CWN - The Christian refugees who have fled from violence in Syria and Iraq are not likely to return under current conditions, according to the apostolic administrator of the Jerusalem patriarchate.

“No one knows what the future holds,” said Archbishop Pierbattista Pizzaballa. “They left and it is unlikely they will return.”

“The situation is tragic” in Syria, the Franciscan prelate said. “It is a country that has ceased to exist; it is destroyed.”

The apostolic administrator—who previously headed the Franciscan custody of the Holy Land, said that the radicalization of Muslim youth has caused enormous problems for the region. He said that the conflict sweeping the Middle East should be understood primarily as a “war between Muslims,” but Christians are experiencing the brutal consequences. The problem is also spreading, he reported; the radical Islamic ideologies are now reaching into Jordan as well as Syria and Iraq.

Regarding the prospects for a peace agreement that might curb the tensions between Israel and Palestine, Archbishop Pizzabella answered simply: “I have to be honest; there’s nothing at the moment.”

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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)

Christ is Born!

Your Nativity, O Christ our God, * has dawned upon the world the light of knowledge. * for through it, those who served the stars * were taught by a star to worship You, the Sun of Righteousness * and to know You, the Dawn from on high. * Glory to You, O Lord! (Troparion, Tone 4)

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

Today the Virgin gives birth to the Transcendent One, * and the earth offers a cave to the Unapproachable One. * Angels and shepherds sing His glory; * Wise Men journey with a star * for there is born for us an infant Child, the God Who is before all ages. (Kontakion, Tone 3)

Random Proverb

"My son, do not despise the Lord's discipline or be weary of his reproof, for the Lord reproves him whom he loves, as a father the son in whom he delights." (Proverbs 3:11,12 ESV)

Pray Without Ceasing

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

Wisdom from the Church Fathers

"God is a fire that warms and kindles the heart and inward parts. Hence, if we feel in our hearts the cold which comes from the evil - for the devil is cold - let us call on the Lord. He will come to warm our hearts with perfect love, not only for Him but also for our neighbor, and the cold of him who hates the good will flee before the heat of His countenance."

St. Seraphim of Sarov