Protocol 428/2013D                              

Damascus
09/09 2013

In the face of the tragedies that have befallen Syria over the last two and a half years, I see it as my duty now to appeal to you with confidence, Your Majesties, Highnesses and Excellencies, and with respect, appreciation and love at this historic moment in the annals of our countries, and of Syria in particular, by which I mean the threat from the United States of America, supported by the European Union, of a military strike on Syria.

I do not wish to enter into the question of the legality of the strike and its causes and justification, but I raise a heartfelt cry to Your Majesties: that they prevent the dangers and consequences that a strike on Syria would have on the whole region including neighbouring countries, especially Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, Palestine and Israel, as we do not know how far the conflagration might spread into adjoining countries.

I appeal to you dear friends, to stand shoulder to shoulder to spare Syria, and even our beloved Arab East, from the scourge of a strike, for we dare not call it war, in which all of us Christians and Muslims in the Arab world would be killed. We hope the whole world will heed the peace appeal launched by his Holiness Pope Francis. He told us: "War is a defeat for peace!"

We appeal to you, as we have said before, for unity and for a faithful free secular democracy in the Arab world, which is the real Arab Spring that responds to the slogans of demonstrators in the main squares of our cities, and meets the expectations and aspirations of generations of our young men and women, for liberty, dignity, pride and a bright future!

I pray for you all to make supplication for our blessed Arab land that I love, which is home to all of us Christians and Muslims, the land of civilizations and the cradle of religions, and the responsibility of us all, which lies especially in your hands, your hearts and your minds, and deserves all our sacrifices and our love.

With the assurance of our love and prayers

+ 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)