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

“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

"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

Even a pious person is not immune to spiritual sickness if he does not have a wise guide -- either a living person or a spiritual writer. This sickness is called _prelest_, or spiritual delusion, imagining oneself to be near to God and to the realm of the divine and supernatural. Even zealous ascetics in monasteries are sometimes subject to this delusion, but of course, laymen who are zealous in external struggles (podvigi) undergo it much more frequently. Surpassing their acquaintances in struggles of prayer and fasting, they imagine that they are seers of divine visions, or at least of dreams inspired by grace. In every event of their lives, they see special intentional directions from God or their guardian angel. And then they start imagining that they are God's elect, and often try to foretell the future. The Holy Fathers armed themselves against nothing so fiercely as against this sickness -- prelest.

Metropolitan Anthony Khrapovitsky