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

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

Theophany

When You were baptized in the Jordan, O Lord, * worship of the Trinity was revealed, * for the Father's voice bore witness to You, calling You His “beloved Son”, * and the Spirit in the form of a dove confirmed the certainty of these words. * O Christ God, * Who appeared and enlightened the world, glory to You! (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.

You have appeared to the whole world today, * and Your light, O Lord, is signed upon us, * who with knowledge praise You in song: * "You have come, and You have appeared, O Unapproachable Light." (Kontakion, Tone 4)

Theophany is a Greek word meaning "manifestation or appearence of God".

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

"In the matter of piety, poverty serves us better than wealth, and work better than idleness, especially since wealth becomes an obstacle even for those who do not devote themselves to it. Yet, when we must put aside our wrath, quench our envy, soften our anger, offer our prayers, and show a disposition which is reasonable, mild, kindly, and loving, how could poverty stand in our way? For we accomplish these things not by spending money but by making the correct choice. Almsgiving above all else requires money, but even this shines with a brighter luster when the alms are given from our poverty. The widow who paid in the two mites was poorer than any human, but she outdid them all."

St. John Chrysostom