During the Angelus of Sunday 25 August 2013, His Holiness Pope Francis launched an appeal for peace in Syria, which he was pleased to describe as "beloved."

It was said in this appeal that His Holiness continues "with great distress and anxiety to follow the situation in Syria... in a war between brothers and sisters with the escalation of massacres and acts of atrocity."

His Holiness raises his voice with prophetic boldness, repeating the call that "the clash of weapons may be silenced."

His Holiness expresses in heartfelt tones his love and "closeness with prayers and solidarity to all the victims of this conflict, to all who are suffering, especially the children," and asks us "to keep the hope of peace ever alive."

His Holiness addresses his appeal "to the international community to ...help ... find a solution to this war that is sowing destruction and death."
He ends his appeal by praying to the Virgin Mary, Queen of Peace.

We should like to thank His Holiness in the name of the Church here in Syria for this very impressive appeal; or rather we thank him in the name of all Christian and Muslim denominations of the Syrian nation for his sincere fatherly feeling.

We regret that the stance of many Arab Eastern and European and Western countries is one of pride, a bullying attitude, with warning threats, muscle-flexing and sending weapons, and mercenary fighters.

We regret seeing many countries, instead of hastening the preparation for Geneva II for peace, scrambling to raise the tone of threats with more means of war and destruction.

In the face of all this, we ask you: who drove people in Syria to this so-called "red line"? Who brought the country to the risk of chemical weapons? Who drove this country to almost systematic destruction? Those very countries!

We pray for those heads of state to heed the Holy Father's voice, and that of the bishops and spiritual leaders of Syria and all those who are calling for reconciliation, dialogue and peace in the world.

We ask all our bishops to disseminate Pope Francis' appeal by all means, especially in our parishes and churches.

+ Gregorios

Patriarch of Antioch and All the East,
Of Alexandria and of Jerusalem


Joachim and Anna Rejoice

Today the bonds of childlessness are loosed, * for God has heard Joachim and Anna * and He promises manifestly that they, against all hope, would give birth to the Maiden of God * from whom the Uncircumscribed One Himself would be born, becoming man, * and he commanded the Angels to cry out to her: * “Rejoice, O Full of Grace, the Lord is with you!” (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 whole world celebrates * the conception of Anne which was brought about by God, * for she gave birth to the one who, beyond understanding, * gave birth to the Word. (Kontakion - Tone 4)

Saint Nicholas of Myra

The truth of your deeds has revealed you to your flock, * as a rule of faith, an image of meekness, and a teacher of abstinence. * Therefore, you attained the heights through humility, * and riches through poverty. * O Father and Hierarch Nicholas, * pray to Christ God that our souls may be saved. (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.

In Myra, You were shown to be a servant of the sacred things, O Holy Nicholas, * for, fulfilling the Gospel of Christ, you, O Venerable, laid down your life for your people, * and saved the innocent from death. * Therefore, you were sanctified as a great initiate of the grace of God. (Kontakion, Tone 3)