Deisis (Novogorod)

Patriarch Gregorios III sends greetings to Muslims for Eid ul Fitr

Melkite Greek Catholic Patriarchate
Of Antioch and All the East
Of Alexandria and of Jerusalem

To our dear Muslim brothers and sisters in Arab countries and throughout the world
Good wishes from H.B. Gregorios III for Eid ul Fitr 1435 A.H./2014 A.D.
“We Muslims and Christians are one another’s best guarantors.”

 

At the end of the holy month of Ramadan and on the occasion of Eid ul Fitr, we send to all our dear Muslim brothers and sisters, particularly to their leaders, kings, princes and presidents in Arab countries and the world over, every good wish and our sentiments of sincere friendship and brotherly love.

Eid ul Fitr falls amidst particularly difficult and dramatic circumstances throughout the world and in particular in our Arab countries: beloved Syria and suffering Iraq, bloodied Palestine and Gaza, not to mention Morocco, Egypt, Yemen and the Gulf States. Everywhere blood is flowing, desolation spreading: places of worship, mosques and churches alike are being destroyed; sacred human rights and dignity have been violated, and freedom and honour trampled underfoot, undermining all the human, artistic, technical, moral and religious attainments of our civilisation.

We Christians and Muslims have forged this Arab civilisation together and experienced it in mutual respect. Of course, from time to time there have been dark clouds and crises known to us all, but we have gone beyond them and courageously forgiven. Since then, we have gone together along life’s road, living together, building together and developing together.

We offer our good wishes to our Muslim brothers and sisters with wholehearted friendship and fidelity, even as we weep for innocent victims both Christian and Muslim, women and children, old folk and youngsters, who are dying every day. Their blood drenches squares, streets, homes and places of worship in our towns and villages, mingling as they lie, intertwined in death as in life, like their history, civilisation, culture, literature and poetry, the beauty of their churches and mosques and their architectural and artistic masterpieces.

On the occasion of Eid ul Fitr, we urge our Muslim brothers and sisters to unite to save Islam and Muslims from enemies both within and without that lie in wait for them in the Muslim Arab world and elsewhere. We assure them that we are alongside them and that, like them, we are concerned for Islam’s teachings and values to be kept pure. We Arab Christians are most sincere defenders of Islam, because we know that we are together; preserving our inheritance and common history for we Christians and Muslims are one another’s best warranties.

We appeal to the conscience of Arab and European societies and to the international community, for us to stand together as one, in the face of the takfiri elements that are making inroads into our Arab countries, disfiguring Islam, driving Christians into exile, inciting to murder, humiliating, massacring and so emptying the Arab world of Christians, thereby impoverishing Muslim society by depriving it of their contribution, services, schools, institutions and everything they have brought to the history of the Arab East, cradle of religions and civilisations.

As an Arab patriarch who trusts this Muslim Arab world and is chary of its dignity, we add our voice to those of our fellow patriarchs and all religious leaders, including our Pope Francis, to say with the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue:

“Let us work together, then, to build bridges of peace and promote reconciliation, especially in areas where Muslims and Christians together suffer the horror of war. May our friendship inspire us always to cooperate in facing these many challenges with wisdom and prudence. In this way we will help to diminish tension and conflict, and advance the common good. We will also demonstrate that religions can be a source of harmony for the benefit of society as a whole.” 1

And we repeat the terms of our joint Muslim-Christian pledge:

We Muslims and Christians ought to stay together to build a better world together for our rising generations and our joint future.

We Muslims and Christians can stay together to build a better world together for our rising generations and our joint future.

We Muslims and Christians want to stay together to build a better future together for our rising generations and our joint future.

With our affection, prayer and esteem, we offer you our good wishes for the Feast

Gregorios III
Patriarch of Antioch and All the East
Of Alexandria and of Jerusalem

[1]Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue - Message for the End of Ramadan - ‘Id al-Fitr 1435 A.H./2014 A.D. http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/pontifical_councils/interelg/documents/rc_pc_interelg_doc_20140624_ramadan-2014_en.html


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)

Transfiguration

You were transfigured on the mountain, O Christ God, * showing Your glory to Your Disciples as far as they were able to bear it. * Through the prayers of the Mother of God, * let Your everlasting Light shine also upon us sinners. * O Giver of Light, glory to You! (Troparion, Tone 7)

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

Upon the mountain You were transfigured, O Christ God, * and Your Disciples beheld Your glory as far as they could receive it, * so that when they would see You crucified, * they would understand that You suffered willingly; * and they would preach to the world * that You are truly the radiance of the Father. (Kontakion, Tone 7)

Dormition

O Mother of God, in giving birth you preserved virginity; * and in falling asleep you did not forsake the world. * You are the Mother of Life and have been transferred to life, * and through your prayers you deliver our souls from death. (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.

Neither the tomb nor death could detain the Mother of God, * who is unsleeping in her prayers and our unfailing hope in her intercession; * for He Who dwelt in her ever-virgin womb, * transferred to Life the Mother of Life. (Kontakion - Tone 2)

Random Proverb

"My son, be attentive to my wisdom; incline your ear to my understanding, that you may keep discretion, and your lips may guard knowledge." (Proverbs 5:1,2 ESV)

Pray Without Ceasing

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

Wisdom from the Church Fathers

According to the text, `We are the body of Christ and each of us is one of its members' (cf. 1 Cor. 12:27), we are said to be the body of Christ. We do not become this body through the loss of our own bodies; nor again because Christ's Body passes into us hypostatically or is divided into members; but rather because we conform to the likeness of the Lord's flesh by shaking off the corruption of sin. For just as Christ in His manhood was sinless by nature both in flesh and in soul, so we too who believe in Him, and have clothed ourselves in Him through the Spirit, can be without sin to Him if we so choose.

St. Maximus the Confessor, Second Century on Theology, Philokalia, V. 2