1 Shawwal 1437 AH / 6 July 2016 AD

Damascus

Eid ul-Fitr concludes the fasting month of Ramadan, during which we have been witnessing a tragic situation. Nevertheless we send our Muslim fellow-citizens and companions in history and destiny sincere congratulations on Eid al-Fitr, together with prayers for safety and security, reconciliation, love and peace in our Arab countries, especially in Syria, Iraq, Palestine and Lebanon.

Today, more than ever before, all we Christians and Muslims need a new spirituality to bring us from exclusion to inclusion, rejection to acceptance, stereotyping to understanding and from distortion to respect; from condemnation to compassion, hostility to friendship, competition to integration, and from hatred to love and the broad bosom of God, because God is love.

This spirituality will help us rebuild our homes that are currently threatened with physical and spiritual destruction, and enable us together to rebuild what has been broken down spiritually in our society, and reconstruct its material and human social fabric.

I invited everyone to this in my most recent letter entitled, "Message of an Arab Christian Patriarch to his Muslim brethren." I hope this letter has reached its designated readership.

I close my greetings with a passage from the above-mentioned letter:

“The task entrusted to us in the Middle East is to challenge the West and the whole Muslim world by our Eastern Christian-Muslim unity, based on a new type of civilization: the civilization of love.”

Happy Feast!

With love and prayer
+ Gregorios III

Patriarch of Antioch and All the East
Of Alexandria and of Jerusalem
For the Melkite Greek Catholic Church


Teachings of Christ

“Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.” (Luke 5:31-32 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

"'And [Naaman] dipped himself . . . seven times in the Jordan' [2 Kgs. 5:14]. It was not for nothing that Naaman of old, when suffering from leprosy, was purified upon his being baptized, but [this served] as an indication to us. For as we are lepers in sin, we are made clean, by means of the sacred water and the invocation of the Lord, from our old transgressions, being spiritually regenerated as new-born babes, even as the Lord has declared: `Except a man be born again through water and the Spirit, he shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.'"

St. Irenaeus of Lyons (190 AD), Fragment 34