March 2022

Yes, let us bury war.

Though now retired, I was in the course of my life, first, a priest in south Lebanon, in dialogue with all denominations, then a metropolitan bishop in the Holy Land, sometimes amidst conflict between Israelis and Palestinians; lastly a patriarch, living through the scourge of war on Syria; I also experienced the horrors of civil war in Lebanon.

So, on the basis of my friendship with Russian and Ukrainian Churches and having experienced something of the tragedies of war, I appeal to my brothers in Russia, where there is the largest Orthodox Church in the Christian world, and to my brothers in Ukraine, where there is also a large Orthodox Church and a Greek Catholic Church in communion with the Church of Rome, saying, “Bury war, the God of war, and weapons of all kinds,” as this conflict unfolds from one day to the next, bringing calamities and destruction, thousands of victims and tragedies.

Yes, let us bury war, instead of burying war victims in their thousands, as we hear on the news.

For my brothers and sisters in Russia and Ukraine, political and military leaders, ministers and members of parliament, yes, bury war. Listen to the voice of your Christian faith and the words of the Gospel of Christ, inviting you to peace and reconciliation, dialogue and fellowship, friendship and co-operation, in order to build up your homelands that are dear to us all, especially here in the Arab Mashreq, and replace the logic of war, hostility, bullying, murder, destruction and revenge with building together the civilization of the Gospel of Christ, the civilization of our sacred Orthodox and Catholic faith, of love, peace and a better future for our rising generations.

From the perspective of our Christian faith, I invite everyone to raise prayers and supplications, as we all begin Great and Holy Lent, that God may keep the hearts and minds of officials in Russia and Ukraine, (and also the leaders of the Arab world) far from the logic of war but rather stop it and bury it, as we sing in the Arabic carol, “On the night of Christmas … hatred will vanish, the earth blooms, war is buried, love is born.”

Gregorios III
Patriarch Emeritus


Teachings of Christ

“If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’" (John 7:37-38 ESV)

Ascension

You ascended in glory, O Christ our God, * granting joy to Your disciples by the promise of the Holy Spirit; * through this blessing they were assured * that You are the Son of God * the Redeemer of the world! (Troparion)

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

When You fulfilled the divine plan for us * and united things on earth with things in heaven, * You ascended in glory, O Christ our God, * in no way departing from us but remaining inseparable, * and crying out to those who love You: “I am with you, and no one is against you.” (Kontakion)

Random Proverb

"Do not say to your neighbor, “Go, and come again, tomorrow I will give it”—when you have it with you." (Proverbs 3:28 ESV)

Pray Without Ceasing

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

Wisdom from the Church Fathers

[The Lord] is always knocking at the doors of our hearts, that we may open to Him, that He may enter in and rest in Our souls, and we may wash and anoint His feet, and He may make His abode with us. The Lord in that passage reproaches the man who did not wash His feet (Luke 7:44); and again He says elsewhere, "Behold, I stand at the door and knock, if any man will open unto Me, I shall come in unto him" (Rev. 3:20). To this end He endured to suffer many things, giving His own body unto death, and purchasing us out of bondage, in order that He might come to our soul and make His abode with it.. ..His food and His drink, His clothing and shelter and rest is in our souls. Therefore He is always knocking, desiring to enter into us.. Let us then receive Him, and bring Him within ourselves; because He is our food and our drink and our eternal life, and every soul that has not now received Him within and given Him rest, or rather found rest in Him, has no inheritance in the kingdom of heaven with the saints, and cannot enter into the heavenly city.. But Thou, Lord Jesus Christ, bring us thereunto, glorifying Thy name, with the Father and the Holy Spirit, for ever. Amen

St Macarius the Great