Damascus 09/09/13
    
Peace for Maalula

That the residents of Maalula be able to return to their town before September 14, Feast of the Elevation of the Cross, is a demand Christians make of their Muslim brothers: I appeal to world opinion and all parties.

It will be a symbol that Syria is capable of love, reconciliation, dialogue and walking together and building together.

It will renew my faith in Syria’s spiritual heritage to the world: if every effort is made in solidarity in order to return the people to Maalula before the Feast of the Elevation of the Cross. And I'll be leading them in prayers and devotional hymns as they return home. First we’ll visit the churches, and then go to our homes.

I will be fasting all this week for this intention.

I hope to join many in a day of fasting and prayer in churches and homes. Indeed, I call on everyone to work for the return of all categories of people to Maalula, people of every shade of opinion whatsoever.

If we are all working for the people of Maalula to return, it means that we are all, despite blood, victims and tragedies, able to love and encourage hope in people's hearts and foster reconciliation, forgiveness and dialogue among all citizens. We will set a wonderful example for the whole world....

That would be a victory for the sacred values of faith, for Christians and Muslims.

Long live love!

Long live faith!

Long live hope!

Long live Maalula!

Long live love in Syria!

+ Gregorios III

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


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)