Damascus
Great and Holy Friday 29/03/2013


Most Holy Father

This letter comes to you on Good Friday, called Great and Holy in our Eastern tradition, while you are celebrating the first Way of the Cross of your pontificate, as Bishop of the Church of Rome that presides in charity!

I am writing this letter in Damascus, whilst experiencing a harsh, bloody, painful, long Way of the Cross stretching over all Syria’s roads and that all Syrians have been experiencing and living for more than two years now!

Like Jesus, who fell three times under the weight of the Holy Cross, and whom Simon of Cyrene was fetched to help, we too need a Simon, and even more Jesus, to bear the Cross with us and to bring to an end without delay our harsh way of the cross, by enabling it to reach the joyful goal of the Resurrection!

 

Holiness! You are Simon, you are Jesus’ Vicar! We turn to you as we need your help! Syria is imploring you! All our faithful, indeed all Syrian citizens are counting on Your Holiness, expecting an initiative from Your Holiness, the Vatican, the Catholic Church, the world’s billion and a quarter Catholics! an initiative that would set out a roadmap to bring the crisis to an end, stop the build-up of weapons,  violence, terror, hostage-taking, ransoms, chaos and death!..

That is the way of reconciliation, forgiveness, dialogue, security, brotherhood, mutual help and peace.
Your help is infinitely precious to us all and to all the peoples of the Middle East; because the Syrian crisis has begun to affect neighbouring countries, especially Lebanon, as well as Palestine, Iraq, Jordan and Egypt – the whole Middle East in fact.

We are awaiting an initiative from Your Holiness, a gesture and a word like Jesus’ “Misereor!” For us you are a Saint Francis, friend of the poor, a Simon or a Good Samaritan! You are the Holy Father, our Holy Father!
Thank you, Holy Father! We are praying for you as you asked! We pray for our risen Saviour to help you bring joy, enthusiasm and hope of the Resurrection through your sacred Petrine ministry.
                                                               
+ Gregorios III

Patriarch of Antioch and All the East
Of Alexandria and of Jerusalem
President of the Assembly of Catholic Hierarchy in Syria


Teachings of Christ

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” (Matthew 5:43-44 ESV)

Pentecost

Blessed are You, O Christ our God, * Who has shown the fishermen to be all wise, * by sending down to them the Holy Spirit, * and through them You have caught the whole world in Your net. * O Lover of Mankind, glory to You. (Troparion - Tone 8)

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

When the Most High descended, confusing tongues, * He divided the nations; * but when He distributed the tongues of fire, * He called all to unity; * and, with one voice, * we glorify the Most Holy Spirit. (Kontakion - Tone 8)

Random Proverb

"When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with the humble is wisdom." (Proverbs 11:2 ESV)

Pray Without Ceasing

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

Wisdom from the Church Fathers

Adam, God's first-formed man, transgressed: could He [God] not at once have brought death upon him? But see what the Lord does, in His great love towards man. He casts him out from Paradise, for because of sin he was unworthy to live there; but He puts him to dwell over against Paradise: that seeing whence he had fallen, and from what and into what a state he was brought down, he might afterwards be saved by repentance.

St. Cyril of Jerusalem (Catechetical Lectures: Lecture 2 no. 7)