www.churchinneed.org - WITH MEDIA focused on the Syrian regime, aided by Russian planes, killing some 250 people in a rebel-held suburb of Damascus, rebel attacks on the Syrian capital’s Christian neighborhoods go largely unreported. According to a report by Caritas Internationalis, the situation there is critical, as Christian suburbs have been hit by mortar attacks since late January 2018.
Christians are under siege throughout the Middle East and Aid to the Church in Need works to protect them, including in Damascus

“More than 200 mortar shells have hit Damascus’ eastern neighborhoods, causing more than 28 killed and 90 injured,” Caritas has reported. Attacks are ongoing at this writing. Official figures hold that more than 42 people have been seriously injured and that a dozen people have been killed. The actual numbers may be much higher.

Several of the mortars hit very close to the convent that is home to Sister Annie Demerjian. She told us that she and the other residents of the convent narrowly escaped death when a mortar fell but “thanks be to God did not explode.” Otherwise, she and several of the University students, Sister Annie said, “would have been injured or killed.” Sister Annie, who belongs to the congregation of Jesus and Mary, said: “Yesterday [Feb. 21, 2018] was like hell. It was raining bombs. There were so many people injured.”

Caritas reported on a Feb. 8, 2018 attach during which “some 70 mortar shells hit many neighborhoods in Damascus, leaving more than 30 people injured, 5 killed and causing huge material damages to apartments, shops and cars.”

As Caritas further reported: “People in Damascus are very depressed nowadays. They were optimistic in the last few months, and they felt that they had reached the end of war; but they feel now that they are back to zero. Most of the families who are living in the eastern part of the city stopped sending their children to school after the Jan. 22, 2018 attacks. The main streets and squares that are usually very crowded during the day are now almost empty. All the people are very cautious in their movements.”
Christians are under siege throughout the Middle East and Aid to the Church in Need works to protect them, including in Damascus

The increasing violence is connected to a broad offensive launched by Al-Qaida-linked groups to capture a key military base in the eastern countryside just outside Damascus. This base, known as “The Vehicle Base,” houses large numbers of soldiers, as well as big weapon depots. The civilian population in territory held by both sides suffer from the continuous fighting between armed rebel groups and the Syrian army.

“Please pray for us in Syria, and help us talk loudly about this part of the story, which is neglected, and which is severely affecting our lives and the lives of our loved ones,” the Caritas report concluded.

Father Andrzej Halemba, who oversees our projects in Syria, called for prayers “for the Syrian Christians, who are living through some extremely difficult moments at this time.” He said that hundreds of civilians, many of them Christians, are living in terror night and day on account of the incessant attacks.”
—Maria Lozano

https://www.churchinneed.org/christians-damascus-coming-heavy-fire/


Teachings of Christ

“So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.” (Matthew 7:12 ESV)

Holy Forefathers

Through faith, O Christ, you justified the Forefathers, * betrothing through them in advance the Church of the gentiles. * The Saints exult in glory, * for from their seed came forth a glorious fruit: * she who gave birth to You without seed. * Through their prayers, O Christ God, have mercy on us. (Troparion, Tone 2)

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

You did not honor a hand-depicted image, O thrice-blessed ones, * but defended by the undepicted Being you were glorified in a trial by fire. * And, standing in the midst of unbearable flame, you called upon God: * “Hasten, O Compassionate One, and speed to our help, * for You are merciful and You can do whatever you will.” (Kontakion, Tone 6)

(Second Sunday Before Christmas)

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)

Random Proverb

"Go to the ant, O sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise. Without having any chief, officer, or ruler, she prepares her bread in summer and gathers her food in harvest." (Proverbs 6:6-8 ESV)

Pray Without Ceasing

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

Wisdom from the Church Fathers

Adam, before the fall ... participated in ... divine illumination and resplendence, and because he was truly clothed in a garment of glory he was not naked, nor was he unseemly by reason of his nakedness. He was far more richly adorned than those who now deck themselves out with diadems of gold and brightly sparkling jewels. St. Paul calls this divine illumination and grace our celestial dwelling when he says, 'For this we sigh, yearning to be clothed in our heavenly habitation, since clothed we will not be found naked' (2 Cor. 5:2).

St. Gregory Palamas (Topics of Natural and Theological Science no. 67, The Philokalia Vol. 4 edited by Palmer, Sherrard and Ware; Faber and Faber pg. 377)