Patriarch Gregorios III w Father Franz PitzalPhoto: courtesy of Böblinger Bote

“The most important task is making terrorists into human beings again”

Renningen, Germany 11 September 2018

The visit of Patriarch Emeritus Gregorios III to Renningen came as a complete surprise. He was able to tell us something about current events in Syria today. It seems as though the struggle against so-called Islamic State is drawing to an end. What the country needs is not a military victory on the part of the Russians or the Americans, but readiness for reconciliation. “People who are not ready for reconciliation have no place in this country. We just can’t go on living in a state of war,” said the patriarch.

His main concern is with those who want to return to their ruined homes. Many are still undecided, as the patriarch reported, but the majority would like to go back. He is particularly concerned with Daraya, to which some fifty families comprising some six hundred persons are about to return: they need help.

It is also important for the sixty-bed hospital in Khabab, some forty miles from Damascus, to be completed. For this, furnishings and beds are required.

The most important task, according to the patriarch, is to make the terrorists human again, and do away with their hatred and enmity, in order to reintroduce peace to the country.

Renningen’s Catholic priest, Father Franz Pitzal has pledged support to the patriarch and even given a small contribution towards the reconstruction.

The patriarch, who also used to have responsibility for Jerusalem, bestowed on Father Pitzal the patriarchal Cross of Jerusalem, and, which is much more important for an orthodox Church, an antimension too. That is an altar-cloth, which in the Eastern rite acts as a reliquary cover, similar to the way relics are placed below the altar in catholic Churches.

In Renningen city centre, the patriarch noted enthusiastically the capital letter H standing for the one hundred and one countries, including Syria, to which Renningen sends help. He was also very interested in the Way of the Cross, which Father Pitzal has created for the Renninger Church and which connects current developments with the Passion of Christ.

See also Kreiszeitung: https://www.krzbb.de/krz_51_111588031-13-_Wichtigste-Aufgabe-aus-Terroristen-wieder-Menschen-machen.html


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)

Lenten Prayer of St. Ephrem

O Lord and Master of my life, drive away from me the spirit of despondency, carelessness, love of power, and idle chatter. (Prostration)

Rather grant to me, Your servant, the spirit of wholeness of being, humility, patience, and love. (Prostration)

Yes, O Lord and King, grant that I may see my own faults and not condemn my brother; for You are blessed to the ages of ages. Amen. (Prostration)

Encounter

Rejoice, O Mother of God, Virgin full of grace. * From you has risen the Sun of Righteousness, Christ our God, * shining upon those who are in darkness. * Rejoice also, you righteous Elder; * for you received in your arms the Deliverer of our souls, * Who has given us resurrection. (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.

O Christ God, through Your birth You sanctified the Virgin's womb; * and blessed, as it was proper, the hands of Simeon. * Now, having come, you saved us. * Give peace to Your commonwealth in times of war * and strengthen our civil authorities, whom You have loved, O You who alone loves mankind. (Kontakion, Tone 1)

(The Feast of the Encounter is February 2nd - the 40th Day of Christmas)

Random Proverb

"He who commits adultery lacks sense; he who does it destroys himself." (Proverbs 6:32 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