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