CWNews.com - A Syrian Orthodox bishop based in London is urging Iraqi Christians to abandon their native land.

“I say clearly and now-- the Christian people should leave their beloved land of our ancestors and escape the premeditated ethnic cleansing,” said Archbishop Athanasios Dawood, one week after a massacre at the Syrian Catholic cathedral in Baghdad. “This is better than having them killed one by one.”

The archbishop, a native of Iraq, added:

The Iraqi government is weak, biased, if not extremist. It does not protect us and the other minorities. It has ignored our legal rights. We ask the British government, the EU and the U.N. to protect us…. I ask the British government again to help the Iraqi Christians and grant them the rights of humanitarian asylum in order to preserve what is left of the victims who do not carry a weapon to fight and kill.
“You know, everybody hates the Christian,” he said in additional remarks to BBC. “Yes, during Saddam Hussein, we were living in peace-- nobody attacked us. We had human rights, we had protection from the government but now nobody protects us.”

“Since 2003, there has been no protection for Christians,” he added. “We've lost many people and they've bombed our homes, our churches, monasteries.”

“Why are we living now in this country, after we had a promise from America to bring us freedom, democracy?”

“Staying or leaving-- we will leave it to the people to decide,” responded Father Saad Sirop Hanna, a Catholic priest in Baghdad. “I can understand this bishop, this priest, I can understand him. I agree with him from a certain point of view, but I disagree with him from another.”

“We are afraid, but not desperate.”

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Teachings of Christ

“If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel's will save it. For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul? For what can a man give in return for his soul?" (Mark 8:34-37 ESV)

Theophany

At Your baptism in the Jordan, O Lord, * worship of the Trinity was revealed, * for the Father's voice bore witness to You, calling You His “beloved Son”, * and the Spirit in the form of a dove confirmed the truth of these words. * O Christ God, * Who appeared and enlightened the world, glory to You! (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.

You have appeared to the whole world today, * and Your light, O Lord, is signed upon us, * who with knowledge sing praise to You: * “You have come, and You have appeared , O Unapproachable Light." (Kontakion, Tone 4)

Christ is Born!

Your Nativity, O Christ our God, * has dawned upon the world the light of knowledge. * for through it, those who served the stars * were taught by a star to worship You, the Sun of Righteousness * and to know You, the Dawn from on high. * Glory to You, O Lord! (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.

Today the Virgin gives birth to the Transcendent One, * and the earth offers a cave to the Unapproachable One. * Angels and shepherds sing His glory; * Wise Men journey with a star * for there is born for us an infant Child, the God Who is before all ages. (Kontakion, Tone 3)

Random Proverb

"One gives freely, yet grows all the richer; another withholds what he should give, and only suffers want." (Proverbs 11:24 ESV)

Pray Without Ceasing

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

Wisdom from the Church Fathers

We honor the relics of the martyrs, that we may adore Him whose martyrs they are. We honor the servants that their honor may be reflected upon their Lord who Himself says: "He that receives you receives me."

St. Jerome, Epistle 109:1, NPNF II, 6:212