Melkite Greek Catholic Patriarchate
Ain Traz, Aley, Lebanon

December 2017
Good Wishes for Christmas
and the New Year 2018

Dear Friends

This year’s festive greetings are inspired by my pilgrim visit to the Holy Land in October 2017, after a seventeen-year absence and twenty-six-year service.

You were in my prayers, especially at the Church of the Resurrection and that of the Nativity at Bethlehem and in the other holy places that I visited.

My prayer for you is one of thanks to the Saviour and to you, because you have been my companions along my priestly, episcopal and patriarchal road, through your love, generosity and friendship. Those were fruitful years of service, with projects to the glory of God and for the welfare of my sons and daughters! In reflecting on the course of my priestly, episcopal and patriarchal life (lasting fifty-eight years) I have discovered that projects occurred annually, meaning that there were altogether fifty-eight such!

Thanks to the Saviour and to you for this abundant harvest. God and your love have filled my life with fruitfulness and dedication.

With these feelings, I wish you a Merry Christmas, after my retirement from patriarchal service! Please continue to accompany me with your prayers and love.

I repeat my favourite saying: I love you!

Merry Christmas!
Happy and Holy 2018!

+Gregorios III
Patriarch of Love, Reconciliation and Peace!


Teachings of Christ

'Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day." (John 6:53-54 ESV)

Exaltation of the Cross

Save Your people, O Lord, and bless Your inheritance; * grant victory to Your Church over her enemies * and protect Your commonwealth by Your Cross. (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.

Willingly lifted up on the Cross, O Christ God, * bestow Your compassions upon the new commonwealth that bears Your name. * By your power grant joy to Your Church, * granting her victory over her enemies. * May she have your Cross as the weapon of peace * and the invincible ensign of victory. (Kontakion - Tone 4)

The Church celebrates the Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross on September 14th.

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

No one on this earth can avoid affliction; and although the afflictions which the Lord sends are not great men imagine them beyond their strength and are crushed by them. This is because they will not humble their souls and commit themselves to the will of God. But the Lord Himself guides with His grace those who are given over to God's will, and they bear all things with fortitude for the sake of God Whom they have so loved and with Whom they are glorified for ever. It is impossible to escape tribulation in this world but the man who is giver over to the will of God bears tribulation easily, seeing it but putting his trust in the Lord, and so his tribulations pass.

Archimandrite Sophrony