Damascus (Agenzia Fides) - Christians in Syria are "no guests or migratory birds". They "are part of the origin of the nation, and without them there is no pluralistic Syria". This is what Syrian President Bashar Assad said on Sunday, September 17, to a large delegation of participants in a room of the Damascus Hall at the annual youth gathering organized by the Syriac Orthodox Church. Responding to the questions posed by some of the young people present, the Syrian leader highlighted the failed attempts of the "extremists" of striking Syrian Christians in order to expel them from the Country, arguing that this operation was part of a larger design aimed at "dividing the region in sectarian States to justify the existence of the Jewish State".

During the meeting with young Christians, President Assad was accompanied by Syriac Orthodox Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II. Three Bishops and numerous monks and priests of the Syriac Orthodox Church also took part in the gathering.

Recently Assad has repeatedly shown his closeness to senior Syriac Orthodox Church leaders. At the beginning of September, as reported by Agenzia Fides (see Fides 8/9/2017), the Syrian President also carried out a visit to the temporary seat of the Syriac Orthodox monastery of the Holy Cross, under construction, in the town of Saydnaya, accompanied by his wife Asma and other family members. On that occasion, Assad and his wife, accompanied by Patriarch Ignatius Aphrem, also met the children housed in the "Small Angel House", an orphanage supported by the Syriac Orthodox Church, and had lunch with them and with the monks and the nuns of the monastery. (GV) (Agenzia Fides, 18/9/2017)


Teachings of Christ

“Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you." (Matthew 6:33 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

"Go to the ant, O sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise. Without having any chief, officer, or ruler, she prepares her bread in summer and gathers her food in harvest." (Proverbs 6:6-8 ESV)

Pray Without Ceasing

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

Wisdom from the Church Fathers

Seek, my child, the nobility of the soul, for it is truth; that of the body is false. Do not seek honor from men, for this injures one; but rather, seek heavenly glory . . . . You are to be sympathetic with all the brethren and help them as much as possible; and, you are to minister to them that are unable or weak. Do not desire to live by another's labors . . . . Never ridicule anyone, and especially when they are in misfortune. When you hear that a certain brother is disorderly, supplicate God to correct his life. Visit and help the sick, and serve the brethren as their servant; so you might be a friend of Christ Who, for your sake, became a servant and minister. Always heed, my child, not to fall into temptations. However, if it happens that you should fall, immediately rise up and amend yourself with repentance, and again hasten to prayer. In this manner, live your life, my child, and God shall always come to you and help you in soul and body.

St. Theodora of Alexandria, "The Lives of the Spiritual Mothers: An Orthodox Materikon of Women Monastics and Ascetics