Sunday, November 19, 2023

Met Ephrem (Kyriakos): Spiritual Fatherhood

Arabic original here.

Spiritual Fatherhood

He is the one who begets children in Christ, begets by the Holy Spirit.

The Evangelist John says, "unless one is born from above, he cannot see the kingdom of God" (John 3:3).

As for the Apostle Paul, he says to the children of the Corinthians, "For though you might have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet you do not have many fathers; for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel" (1 Corinthians 4:15).

He adds, "Therefore I urge you, imitate me" (1 Corinthians 4:16).

He begat them by the Holy Spirit. This is the difference between the a teacher and a father: "Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ" (1 Corinthians 11:1).

This requires humility and self-denial: "My little children, for whom I labor in birth again until Christ is formed in you..." (Galatians 4:19.

The spiritual father is a mediator and intercessor: an intercessor for the salvation of the souls of his children, especially through prayer. He is also in need of his children's prayers.

By the grace of the Lord Jesus, the spiritual father is a mediator who reconciles his spiritual child with God in Christ Jesus.

He first of all acquires the grace of Christ God and then in turn he reconciles his spiritual child with God the Father in Christ Jesus.

The Apostle Paul says, "God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them..." (2 Corinthians 5:19).

Every priest should be a spiritual father, an icon of Christ.

He should be a spiritual physician. His work should not be limited to performing the sacraments of the Church such as the Divine Liturgy, baptism... 

What causes him to avoid the monotony of routine in his service is personal prayer as well as reading the Holy Bible and the books of the holy fathers.

It must be pointed out here that there is a difference between a spiritual father and a psychologist.

A psychologist works to bring the patient back to his natural state.

A spiritual father, however, works to reconcile the patient, the sinner, with God. He tries to introduce the spirit of repentance, so that so that the patient, the sinner, will follow a divine, spiritual path (cf. 1 Corinthians 15:45-46).


Metropolitan of Tripoli, al-Koura and their Dependencies

Tuesday, November 7, 2023

Ovidiu Olar: The Travels of the Patriarch Macarius of Antioch and the Liturgical Traditions of the Christian East

Ovidiu Olar, "The Travels of the Patriarch Macarius of Antioch and the Liturgical Traditions of the Christian East." Revue Des Études Sud-Est Européennes 53.1-2 (2023), 275-287.


This study proposes to demonstrate the importance of the account of the journey of the Patriarch Macarius of Antioch composed by his son, the Archdeacon Paul of Aleppo, as an eyewitness of the liturgical practices and traditions of the Christian East. The passages where Paul describes the multilingual liturgical celebrations are used to highlight the (principal) reason for the existence of two manuscripts held at the Library of the Romanian Academy: BAR Bucharest ms. roum. 1790 and BAR Cluj ms. roum. 1216.

Download and read it here.

Thursday, October 19, 2023

Videos from the Conference "The Orthodox Church of Antioch from the 15th to the 18th Century"

The Saint John of Damascus Institute of Theology has just finished conducting a major conference entitled "The Orthodox Church of Antioch from the 15th to the 18th Century: Towards a Proper Understanding of History". They have very graciously put up videos of all the sessions on YouTube. I especially encourage you to watch the presentations by Constantin Panchenko (at the end of the Opening Ceremony), Carsten Walbiner (Session One), Hasan Çolak (Session Three), and Ioana Feodorov (Session Four).

Opening Ceremony:

Opening remarks by Fr Jack Khalil and Prof Elias Warrak [in Arabic]

His Beatitude John X: Opening Remarks [in Arabic]

Constantin Panchenko: Unia of Florence and the Church of Antioch, A Retrospect [in English]

Session One: The Historical and Political Context

Tom Papademetriou: The Ottomans and the Orthodox Patriarchates (15th to 18th Centuries) [in English]

Christos Arambatzis: Méthodes d'instauration de l'union écclesiastique et réactions au Proche Orient pendant le XVe -XVIe siècle [in French]

Carsten Walbiner: The Impact of Greek Thinking and Greek Prelates on the Patriarchate of Antioch in the 17th and Early 18th Centuries

Session Two: Relations with the Other Orthodox Churches

Giannis Bakas: The Historical Relations of the Ecumenical Patriarchate with the Church of Antioch and their Collaboration, the Case of the Metropolis of Aleppo [in Greek]

Vera Tchentsova: The Relations of Athanasius III Dabbas, Patriarch of Antioch, with Moscow [in English]

Session Three: Relations with other Peoples

Fr Chrysostom Nassis: A View from Without, The Church of Antioch through the Eyes of Seventeenth Century Anglican Divines [in English]

Hasan Çolak: Orthodox Responses to Catholic Missions in the Patriarchate of Antioch, Institutionalization and Centralization [in English]

Andreas Müller: The Greek-Orthodox Church of Antiocheia in Modern Western Literature, An Overview [in English]

Session Four: Intellectual Activity and Culture

Martin Lüstraeten: Which Typikon? The Typikon of Malatiyus Karma as an Attempt to Unify a Liturgical Tradition [in English]

Ioana Feodorov: Printing for the Arab Christians in the 18th Century: Antim the Iberian, Athanasios Dabbas, and Sylvestros of Antioch [in English]

Elie Dannaoui: The Syriac-Arabic Liturgical Manuscripts in the Rum Orthodox Church of Antioch, A Survivor of an Extinct Tradition


Session Five: Domestic Affairs

Fr Bassam Nassif: Pastoral Renaissance under Three Patriarchs of Antioch: Euthymius Karma, Macarius Zaim, and Athanasius Dabbas [in Arabic]

Fr Saba Nasr: Antiochian Manuscripts of a Historical and Theological Response to the Events and Results of Ferrara-Florence [in Arabic]

Fr Harith Ibrahim: "Cutting Sword": An Apologetic Manuscript by Hieromonk Maximos [in Arabic]

Session Six: Patriarch Sylvestros: Life and Works

Symeon A. Paschalides: "A Living Saint of the Church." Patriarch Sylvestros of Antioch (1724-1766) and the Signs of Sanctity in his Church Ministry [in English]

Archimandrite Policarp (Chițulescu): Patriarch Sylvestros of Antioch as a Defender of Orthodoxy: A Survey of his Anti-Catholic Books Printed in Iași (Moldavia) in the mid-18th Century [in French]

Mihai Țipău: The Rediscovery of the Arabic Book of Psalms Published by the Patriarch Silvestros in 1747 in Bucharest [in English]

Session Seven: Relations with Rome

Fr Spiridon Fayad: Unknown Icons of the Iconographer, Patriarch Sylvestros of Antioch (+1766) [in Arabic]

Fr Michel Najim: Uniatism in Contemporary Orthodox-Catholic Dialogue [in Arabic]

Souad Slim: Three Orthodox Manuscripts from Balamand in Reply to the Catholic Claims [in Arabic]

 Session Eight: Roundtable [multilingual]

Tuesday, October 17, 2023

Patriarch John X on the History of the Melkite Schism

From here in English and here in Arabic. The speech is quite important, among other reasons, for its clear statement of Antiochian Orthodox ecclesiology.


Opening Speech of
Patriarch John X
In the International Scientific Conference entitled:
“The Orthodox Church of Antioch from the Fifteenth to the Eighteenth Century:
Towards a Proper Understanding of History”
Balamand 16/10/2023
On this blessed evening, I am pleased to be among you and to inaugurate with you, from this blessed Hill of Balamand, the International Scientific Conference entitled, "The Orthodox Church of Antioch from the Fifteenth to the Eighteenth Century: Towards a Proper Understanding of History."
As I welcome each and every one of you, beloved brothers and siters, I pray for God's blessings to shower you, and I entreat Our Lady, the Ever-Virgin Mary, patron saint of this place, to embrace you with her tenderness and intercede to her Son for all of us, so that we may live faithfully according to her commandment: "Whatever He says to you, do it."
A proper understanding of history, as mentioned in the conference title, requires adherence to scientific principles. The account of history is not a personal point of view, but a set of facts and events that we ought to study in order to understand what actually happened, and to draw conclusions. Since our topic deals specifically with ecclesiastical history, it is our quest to redeem it, to correct the course anew, to heal wounds, and to reconcile every rift. 
However, what is evil is the changing of the reading of history according to immediate self-interests, so that things are turned upside down, and facts are taken as personal views! Yes, we deeply regret that some are comfortable with the "post-truth era" and consider this as a basis. For some, truth has become synonymous with what the masses believe, i.e., the product of sophistry and populism, while historical facts are left to oblivion. In this post-truth era and the blurriness associated with it, we need, now more than ever, for scientific research to reveal facts. Therefore, we want this scientific conference today to deal with a difficult period in the history of the Church of Antioch, the first church founded by the Apostle Peter, in which "the disciples were first called Christians" (Acts 11: 26). From this Church came Ignatius, the God-bearer (+107 AD), who, on his way to be grinded by the teeth of the lions in Rome, addressed the whole Church with his letters, which are still a universal ecclesiastical reference. Saint John Chrysostom, the teacher of the universe, who was led as a lamb and taken to exile. He yielded up his spirit on the way, as a result of the decisions of the Synod according to the emperor's policies at that time, that is, outside the nave of the church, in which Chrysostom refused to yield up his spirit to his Lord. Saint John of Damascus was the defender of the faith, and whose hand was restored by the Virgin after being cut off for speaking the truth of faith. Let us not forget Patriarch Peter III who sought with all wisdom and strength to prevent the schism between Constantinople and Rome and to keep the dispute between them within the confines of the Church. He wanted differences, especially small ones, not to turn into a reason for distance, division, fragmentation, hostility, and for an absence of love.
In the context of preserving the spirit of Peter III, who saw himself as "a bone of Antioch’s bones and blood of its blood", and in the footsteps of the Apostle Peter, who bore his name and who also succeeded him in the care of the sheep of Christ in the Mother City, the Church of Antioch, the Apostolic Patriarchate and the first See of Peter continues to be the Church of communion, consultation, openness, and peace. She remains a Church with her place and authority among the Churches. It pains and saddens her with every division between other churches. Equally, She is pained by the dismemberment of a segment of her children who violated her authority as a church being the fullness of ecclesiastical entity, and as a church equal in dignity to the second church established by the head of the Apostles. She is a church that is aware that her role as an authority is no different from that of other ancient apostolic patriarchates. She is a church whose Patriarch, Peter III, realized that it was his responsibility to work on avoiding a schism between the two sister churches.
From our predecessor, Patriarch Peter III, we understand the faith of our Church is that true communion can only be achieved through consultation and mutual respect between Churches, through the community's complete obedience to its Lord, God, and Savior Jesus Christ, along with being in harmony and peace that descends from the Holy Spirit, and away from any worldly logic of domination, control, and subjugation of others. Is there anything more beautiful and truer than Patriarch Peter III's analogy of the five patriarchates to the five equal senses, working together in harmony within the body of the Church, whose only head is Jesus Christ, Who promised to be with us forever until the end of the age?
Just as the Antiochian Patriarch Peter III was bold in this ecclesiastical theology, which was contained in his correspondence with Rome and the Latin world, he was equally bold and faithful to the authentic Orthodox ecclesiastical theology in his interaction with the Ecumenical Patriarch Michael Cerularius, when he reminded him that "the Apostolic See of Antioch is not under the See of Constantinople." 
It would have been desirable for the contemporaries of the Patriarch of Antioch to hear his voice and realize that there is no place for lust, power, and domination in the Body of Christ! It would be desirable for our brothers today, who refuse to resort to conciliarity and claim primacy of Sees and their infallibility, hear the words of this Patriarch. Suppressing the conciliar sense is a sin. Conciliarity is the starting point for anyone who wants to maintain unity, and who does not want to isolate and marginalize others.
However, history, even church history, is not always written by the wise and saints, and therefore the wisdom of the Patriarch of Antioch did not resonate with the disputants, and the schism between East and West was perpetuated and deepened with the passage of time, and tragedies succeeded. Antioch was not spared the repercussions of the great schism and the struggle for power, and this part of the Church turned into a land of conquest and capture.
The schism deepened and took on existence and reality with the so-called Crusades that uprooted the Orthodox Antiochian patriarchs from their See and replaced them with Latin patriarchs.
Despite the severe hardships and persecutions that befell us in the Mamluk era and other eras, the leaders of the Church of Antioch never lost sight of the fact that the only response to attempts at unity, through coercion and material/worldly temptations, was total and complete devotion to the spirit of Orthodox conciliarity. Hence Antioch's rejection of the Council of Ferrara Florence in 1439, which was held on the verge of the fall of the Roman Empire. 
The years continued with their cruelty to Christians living in this tormented region of Antioch. With the advent of the Ottomans and the first attempts at Western colonization in the East, Rome sent missionaries to us, not to help persecuted Christians, but to entice them to join it, accompanied by promises of commercial and economic opportunities and political protections by the European powers, so those who became weak under such pressure joined it.
This situation was not because of the accusations that some attach against the Antiochian clergy about the alleged neglect of the parish and the so-called lack of spiritual care for the faithful. The patriarchs of Antioch since the seventeenth century, such as Meletius Karma (1634-1635), Makarios III Ibn Zaim (1648-1672), and Athanasius III Dabbas (1686-1724), spared no effort to educate the parish, secure its needs and preserve the Orthodox faith. Their efforts yielded a pastoral renaissance and cultural and spiritual renewal in the Patriarchate of Antioch. 
The themes of this conference will allow you to appreciate the renaissance vision that the Church of Antioch worked to achieve despite the harsh social situation and the challenges of the living conditions in the Middle East at that time. No matter how much some try to obscure or distort the facts, they are not able to hide what has been achieved in many areas, including: reviewing books, scientific and critical editing of texts, printing them in Arabic in printing presses, criteria for priest selection and for the election of bishops, educating priests in seminaries and theological schools, restoring many church buildings and icons, providing relief funds to needy families, opening schools for children's education, organizing spiritual courts and supervising their work, regulating marriage and personal status laws, and revitalizing monastic life in monasteries. Their labors were mixed with the sweat of perseverance, the tears of prayers, and the blood of martyrdom. They had a clear and correct vision of the ecclesiastical renaissance, and of how to establish the flock in the authentic Orthodox faith, despite the enormous pressure from inside and outside to destabilize Church life and the confidence of the faithful in the Church.
You will have the opportunity to see this renaissance movement carried out by the Antiochian patriarchs and bishops despite all the challenges and attempts to break in and sow dissension, and to carefully research all these subjects and events during the next two days, in order to draw lessons and prevent the recurrence of the same tragedies, especially in these difficult days in our countries, in which many at home seek alleged protections, and many abroad seek to buy consciences and loyalties and win over the needy people or weak souls.
Fraternally, I leave it to those who departed from us and joined the West, in accordance with an agreement that allowed them to preserve their rituals and maintain their patriarchal system, to evaluate the results of their choice, especially since this Balamand hill witnessed, not long ago, an Orthodox-Catholic dialogue and church meeting (1993), which examined the feasibility of this Uniatism as a way to achieve the desired unity between churches and dropped it from consideration as a feasible way in the efforts for unity. Pope John Paul II, with his usual boldness, apologized in 2000 to the Eastern Orthodox Church for the mistakes made by the Church of Rome, in the Middle Ages, towards the Christians of the East that led to Christian fragmentation.
From a paternal outlook, I say that our Antiochian See suffered because of the absence of fraternity and fell under a tutelage that had its own implications, but it was able at the beginning of the twentieth century to enter a new phase inaugurated by the election of Patriarch Meletius Al-Doumani.
In addition, I must thank God, because He has given us, Christians, the ability to be present in this Antiochian scope, to overcome difficulties, despite the twists and ruggedness of history, to bring us closer together, to remove the effects of division from our souls, to make us feel that we are one family of the Father. Our common life in this regard has increased our sense of the importance of our unity. It has made our relationships based on the encounter in Christ Jesus and not on formal courtesies. That is why we will continue to work together, to strengthen the bonds of fraternity and love among our Churches, and for achieving the united witness of Christ Jesus.
In this atmosphere of love, we must, at the Antiochian level, break through the barriers of history, tear down the remaining walls of enmity, abandon emotional courtesies and superficial closeness, translate our love for one another into a sincere revelation, activate local theological dialogue and deepen common historical research, so that we can strengthen our true Antiochian identity through joint scientific works that contribute to the healing of our historical memory. This healing process, as noted above, began on this Balamand hill thirty years ago, when Uniatism as a method to unite with Rome was rejected. Therefore, we hope that this conference, in which we desire to have a proper understanding of our history, be the first pillar, which establishes joint action with our brothers that will allow the history of that era to be read accurately and to dispel all ambiguities that marred it on the way to be fully healed from wounds and be in the service of the desired unity.
We have made great strides in our joint pastoral work, through the agreement between us and the Syriac Orthodox, and we were close to achieving a project of unity between us and the Rum Catholics, but the difference in the understanding of partnership, conciliarity and the relationship with the churches outside the Antiochian scope prevented the realization of this project. Should we give up and abandon the dream of Antiochian unity? Would it not be better for us to have the courage to insist on continuing to work in order to get as close as possible to this unity? Is not the vivid feeling of our children regarding unity of destiny and unity in witness and holiness an incentive to strive for the unity to which we all aspire and whom the glorious Lord Jesus has commanded us to follow? 
As I speak to you about Antioch, I remember the last Feast of Pascha that I held above the rubbles of the Antiochian historic cathedral recently destroyed by the earthquake, inflicting indescribable suffering on the people. Here, I take it as an opportunity to send my peace, love and blessing to our children in this city, and in Alexandretta and Mersin, and with them and through them I assure the world that we are children of hope, that we will rebuild what was destroyed, and we will remain witnesses in this land on which the Apostles walked. This land was sanctified by the blood of the martyrs, including the two hieromartyrs, Nicolas Khashe and his son Habib. Those two were martyred in the last century and their glorification will be studied by the Holy Synod in its upcoming meeting, and whose intercession we already ask for all of us and for this See which is preserved by the holiness of its believers throughout generations.
From this blessed Balamand hill, which is one of the places that has a vibrant presence for our Orthodox Church in our beloved Lebanon, I address all our fellow citizens to work together to formulate a vision that respects the pluralism that abounds in this country and its distinct communities, and to preserve the unity of Lebanon, a unity that highlights our values, and does not turn sectarianism into a tool for corruption and vitiation, to disrupt governance, to hinder the work of the state, and to oppress citizens. Hence, I address the consciences of all officials in this country, and in particular to the members of parliament, calling for the election of a President of the Lebanese Republic who will ensure the regularity of the work of institutions. I ask for divine mercy for the souls of those who died in the Beirut Port explosion, stressing that justice that ought not to be hindered by self-interests finds its way and prevail.
To the civilized world, to people of conscience wherever they are, I ask: Why making the Syrian people starve? What is the guilt of these people which makes you punish them by blocking food and medicine? Is it humane to deprive a human being of electricity, water, heating, and medicine? Is it humane for fathers to be unable to feed their children and mothers to live anxiously in order to secure a morsel of bread? Has politics become so criminal that it watches people die of hunger and oppression and remain indifferent? Isn't it time to lift the blockade on the Syrian people and lift the sanctions on them?
How can I not express the pain in our hearts over the case of the Archbishops of Aleppo, Youhanna Ibrahim and Boulos Yazigi, who have been kidnapped since April 2013? This bleeding wound in the body of the Antiochian Church will not heal until their fate is known, and their kidnapping will remain in our history as a painful picture of the oppression suffered by human beings living in this East.
As we stand here in the vicinity of the eternal Cedars, we must say a word of truth about what is happening in occupied Palestine. Palestine is crucified because of the self-interests of nations. Palestine is bleeding with the Nazarene on the calvary of tyranny. We support the Palestinian right to its land and to the effective establishment of its state. We stand by the side of these displaced people who are suffering from bitterness and siege, imprisonment, murder, and displacement. Peace cannot be formed on the bodies of children and slaughtered men, nor is it imported by shedding innocent blood. What is happening in Palestine is the result of the violation of human dignity, the contempt towards international law and all resolutions, racial discrimination policy, and the persistent imposition of the logic of oppression. Hence, our call is for the immediate cessation of the war on Gaza. The people of Gaza are paying the price of the suffocating siege with much blood. Our call also for us, Muslims and Christians, to see in Jerusalem a way up to the mercies of the Father of Lights. We ask the Holy Lord to send down His divine justice and mercy, and His peace which surpasses all human peace, a peace that cannot be established by blood and fire.
History has been harsh on us in this region, and it continues to be harsh, but we are loyal to this land, because it has been mixed with the soil of our fathers and with the blood of our saints. We are committed to bear love for all the inhabitants of this area with whom we were, and still are, partners in life and death and mistreated like them by external forces. We are the children of this land, and we do not seek foreign protections in it, but we seek to translate the teachings of the Gospel in this land. Let us convey the kindness and peace of Christ wherever we go. We are here to build this country on the values of love and decent morals with all good and sincere people. We are a loving bloc, not a sectarian bloc. We only aspire for the earth to be heaven and for history to be a history of God's lovingkindness, compassion, and love for mankind, not the history of sin.
In conclusion, three hundred years have passed, my dearly beloved, since the unfortunate schism of 1724 AD, which led to a rift in our Antiochian Orthodox Church, resulting in unfortunate and sad social, economic, and political repercussions, which reflected negatively on our parishes. It is our hope that this conference will add to the foundations we have put in place in order to restore unity and harmony between our church and the Rum Catholic church, and that it will also promote the strengthening of fraternal ties between the five patriarchates (which bear the name of Antioch), and stir the spirit of kinship among them so that our witness to the Lord of glory may be one.
May the Lord God bless you and bless this conference for the God’s glory, and for the good estate of the Church and Her unity, and for the prosperity of the country and the people.

Tuesday, September 26, 2023

Ioana Feodorov: Arabic Printing for the Christians in Ottoman Lands (Open-access Book)

Arabic Printing for the Christians in Ottoman Lands:

The East-European Connection

Arabic printing began in Eastern Europe and the Ottoman Levant through the association of the scholar and printer Antim the Iberian, later a metropolitan of Wallachia, and Athanasios III Dabbās, twice patriarch of Antioch, when the latter, as metropolitan of Aleppo, was sojourning in Bucharest. This partnership resulted in the first Greek and Arabic editions of the Book of the Divine Liturgies (Snagov, 1701) and the Horologion (Bucharest, 1702). With the tools and expertise that he acquired in Wallachia, Dabbās established in Aleppo in 1705 the first Arabic-type press in the Ottoman Empire. After the Church of Antioch divided into separate Greek Orthodox and Greek Catholic Patriarchates in 1724, a new press was opened for Arabic-speaking Greek Catholics by ʻAbdallāh Zāḫir in Ḫinšāra (Ḍūr al-Šuwayr), Lebanon. Likewise, in 1752-1753, a press active at the Church of Saint George in Beirut printed Orthodox books that preserved elements of the Aleppo editions and were reprinted for decades. This book tells the story of the first Arabic-type presses in the Ottoman Empire which provided church books to the Arabic-speaking Christians, irrespective of their confession, through the efforts of ecclesiastical leaders such as the patriarchs Silvester of Antioch and Sofronios II of Constantinople and financial support from East European rulers like prince Constantin Brâncoveanu and hetman Ivan Mazepa.

Download the entire book here. 

Sunday, September 17, 2023

Met Ephrem (Kyriakos) on the Jesus Prayer

Arabic original here.

The Jesus Prayer

"Most assuredly, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in My name He will give you. Until now you have asked nothing in My name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full" (John 16:23-24).

In the Bible, the name is seen and experienced as the presence of God Himself. The name holds a twofold power: on the one hand, feeling the living God , and on the other, knowing Him.

Jesus' name indicates the incarnation:

Before all else, the name 'Jesus' indicates the reason for God's coming in the flesh for our salvation. By taking on our nature, God shows that it is possible for us to also become sons of God. The name 'Jesus' means 'God is the Savior'.

God said to Moses that His name is 'I Am': great is the name of the Holy Trinity.

Jesus is the God-Man. He brings both together in His person and through Him it became possible for us to reach the Father.

Can man ask for anything more than that?

When the personal God, I Am, is revealed to us, the fundamental difference between Him and various deviations like yoga, Buddhism and even Transcendental Meditation, is revealed.

Of course, when our minds are turned away from every image, it is possible for meditation to grant us a sense of rest, peace and liberation from time and place.

But there is no sense of standing before a personal god.

This can lead to a state where the person who practices meditation comes to be content with the psychological results of such experiences.

In this way it turns one away from the living God in order to focus on that "nothingness".

The hesychastic technical method:

The one praying tries, by repeating Jesus' name, to connect the intellect to the heart.

This is after he has already focused on conforming his daily life to Christ's commandments.

The one praying takes an appropriate bodily posture, reciting the prayer while his head is bent towards his chest, taking a breath at the words "Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God," and exhaling at the words "have mercy on me a sinner."

In this way, he can keep his focus from wandering.

This method makes it possible for the one praying to keep his attention focused on the heart without resorting to psychosomatic methods.

Nevertheless, it is not possible to acquire true prayer through this technique because this only comes through faith and repentance.

The important thing is that we focus our attention on the name of Jesus Christ and on the words of the prayer.

When you feel the pain of sin crying out, the intellect naturally turns to the heart.

The full form of the Jesus Prayer is, "Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner."

Finally, when prayer becomes an automatic movement, it becomes fixed in the heart without any effort.

After the mind has become focused and at rest, prayer brings blessings. It comes like a delicate flame within us, like inspiration from the Most High, like joy in the heart with a feeling of divine love, delighting the intellect with spiritual contemplation.


Metropolitan of Tripoli, al-Koura and their Dependencies

Friday, September 15, 2023

Maria Mavroudi: Byzantine Translations from Arabic into Greek (Open Access)

Maria Mavroudi, "Byzantine Translations from Arabic into Greek: Old and New Historiography in Confluence and in Conflict," Journal of Late Antique, Islamic and Byzantine Studies 2.1-2 (2023): 215-288.


Scholarly demand to re-evaluate underappreciated cultures has grown since the 1980s. This generated a call to re-write the nineteenth-century narrative on the transmission of knowledge from the ancient Near East to the Graeco-Roman, Islamic, Western medieval, and early modern European world. The paper surveys the modern study of Byzantine translations from Arabic into Greek in order to propose a new narrative frame, no longer linear but attentive to continuous and bi-directional contact between medieval civilisations. The paper offers the contact between Byzantium and various parts of the Islamic world as an example. It discusses the presumed insularity of Byzantine literary culture and its relationship with ancient Greek literary heritage. Problems of dating, localising, and socially contextualising the translations (through information on their authors and patrons) are also examined.

The entire article can be read and downloaded in open access here.