To our Muslim Fellow-Citizens

15 October 2013

An Appeal for Arab Unity
And Peace Preservation

On the occasion of blessed Eid ul-Adha, I send my cordial good wishes to my Muslim brothers and sisters in Syria, Lebanon and the Arab and Muslim world. I should like this feast to bring the message of peace and an end to crises for our suffering Arab region and for everything to return to normality, since it is our right to experience the feast in peace. Let everyone return to mutual encounter and living in love, friendship and tolerance for one another.

I wish to affirm that God will not abandon us in this tragic situation that our countries are experiencing. Every believer ought to be working for peace, security and reconciliation. All we men and women ought to state unambiguously that we do not want death, killing, war and weapons. We accept neither the destruction of our towns, villages, culture and civilisation nor seeing our citizens killed or forced into homelessness or emigration.

I pray that Almighty God may allow love and openness to win every heart. May the value of the Sacrifice or Redemption, which is the name and meaning of this feast, be the slogan for our joint progress towards peace. We declare once more that peace can only be realised from Jerusalem. Otherwise it is useless to speak of perfect, complete and lasting peace.

To Muslim Arab kings, presidents and leaders I address my sincere good wishes and greetings, praying for this feast to be an opportunity for a meditative pause, prayers and concerted, committed action for the dignity of our countries and citizens, for peace among our nations and for the preservation of the spiritual value of humans.

As a friend, I tell my beloved Muslim friends, especially in Syria and Lebanon, in Arab countries and throughout the world: we ought not to be afraid, because we are children of faith, hope and love. These difficult, dark times will grow lighter. Hearts will regain their God-given calmness. Let us all work to show more solidarity with refugees and displaced persons in order to alleviate their tragedy and pain.

In conclusion, I appeal to the international community and to humanitarian organisations to expend their utmost efforts to bring about peace for nations and enable them to enjoy their independence, respecting their right to determine their own future.

+Gregorios III
Patriarch of Antioch and All the East
Of Alexandria and of Jerusalem


Teachings of Christ

“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you." (Matthew 7:7,8 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 lose sight of these — keep sound wisdom and discretion, and they will be life for your soul." (Proverbs 3:21,22a ESV)

Pray Without Ceasing

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

Wisdom from the Church Fathers

"'And [Naaman] dipped himself . . . seven times in the Jordan' [2 Kgs. 5:14]. It was not for nothing that Naaman of old, when suffering from leprosy, was purified upon his being baptized, but [this served] as an indication to us. For as we are lepers in sin, we are made clean, by means of the sacred water and the invocation of the Lord, from our old transgressions, being spiritually regenerated as new-born babes, even as the Lord has declared: `Except a man be born again through water and the Spirit, he shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.'"

St. Irenaeus of Lyons (190 AD), Fragment 34