CWN - Syria’s leading Catholic prelate has voiced misgivings about refugee programs that are helping Christian families from Syria resettle in the West, saying that it is better if they remain in the Middle East.

Melkite Catholic Patriarch Gregory III Laham, who doubles as president of the Syrian bishops’ conference, said that the flight of Syrian refugees threatens to aggravate the overall exodus of Christians from the Middle East. “The danger is that if they leave the Middle East, they will never go back,” he said.

The Melkite Patriarch said that he could readily sympathize with the Christians who choose to leave the region. “Of course, we cannot decide for ourselves what response our people should make,” he acknowledged, adding that “the suffering is great.”

However, Patriarch Gregory suggested that aid programs should concentrate on helping people to remain near their homes. “It is better to help the people within the country or the region, and not invite them to go outside,” he said. “There is more that can be done locally,” he said.

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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)

Seventh Ecumenical Council

O Christ our God, You are most glorious, * for You established our Fathers as lights upon the earth * and through them led us to the true faith. * O greatly Compassionate One, glory to You! (Troparion, Tone 8)

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and to the ages of ages. Amen.

The Son Who shone forth ineffably from the Father * was born two-fold in nature. * Beholding Him, we do not refuse the image of his form, * but piously depicting it, we honor it faithfully. * Therefore the Church, holding fast to the true faith, * kisses the icon of the incarnation of Christ. (Kontakion, Tone 6)

(Troparia of the Sunday of the Holy Fathers of the Seventh Ecumenical Council)

Random Proverb

"Let your heart hold fast my words; keep my commandments, and live." (Proverbs 4:4 ESV)

Pray Without Ceasing

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

Wisdom from the Church Fathers

Faith and love which are gifts of the Holy Spirit are such great and powerful means that a person who has them can easily, and with joy and consolation, go the way Jesus Christ went. Besides this, the Holy Spirit gives man the power to resist the delusions of the world so that although he makes use of earthly good, yet he uses them as a temporary visitor, without attaching his heart to them. But a man who has not got the Holy Spirit, despite all his learning and prudence, is always more or less a slave and worshipper of the world.

St. Innocent of Irkutsk, Indication of the Way into the Kingdom of Heaven.