Liqaa Center - Rabweh (Lebanon) 6/12/2013

The Assembly of the Catholic Hierarchy of Syria, presided over by Patriarch Gregorios III, met in special session with Cardinal Robert Sarah, President of the Vatican’s Cor Unum.

The members of the Synod wished to express their gratitude on this occasion to all those who, over the last two and a half years of the Syrian crisis, have helped the Church in Syria carry out its service of aiding all Syrian citizens and especially Christians, through Caritas Syria and all welfare associations.

Our gratitude goes above all to Pope Francis, the Holy See, Cor Unum and its President, Cardinal Sarah, who have been especially alert to the needs of our Churches and our country.

We thank the episcopal conferences and the various, especially Catholic, charitable organisations, which have helped us through the projects of Caritas Syria, (presided over by Bishop Antoine Audo SJ) which is working in the Assembly’s name.

Many of our eparchies and associations have received assistance from various organisations. Through this statement to the international press, we should like to thank them.

Through this ministry of Christian service, you are helping us fulfil the motto of the Special Assembly for the Middle East of the Synod of Bishops: Communion and Witness. Indeed, we are giving exemplary witness to the evangelical values of love and service, especially to the poorest, after Pope Francis’ example and in accordance with the teachings of the Gospel and the Church.

As bishops and ministers of reconciliation, we are seeking to put an end to this disastrous, tragic war which has caused so much bloodshed! This war has created so many injured and disabled sufferers, refugees and victims and inhumane, tragic situations.

We are praying, and ask everyone to pray, for peace in Syria and throughout the Middle East, cradle of Christianity.
End the war! Stop the violence! Stop the noise of weapons! Let us hear the voice of forgiveness, reconciliation and peace!

We are getting ready for Christmas! Despite our sufferings, we are determined to sing with faith, hope and spiritual strength that hymn first chanted in our land of Palestine, and we invite our friends, partners and the whole world to sing with us,

“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace; goodwill towards men!”


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)