Patriarch Gregorios III w Father Franz PitzalPhoto: courtesy of Böblinger Bote

“The most important task is making terrorists into human beings again”

Renningen, Germany 11 September 2018

The visit of Patriarch Emeritus Gregorios III to Renningen came as a complete surprise. He was able to tell us something about current events in Syria today. It seems as though the struggle against so-called Islamic State is drawing to an end. What the country needs is not a military victory on the part of the Russians or the Americans, but readiness for reconciliation. “People who are not ready for reconciliation have no place in this country. We just can’t go on living in a state of war,” said the patriarch.

His main concern is with those who want to return to their ruined homes. Many are still undecided, as the patriarch reported, but the majority would like to go back. He is particularly concerned with Daraya, to which some fifty families comprising some six hundred persons are about to return: they need help.

It is also important for the sixty-bed hospital in Khabab, some forty miles from Damascus, to be completed. For this, furnishings and beds are required.

The most important task, according to the patriarch, is to make the terrorists human again, and do away with their hatred and enmity, in order to reintroduce peace to the country.

Renningen’s Catholic priest, Father Franz Pitzal has pledged support to the patriarch and even given a small contribution towards the reconstruction.

The patriarch, who also used to have responsibility for Jerusalem, bestowed on Father Pitzal the patriarchal Cross of Jerusalem, and, which is much more important for an orthodox Church, an antimension too. That is an altar-cloth, which in the Eastern rite acts as a reliquary cover, similar to the way relics are placed below the altar in catholic Churches.

In Renningen city centre, the patriarch noted enthusiastically the capital letter H standing for the one hundred and one countries, including Syria, to which Renningen sends help. He was also very interested in the Way of the Cross, which Father Pitzal has created for the Renninger Church and which connects current developments with the Passion of Christ.

See also Kreiszeitung: https://www.krzbb.de/krz_51_111588031-13-_Wichtigste-Aufgabe-aus-Terroristen-wieder-Menschen-machen.html


Teachings of Christ

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God." (John 3:16-18 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

"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

Virtues and vices are the food of the soul and it can feed on either one, turning to whichever one it wants. If it is bent toward moral excellence, it will be fed by virtue - by righteousness, temperance, meekness, endurance. In other words, it is just as St. Paul says, 'being nourished by the word of truth' (1 Tim. 4:6).

St. Ignatius of Antioch