Patriarch Gregorios with Archbishop ChrysostomosDamascus, 20090505 - Archbishop Chrysostomos II of Nova Justiniana and All Cyprus, accompanied by an episcopal delegation, has been visiting Damascus in this Year of Saint Paul, in the footsteps of the Apostle Paul, as guest of the Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch. He also visited the Greek Catholic Patriarch on Sunday, 3 May.

At 5pm., Archbishop Chrysostomos and his companion bishops were received by Patriarch Gregorios III, together with his Patriarchal Vicar, Bishop Joseph (Absi), the Papal Nuncio, Archbishop Mario Zenari and all Catholic bishops in Damascus, first in the Cathedral of the Dormition of the Mother of God. There, Archbishop Chrysostomos and his delegation were showered with flowers by a wedding party, and escorted by a Scout group and the choir singing Resurrection hymns. Patriarch Gregorios then invited his guest to enter the sanctuary to venerate the Gospel Book, which Archbishop Chrysostomos was pleased to do. The choir then sang “Many Years” for the Archbishop. Afterwards Archbishop Chrysostomos and his party made a tour of the Patriarchate where, in the Reception Hall, Patriarch Gregorios addressed his visitors, alluding to the fact that Saul made his first missionary journey to Paphos, (formerly the metropolitan see of Cyprus’ Archbishop) as we learn from the thirteenth chapter of the Acts of the Apostles (Acts 13: 6-12.) It was also in Paphos that Saul became known as Paul, after encountering the deputy, Sergius Paulus, who “believed, being astonished at the doctrine of the Lord.” In reply, Archbishop Chrysostomos expressed himself very happy with the warmth and sincerity of his welcome at the Melkite Greek Catholic Cathedral in Damascus. He spoke of the importance of the role of Saint Barnabas, Cyprus’ patron and companion of Paul. Patriarch Gregorios presented his distinguished guest and brother hierarch with a complete set of the Liturgical Books in Arabic and Greek, which are the fruit of his own years of service as head of the Patriarchal Commission for Liturgy. For his part, Archbishop Chrysostomos presented a plate with the emblem of an imperial eagle.

Group PhotoEarlier on Sunday, Archbishop Chrysostomos and his delegation had concelebrated the Divine Liturgy with Orthodox Patriarch Ignatios IV (Hazim.) Afterwards, Patriarch Ignatios hosted a lunch for eighty at his patriarchal residence. Patriarch Gregorios III was pleased to accept an invitation from Patriarch Ignatios on this occasion.

Sunday’s visit of Archbishop Chrysostomos ended with a dinner in his honour, hosted by the Ambassador of Cyprus, Mr. Efstathios Orphanides, at which Patriarch Gregorios III was among the many distinguished clerical guests, both Christian and Muslim.

Story: Valerie Chamberlain

Teachings of Christ

“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you." (Matthew 7:7,8 ESV)

Transfiguration

You were transfigured on the mountain, O Christ God, * showing Your glory to Your Disciples as far as they were able to bear it. * Through the prayers of the Mother of God, * let Your everlasting Light shine also upon us sinners. * O Giver of Light, glory to You! (Troparion, Tone 7)

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

Upon the mountain You were transfigured, O Christ God, * and Your Disciples beheld Your glory as far as they could receive it, * so that when they would see You crucified, * they would understand that You suffered willingly; * and they would preach to the world * that You are truly the radiance of the Father. (Kontakion, Tone 7)

Random Proverb

"Take my instruction instead of silver, and knowledge rather than choice gold, for wisdom is better than jewels, and all that you may desire cannot compare with her." (Proverbs 8:10,11 ESV)

Pray Without Ceasing

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

Wisdom from the Church Fathers

No one has to be embarrassed over his sinful state. ‘There is no man who, while living, does not sin,’ and the more sinful the man, the stronger will be God’s help in leading him out of his sinful mire. But the help of God comes only when the sinner repents with heartfelt contrition and has the will to reform. Not seeing in himself enough strength of soul to break away from sinful deeds, he asks for God’s help. This is where the mercy of God, Who does not wish the death of the sinner but wants him to be converted and live, is often evident.… If the voice of conscience awakens in us a feeling of remorse or repentance, then we must pray fervently to the Guardian Angel of our human existence that he may keep us from corrupt downfalls and help us ‘serve God with fear and trembling.’

Elder Macarius of Optina