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.

Almost at the same time, other shells fell on the Damascus suburb of Duel’a, injuring six children, but this time killing none, thank God.

Such is the criminal reach of terror, hatred, vengeance, violence that attacks the weakest part of society: school-children, spreading fear, consternation and tears.   
    
Shells fell in front of our church of Saint Abraham, slightly injuring four children. In Jaramana, another suburb of Damascus, for two consecutive days, thirty to forty shells fell each day.

What is the point of all this carnage, tantamount to a war of extermination? These attacks on our schools and children, churches and homes are criminal acts, done with the aim of intimidating Christians, who find themselves increasingly targeted.

As a spiritual father, we appeal to the world’s conscience in the name of our children and all vulnerable persons.

Do they want to destroy this country? Where are the United Nations and the European Union? Do you want to kill this nation?

With the Holy Father, we call on the world to stop the war strategy!

For the world is responsible for this tragedy in Syria. Hands off Syria! We want peace! Save the children whose guardian angels see the face of God in heaven!

Syria appeals to you, Most Holy Father Francis! You love your “beloved Syria.” Help it out of this crisis! We need your prayer, your strong speech, your bold interventions. Send your messengers West and East into the world’s capital cities, to bring your message of peace for Syria! Thank you, Most Holy Father!

May the world heed the cries, tears and prayers of the children of Syria!

                                   + 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

“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)

Exaltation of the Cross

Save Your people, O Lord, and bless Your inheritance; * grant victory to Your Church over her enemies * and protect Your commonwealth by Your Cross. (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.

Willingly lifted up on the Cross, O Christ God, * bestow Your compassions upon the new commonwealth that bears Your name. * By your power grant joy to Your Church, * granting her victory over her enemies. * May she have your Cross as the weapon of peace * and the invincible ensign of victory. (Kontakion - Tone 4)

The Church celebrates the Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross on September 14th.

Random Proverb

"Go to the ant, O sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise. Without having any chief, officer, or ruler, she prepares her bread in summer and gathers her food in harvest." (Proverbs 6:6-8 ESV)

Pray Without Ceasing

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

Wisdom from the Church Fathers

The Holy Eucharist is the first, most important, and greatest miracle of Christ. All the other Gospel miracles are secondary. How could we not call the greatest miracle the fact that simple bread and wine were once transformed by the Lord into His very Body and His very Blood, and then have continued to be transformed for nearly two thousand years by the prayers of priests, who are but simple human beings? And what is more, this mystery has continued to effect a miraculous change in those people who communicate of the Divine Mysteries with faith and humility. 

St. Ambrose of Optina