By Adelaide Mena

.- Middle Eastern Patriarchs reaffirmed the deep history of Christianity in the Middle East and called for its perseverance into the future at this week's In Defense of Christians summit in Washington, D.C.

They called for Western partners to remember that history, and to help keep Christianity in its ancient homeland, as people from around the world work for peace and an end to conflict in the Middle East.

“We as Christians in the Middle East: we are going to remain and stay there,” said the Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch John X Yazigi. “We are not strangers in that part of the world: we are people of light and of truth.”

Patriarch John X spoke Oct. 24 at the opening press conference for the In Defense of Christians (IDC) 2017 Summit, bringing together Patriarchs of Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, and Oriental Orthodox Churches, Middle Eastern Christians of all denominations, and policy leaders from the United States.

The organization and the summit seek to preserve and protect Christian and other religious minorities living in the Middle East.

This year’s theme for the Oct. 24-26 summit was American Leadership and Securing the Future of Christians in the Middle East.

The keynote speaker at the event was US Vice President Mike Pence, who promised direct American aid for persecuted Christians in the Middle East. Congressman Chris Smith (R-N.J.) was the recipient of IDC's Cedars of God award.

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Teachings of Christ

“Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account." (Matthew 5:11 ESV)

Lenten Prayer of St. Ephrem

O Lord and Master of my life, drive away from me the spirit of despondency, carelessness, love of power, and idle chatter. (Prostration)

Rather grant to me, Your servant, the spirit of wholeness of being, humility, patience, and love. (Prostration)

Yes, O Lord and King, grant that I may see my own faults and not condemn my brother; for You are blessed to the ages of ages. Amen. (Prostration)

Random Proverb

"My son, do not lose sight of these — keep sound wisdom and discretion, and they will be life for your soul." (Proverbs 3:21,22a ESV)

Pray Without Ceasing

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

Wisdom from the Church Fathers

I pray Thee, compassionate Lord, do not allow me to be condemned because of the unworthy and ungrateful manner in which I contemplate the great mysteries that Thou hast revealed to Thy saints and through them to me, a sinner and Thy unworthy servant. For see, Lord, Thy servant stands before Thee, idle in everything, speechless, as one who is dead; and I do not dare to say anything more or to presumptuously contemplate further. But as always I fall down before Thee, crying from the depths of my soul. . . .

St. Peter of Damascus