Closure of the Year of Saint Paul

(26-30 June 2009)

Friday 26 June 2009

Delegations arrive. Accommodation in two hotels in the Old City

2000 Concert by the Syrian National Symphony Orchestra in the Greek Orthodox Patriarchal Cathedral

Saturday 27 June

0800 Holy Mass in the Church of Saint Ananias

0930 Hotel breakfast

1030-1230 Study sessions in the Melkite Greek Catholic Patriarchate on the following topics:
Paul, spiritual son of Damascus
Christian remains in Syria: churches and other ancient buildings

1230 Departure for Saidnaya (visiting the Greek Orthodox monastery of the Mother of God) and Maaloula (visiting the Greek Catholic Monastery of Saints Sergius and Bacchus) Restaurant lunch

2000 Recital of Christian music at the Damascus Opera, by different communities in indigenous languages

2200 Dinner at a villa in the Damascus hills

Sunday 28 June

0840 Holy Mass at the Memorial Saint Paul

0930-1015 Hotel breakfast

1030-1230 Study session in the Melkite Greek Catholic Patriarchate:
The Church in Syria today (round table)

1300 Restaurant lunch

1500 Visit to the Umayyad Mosque and the Old City of Damascus (from Bab Touma to Bab Sharqi)

1600 Visit of His Beatitude Ignatius IV (Hazim), Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch

1800 Vespers at the Greek Orthodox Monastery of Tel Kawkab in the presence of the Greek Orthodox and Melkite Greek Catholic Patriarchs and of civil authorities

2100 Dinner hosted by the Minister of Awqaf (Islamic charitable endowments)

2215 Showing of the Syrian film on Saint Paul, Damascus, at the Melkite Greek Catholic Patriarchate

Monday, 29 June

0830-900 Hotel breakfast

0915 Leaving Bab Sharqi for the audience granted by His Excellency the President of the Syrian Arab Republic (1000) to His Eminence Cardinal Antonio María Rouco Varela, Envoy of the Holy Father, and the Representatives of the Episcopal Conferences

Free time

Restaurant lunch (if wished)

1700 Solemn Divine Liturgy in the Melkite Greek Catholic Patriarchal Cathedral of the Dormition, in the presence of His Eminence, Cardinal Antonio María Rouco Varela (Archbishop of Madrid and President of the Spanish Episcopal Conference), Representative of the Holy Father, of the Apostolic Nuncio, the Right Reverend Archbishop Mario Zenari and of Bishops of Syria and other countries (delegated by their Episcopal Conferences), then a procession to Saint Ananias’ and Saint Paul-on-the-Wall.

2000 Cocktail buffet at the Melkite Greek Catholic Patriarchate

2100 Concert at the Citadel of Damascus

Tuesday, 30 June


Teachings of Christ

“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you." (Matthew 7:7,8 ESV)

Seventh Ecumenical Council

O Christ our God, You are most glorious, * for You established our Fathers as lights upon the earth * and through them led us to the true faith. * O greatly Compassionate One, glory to You! (Troparion, Tone 8)

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and to the ages of ages. Amen.

The Son Who shone forth ineffably from the Father * was born two-fold in nature. * Beholding Him, we do not refuse the image of his form, * but piously depicting it, we honor it faithfully. * Therefore the Church, holding fast to the true faith, * kisses the icon of the incarnation of Christ. (Kontakion, Tone 6)

(Troparia of the Sunday of the Holy Fathers of the Seventh Ecumenical Council)

Random Proverb

"Take my instruction instead of silver, and knowledge rather than choice gold, for wisdom is better than jewels, and all that you may desire cannot compare with her." (Proverbs 8:10,11 ESV)

Pray Without Ceasing

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

Wisdom from the Church Fathers

In two things then was Abraham victorious: that he killed his son although he did not kill him and that he believed that after Isaac died he would be raised up again and would go back down with him. For Abraham was firmly convinced that He Who said to him, 'through Isaac shall your descendants be named,' was not lying.

St. Ephrem the Syrian, Commentary on Genesis