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

'Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day." (John 6:53-54 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

"My son, keep my words and treasure up my commandments with you; keep my commandments and live." (Proverbs 7:1,2 ESV)

Pray Without Ceasing

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

Wisdom from the Church Fathers

I saw the snares that the enemy spreads out over the world and I said groaning, "What can get through from such snares?" Then I heard a voice saying to me, "Humility."

St. Anthony the Great