CWN - The prior of a Syrian monastery called upon the international community to “stop doing business with Saudi Arabia.”

Father Jacques Mourad, who was held captive by the Islamic State for five months until he escaped, said that “if the world is really serious about putting an end to the ravages of the fanatics, then it will have to stop doing business with Saudi Arabia, because that is where the funding and weapons for ISIS are coming from.”

“Bombing achieves nothing,” he told Aid to the Church in Need. “The US has been bombing Syria and Iraq for years, and now the Russians are doing so too. And what have they achieved? Have they stopped the terrorist violence? Absolutely not!”

Father Mourad added that “the solution cannot be simply eliminating those who persecute us. The only way of stopping the extremists is to enter into a dialogue with Islam. That has been my personal experience.”

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Teachings of Christ

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another." (John 13:34-35 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

"The woman Folly is loud; she is seductive and knows nothing." (Proverbs 9:13 ESV)

Pray Without Ceasing

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

Wisdom from the Church Fathers

The purpose of the advent of the Saviour, when He gave us His life-giving commandments as purifying remedies in our passionate state, was to cleanse the soul from the damage done by the first transgression and bring it back to its original state. What medicines are for a sick body, that the commandments are for the passionate soul.

St. Isaac of Syria