanked the group for helping to maintain the Christian presence in the region, as well as for help in preparing for the October meeting of the Synod for the Middle East.

The Pope drew attention in his remarks to the “Christians who suffer violence because of the Gospel,” especially in the Middle East. He said that world leaders have a duty to promote the rights of religious minorities and the security of all believers.

 

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Christ is Risen!

Christ is risen from the dead, trampling down death by death, and to those in the tombs bestowing life! (Troparion)

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever and to the ages of ages. Amen.

Although You descended into the tomb, O Immortal One, * You destroyed the power of Hades; * You arose as the victor, O Christ God, * proclaiming to the myrrh-bearing women: “Rejoice!” * and granting peace to Your Apostles, * O, You, Who gives resurrection to the fallen. (Kontakion)

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)

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

Wisdom from the Church Fathers

Our holy fathers have renounced all other spiritual work and concentrated wholly on this one doing, that is, on guarding the heart, convinced that, through this practice, they would easily attain every other virtue, whereas without it not a single virtue can be firmly established.

St. Symeon the New Theologian