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

“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” (Matthew 22:37-40 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

"When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with the humble is wisdom." (Proverbs 11:2 ESV)

Pray Without Ceasing

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

Wisdom from the Church Fathers

"'And [Naaman] dipped himself . . . seven times in the Jordan' [2 Kgs. 5:14]. It was not for nothing that Naaman of old, when suffering from leprosy, was purified upon his being baptized, but [this served] as an indication to us. For as we are lepers in sin, we are made clean, by means of the sacred water and the invocation of the Lord, from our old transgressions, being spiritually regenerated as new-born babes, even as the Lord has declared: `Except a man be born again through water and the Spirit, he shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.'"

St. Irenaeus of Lyons (190 AD), Fragment 34