CWNews.com - A Syrian Orthodox bishop based in London is urging Iraqi Christians to abandon their native land.

“I say clearly and now-- the Christian people should leave their beloved land of our ancestors and escape the premeditated ethnic cleansing,” said Archbishop Athanasios Dawood, one week after a massacre at the Syrian Catholic cathedral in Baghdad. “This is better than having them killed one by one.”

The archbishop, a native of Iraq, added:

The Iraqi government is weak, biased, if not extremist. It does not protect us and the other minorities. It has ignored our legal rights. We ask the British government, the EU and the U.N. to protect us…. I ask the British government again to help the Iraqi Christians and grant them the rights of humanitarian asylum in order to preserve what is left of the victims who do not carry a weapon to fight and kill.
“You know, everybody hates the Christian,” he said in additional remarks to BBC. “Yes, during Saddam Hussein, we were living in peace-- nobody attacked us. We had human rights, we had protection from the government but now nobody protects us.”

“Since 2003, there has been no protection for Christians,” he added. “We've lost many people and they've bombed our homes, our churches, monasteries.”

“Why are we living now in this country, after we had a promise from America to bring us freedom, democracy?”

“Staying or leaving-- we will leave it to the people to decide,” responded Father Saad Sirop Hanna, a Catholic priest in Baghdad. “I can understand this bishop, this priest, I can understand him. I agree with him from a certain point of view, but I disagree with him from another.”

“We are afraid, but not desperate.”

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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)

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

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

Wisdom from the Church Fathers

The soul has followed Moses and the cloud, both of these serving as guides for those who would advance in virtue; Moses here represents the commandments of the Law; and the cloud that leads the way, its spiritual meaning. The soul has been purified by crossing the Sea; it has removed from itself and destroyed the enemy army. It has tasted of the waters of Marah, that is, of life deprived of all sinful pleasure; and this at first had seemed bitter and unpleasant to the taste but offered a sensation of sweetness to those who accepted the wood. Next it enjoyed the beauty of the palm trees of the gospel and the springs; it filled itself with the living water, that is, the rock. It took within itself the bread of heaven. It overwhelmed the foreign host - a victory due to the extended arms of the Lawgiver, which thus foreshadowed the mystery of the Cross. Only then can the soul go on to the contemplation of transcendent Being.

St. Gregory of Nyssa