Patriarch of Antioch and of All the East, of Alexandria and of Jerusalem:
To my brother bishops, members of the Holy Synod
and all the faithful clergy and laity of our Melkite Greek Catholic Church
- Reconciliation avoids partiality to any particular group.
- Reconciliation makes an appeal that is equally balanced to all groups.
- Reconciliation is important for healing wounds, overcoming enmity and hatred and building bridges of social, religious and political dialogue.
- Reconciliation is important for building up stone and flesh, for fellowship, for regaining life’s normalcy, supporting the poor, refugees and disaster-stricken.
- Reconciliation is important for resuming dialogue between communities, acceptance of others and mutual respect.
- Reconciliation is important for bringing back love to every home, town, village, party and person.
- Reconciliation is important as a global mission. We are all called to take part in it, locally, in the Arab region and globally.
- Reconciliation is the way for the future of the whole region and not just for Syria. This can be said of inter-Arab, Arab-European, Arab-(Israeli) Jewish and Christian-Muslim reconciliation throughout the world.
- Reconciliation is the essence of the Gospel and the content of all Christian doctrines: Trinity, Incarnation and Redemption.
- Reconciliation has then a global dimension. It is not only linked to the Syrian or other crisis in the region. The future of humanity is at stake. As the Gospel tells us; Jesus would die to “gather together in one the children of God that were scattered abroad.” (John 11: 52)
with grateful hearts we pray to you today
in this land where Saint Paul once walked.
reconciling the world to himself (cf. 2 Cor 5:19).
as you call them to follow the path of reconciliation and peace,
and to be merciful as you are merciful.
and to all who turn to you in their hearts (cf. Ps 85:9).
We pray to you for the peoples of the Middle East.
and to build together a world of justice and solidarity.
To you we entrust the young people of these lands.
strengthen their resolve to be men and women of peace,
and heralds of new hope to their peoples.
We pray for the civil leaders of this region
that they may strive to satisfy their peoples’ rightful aspirations,
and educate the young in the ways of justice and peace.
to respect the inalienable dignity of every person
and the fundamental rights which have their origin
in the image and likeness of the Creator, impressed upon each and every human being.
Grant them wisdom, farsightedness and perseverance;
may they never yield to discouragement in their challenging task
of building the lasting peace for which their people yearn.
in this place which saw the conversion of the Apostle Paul,
we pray for all who believe in the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Guide their steps in truth and love.
May they bear witness to the peace which surpasses all understanding (cf. Phil 4:7)
and to the light which triumphs over the darkness of hostility, sin and death.
we pray for the followers of all religions.
May they seek your will in prayer and purity of heart;
may they adore you and worship your holy name.
Lead them to find in you the strength to overcome fear and distrust,
to grow in friendship and to live together in harmony.
may all believers find the courage to forgive one another,
so that the wounds of the past may be healed,
May this happen above all in the Holy Land,
this land which you have blessed with so many signs of your Providence,
and where you have revealed yourself as the God of Love.
we entrust the men and women living in the land where Jesus once lived.
Following her example, may they listen to the word of God,
and have respect and compassion for others,
especially those who differ from them.
May they be inspired to oneness of heart and mind,
in working for a world that will be a true home for all its peoples!
Bring comfort to those mourning the dead,