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


Teachings of Christ

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” (Matthew 5:43-44 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

"My son, do not forget my teaching, but let your heart keep my commandments, for length of days and years of life and peace they will add to you." (Proverbs 3:1,2 ESV)

Pray Without Ceasing

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

Wisdom from the Church Fathers

Seek God daily. But seek Him in your heart, not outside it. And when you find Him, stand with fear and trembling, like the Cherubim and Seraphim, for your heart has become a throne of God. But in order to find God, become humble as dust before the Lord, for the Lord abhors the proud; whereas He visits those that are humble in heart, wherefore He says: “To whom will I look, but to the one who is meek and humble in heart?”

St. Nectarius of Aegina