CWN - In an interview with Aid to the Church in Need, the head of the Syrian Catholic Church—an Eastern Catholic church in full communion with the Holy See—said that the right to religious freedom “only exists on paper” in the region and that “fundamental Islam does not want a dialogue on equal terms in the long run.”

“When a young man, a Christian, falls in love with a Muslim woman and she loves him, he has to become a Muslim in order to marry her,” said Patriarch Ignatius Joseph III Younan. “Where is the freedom of faith there?”

He added:

Another example: We now have a family from Iran here and they want to be baptised. But in doing this they are risking their lives. Where is the freedom of religion there? Islam does not tolerate a change of faith. There is a similar situation in Turkey. There you can see what follows when freedom only exists on paper.

The goods of Christians have been confiscated and many churches have been destroyed. But the Christians were in Asia Minor before the Muslims. Rights are also officially recognised in Iraq, but nobody protects them, nobody does anything against the persecution of Christians. And now Syria. Our presence is also under threat there.

Criticizing EU support for the Syrian rebels, he added:

Permit me to speak quite frankly. There's a lot of hypocrisy in all this. For many governments it's merely a matter of economic interests. They don't really care about the fate of the Christians in the Middle East. Otherwise they would advocate equality before the law and the observance of human rights for all, including in those countries where the so-called Arab Spring has not taken place.

More than a year ago we said that the Arab Spring would result in chaos and civil war. This is not a matter of taking sides for or against Assad or some other potentate in the region. It's a matter of equal rights for all. It's a matter of the primacy of human rights and not the primacy of one religion. Integration and living side-by-side are only possible if this primacy is respected.

I said it to the government in Paris and I'll say it to you: Fundamental Islam does not want a dialogue on equal terms in the long run. If the EU were serious about its human rights principles they would openly take up the cause of the future of younger generations in the region. Let's put it like this: there's a lot of economic opportunism around.

 

 


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)

Entrance of the Mother of God into the Temple

Today is the prelude of the goodwill of God * and the heralding of the salvation of mankind; * the Virgin appears clearly in the temple of God * and foretells Christ to all. * Let us also with a mighty voice cry out to her: * “Rejoice, O Fulfillment of the Creator’s divine plan.” (Troparion - Tone 4)

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

The most pure Temple of the Savior, * the most precious Bridal-Chamber and Virgin, the sacred Treasury of the glory of God, * is brought today into the house of the Lord, * bringing with her the grace that is in the Divine Spirit. * The angels of God praise her in song: * “She is the heavenly tabernacle.” (Kontakion - Tone 4)

(November 21st)

Random Proverb

"One gives freely, yet grows all the richer; another withholds what he should give, and only suffers want." (Proverbs 11:24 ESV)

Pray Without Ceasing

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

Wisdom from the Church Fathers

Christ is Risen! 
O the marvel! the forbearance! the immeasurable meekness! 
The Untouched is felt; the Master is held by a servant, 
And He reveals His wounds to one of His inner circle. 
Seeing these wounds, the whole Creation was shaken at the time. 
Thomas, when he was considered worthy of such gifts, 
Lifted up a prayer to the One Who deemed him worthy, 
Saying, "Bear my rashness with patience, 
Have pity on my unworthiness and lighten the burden 
Of my lack of faith, so that I may sing and cry, 
`Thou art our Lord and God.'" 


Kontakia of Romanos, V. 1, On Doubting Thomas