Bkerkeh, Lebanon - A Muslim-Christian summit was held on 25 March 2012, the Feast of the Annunciation and coincidentally the name-day and election anniversary of Maronite Patriarch Beshara al-Rai at Bkerkeh, the Maronite Patriarchal headquarters, in the presence of all religious leaders of the country and members of the Muslim-Christian steering committee for dialogue.

Patriarch Gregorios III attended, representing the Melkite Greek Catholic Church. He had marked the Feast of the Annunciation by celebrating the Divine Liturgy in the morning with the superior general of the Aleppine Fathers and priests in the monastery of the Aleppine Sisters at Zeraya.

The holding of the summit was of considerable significance for Lebanon and the region, as it brought together Muslims, Druze and Christians.

The spiritual leaders emphasised the importance of coexistence among Lebanese, a coexistence which should serve as a model for the region’s countries.

The Bkerkeh summit called for security, unity, and an end to the bloodshed in Syria. The religious leaders also appealed for dialogue as they denounced the prolongation of acts of violence. The summit emphasised the importance of dialogue in resolving differences, without however touching on details of political life, in Arab countries, especially in Syria.

The last such summit at Bkerkeh was held on 12 May 2011, when some 35 leaders took part, including Patriarch Beshara, Patriarch Gregorios III, Shaykh Al-Akl Naim Hassan of the Druze, and Grand Mufti of Lebanon, Muhammad Rashid Qabbani, who first suggested the idea of such a summit and who hosted a reciprocal summit at his residence of Dar al-Fatwa on September 27 2011.

With acknowledgements to L’Orient le jour http://www.lorientlejour.com/category/Derni%C3%A8res+Infos/article/750429/Sommet_spirituel,_le_25_mars,_a_Bkerke_pour_discuter_des_repercussions_de_la_crise_syrienne.html


Teachings of Christ

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’" (Matthew 7:21-23 ESV)

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

"Blessed is the one who finds wisdom, and the one who gets understanding, for the gain from her is better than gain from silver and her profit better than gold." (Proverbs 3:13,14 ESV)

Pray Without Ceasing

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

Wisdom from the Church Fathers

Humility is the only thing we need; one can still fall having virtues other than humility -- but with humility one does not fall.

Elder Herman of Mt. Athos