Great and Holy Friday
April 18, 2014
Matthew 27:45-50 - Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land until the ninth hour. And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, "Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?" that is, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" And some of the bystanders, hearing it, said, "This man is calling Elijah." And one of them at once ran and took a sponge, filled it with sour wine, and put it on a reed and gave it to him to drink. But the others said, "Wait, let us see whether Elijah will come to save him." And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice and yielded up his spirit. (ESV)
Christ God put to death! - What mockery! The innocent Christ endured the crown of thorns, the scourging, being nailed to the Cross, thirst, vinegar and gall and finally death. Christ God put to death for our sins on top of the hill at Golgotha. He accepted and endured all of this willingly because of His great love for us. At the moment of His death he cried “It is finished” (John 19:30). At that moment we were saved.
At his general audience on Holy Wednesday in 2008, Pope Benedict XVI quoted St. John Chrysostom speaking about the crucifixion: "Before, the cross meant disdain, but today it is venerated. Before, it was a symbol of condemnation, today it is the hope of salvation. It has truly been converted into a fount of infinite goods; it has liberated us from error, it has scattered our darkness, it has reconciled us with God. From being enemies of God, it has made us his family, from foreigners it has converted us to his neighbors: This cross is the destruction of enmity, the fount of peace, the coffer of our treasure" ("De cruce et latrone," I, 1, 4).
- Matins - 1) John 13:31-18:1, 2) John 18:1-28, 3) Matthew 26:57-75, 4) John 18:28-19:16, 5) Matthew 27:3-32, 6) Mark 15:16-32, 7) Matthew 27:33-54, 8) Luke 23:32-49, 9) John 19:25-37, 10) Mark 15:43-47, 11) John 19:38-42, 12) Matthew 27:62-66
- First Royal Hour - Zechariah 11:10-13, Galatians 6:14-18, Matthew 27:1-56
- Third Royal Hour- Isaiah 50:4-11, Romans 5:6-11, Mark 15:16-41
- Sixth Royal Hour - Isaiah 52:13-54:1, Hebrews 2:11-18, Luke 23:32-49
- Ninth Royal Hour - Jeremiah 11:18-23; 12:15,9-11,14,15, Hebrews 10:19-31, John 18:28-19:37
- Vespers - Exodus 33:11-23, Job 42:12-16, Isaiah 52:13-54:1, 1 Corinthians 1:18-2:2, Matthew 27:1-38; Luke 23:39-43; Matthew 27:39-54; John 19:31-37; Matthew 27:55-61 (Composite Reading)
The icon is a detail of the Crucifixion.
Damascus Old City: 60 children injured by shell-fire from criminal armed bands
- Created: 17 April 2014
Palm Sunday, 13 April 2014
The Church of Damascus celebrated in joy and hope Jesus Christ’s victory, this Palm Sunday, with hundreds of children dressed in their Sunday best. Flowers and olive and palm branches decorated our churches.
Great and Holy Monday, 14 April 2014
The Lord has gladdened our hearts. The Syrian army liberated the town of Ma’alula, to everyone’s joy. General rejoicing! The Lord is good, great is his mercy. The inhabitants of Ma’alula are exultant. Lift up your heads, your deliverance is nigh, and you will soon return to your homes, damaged, pillaged, ransacked though they be!
Great and Holy Tuesday, 15 April 2014
At 8 a.m., in Damascus’ Old City, near Saint Thomas’ Gate, a deadly shell landed in the playground of the Armenian Catholic School at Manar, while the children were singing the national anthem before morning prayers.
One child was killed and sixty others injured. Several had life-changing injuries (cut or broken limbs and injuries to eyes, face, chest and stomach), while others were caught directly by the shell-burst.
Paschal Letter 2014 Of His Beatitude Gregorios III, Patriarch of Antioch and All the East Of Alexandria and of Jerusalem
- Created: 13 April 2014
20 April 2014
I You too have a resurrection
We are celebrating the Feast of the glorious Resurrection of Our Lord God and Saviour Jesus Christ for the fourth consecutive time while the disastrous events of the so-called “Arab Spring” are destroying thousands of citizens of several Arab countries, from Libya to Egypt, Palestine and Iraq and especially in Syria.
It is precisely in these countries that Christians have been designated “children of the Resurrection.” They are all called to share in Jesus’ Resurrection.
My Paschal Letter this year is divided into two parts: first a general section and spiritual meditation on the Saviour’s Resurrection, in which all those who believe in Jesus Christ have a share, or rather all believers in God and the age to come await a resurrection or renaissance (baath) and renewal (nushur), meaning that Jews, Christians and Muslims all share this expectation.
That is why I address the wish expressed in the title of this letter to all our fellow-Christians and fellow-citizens in our beloved Middle East, affectionately and hopefully telling every man and woman: you have a resurrection too.
The second part of my letter is devoted to the tragic situation of our beloved country, Syria, which is continuing its way of the cross, but which will one day soon we hope reach resurrection joy.