Saturday, March 30, 2024

Daniel Ayuch: The Vision of Patriarch Ignatius IV of Antioch about the Diaspora

Daniel Ayuch, "The Vision of Patriarch Ignatius IV of Antioch about the Diaspora. A Thematic Survey and An Analysis of His Homilies and Publications," Ökumenisches Forum 43-46 (2024), 157-171.


There is a new demographic distribution of the Orthodox parishes in the world, and today the Orthodox people form part of different cultures, some of which are far away from the traditional milieu of the Mediterranean basin and the ancient world. Patriarch Ignatius noticed the depth of this radical change in the structure of the Church he had to serve and planned for the challenges to come not only for Antioch but also for the Pan-Orthodox world. The present article offers an analytical study of his sayings according to three essential aspects: the unity of the Antiochian See, witness, and education, and the future of the diaspora.


Read and download the article here.

Friday, March 29, 2024

Met Ephrem (Kyriakos): The Fast is Forgiveness and Reconiliation

 Arabic original here.

The Fast is Forgiveness and Reconciliation

The Sunday of the Publican and the Pharisee points to humility. Without humility, and spiritual work loses its value.

The purpose of the fast is to make one humble, to "deny oneself" (Mark 8:34).

The Sunday of the Prodigal Son points to repentance and to God the merciful Father.

The Sunday of the Last Judgment points to reckoning and salvation.

The Forgiveness Sunday is tied to mercy, love and reconciliation.

The word of reconciliation is the word of life (cf. Philippians 2:16 and 1 John 1:1).

Mercy and forgiveness lead to reconciliation with God and with others, push away resentment and hatred, and bring reconciliation.

"God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation" (2 Corinthians 5:19).

"God has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation" (2 Corinthians 5:18).

This reconciliation is reciprocal, but God's mercy is first of all His initiative, by means of the mystery of redemption, which causes us sinners to take the initiative to reconcile in Christ Jesus.

All of this is through the mystery of repentance, humility and forgiveness and it is also through love, mercy and redemption.

The fast is springtime for souls, when man is renewed and nature is renewed.

It is when joy, a springtime joy, must spread.

After all this, we hope and advise that mercy and forgiveness, and not resentment and hatred, prevail in every affair, for the sake of reconciliation in the mystery of Christ's redemption and great love. Amen.


Metropolitan of Tripoli, al-Koura and their Dependencies

Thursday, March 14, 2024

Bp Constantine Kayyal: Meatfare

Arabic original here.


The topic of today's Gospel passage is love.

The Lord Jesus gives a parable about the Last Judgment and affirms to us that the standard of judgment is love, personal and tangible love for the people that God puts along our way.

Love that corresponds to our social, economic and political interests and concerns is good and useful, but it is not pure and uniquely Christian love.

It is true that we are called to establish a just society governed by equality and brotherhood, but the true Christian love to which the Gospel calls us and on the basis of which humankind shall be judged is "that we love one another" and reconcile with one another so that all may know that we are Christ's disciples.

This is the true Church, the living Church of Christ, not a social or national institution.

The sole standard of judgment is man's relationship to his fellow man, not only man's relationship to God. Our sole path to heaven is through our fellow man.

Yesterday we prayed for our departed loved ones. We pray for them because we love them and so that we may encounter them in Christ who is love and in whom there is no difference between living and dead because all are alive. When we love Christ, we also love His elect because He endured disgrace and crucifixion for the salvation of all humankind.

Today we also remove meat from our tables in order to prepare to enter into greater struggle through fasting, prayer and self-discipline in order to make the soul close to others in order to draw closer to God.

The purpose of refraining from meat and its derivatives is to make money more available to give to our brothers in need out of love for them. This is the most important expression of true love and of the communion that exists between the members of the Church, the body of Christ.

Let us pray that our mighty God may grant us the strength and love to pass through this holy forty-day fast and to bear love for our brothers in our hearts and minds every day and every moment, so that we might be worthy to attain the most sublime goal, the fullness of the stature of Christ Jesus.

Bishop Constantine

Abbot of the Patriarchal Monastery of Mar Elias Shwayya

Sunday, March 3, 2024

Met Ephrem (Kyriakos): Faith and Prayer in the Thinking of the Fathers

 Arabic original here.

Faith and Prayer in the Thinking of the Fathers

"Faith is the substance of things hoped-for, the evidence of things not seen" (Hebrews 11:1).

Faith is also perfect trust in Christ, a trust that comes from His love for us and from His love for all creation.

Prayer comes out of our faith in Christ.

Saint Seraphim of Sarov says:

Prayer can bring down the Holy Spirit who transforms the bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ, and it can preserve the world's equilibrium.

Faithful prayer has an apostolic activity, in faith and through prayer we acquire great power.

All this results from our perfect trust in Christ.

We have said that faith is tied to prayer. Prayer leads one to God. At that point, grace leaks into one's heart.

Salvation is in Christ by His redemption and His love. "Your faith has saved you," said Jesus to the blind man of Jericho (Luke 18:42).

In the Bible there are many parables that reveal the power of faith which works miracles. All of them are tied to perfect faith in Christ.

The Lord Jesus said to the pagan Syro-Phoenician Canaanite woman (Mark 7:26): "'O woman, great is your faith! Let it be to you as you desire.' And her daughter was healed from that very hour" (Matthew 15:28).

Saint Gregory Palamas says, explaining this miracle: "Her tongue was moved by the Holy Spirit."

This means that her faith in Christ caused her to bring God's power to heal her daughter who was afflicted by the demon. Of course, all this was helped by her deep humility.

Faith in Christ only occurs and is active through one's liberation from the passions, especially through rejecting one's egoism.

The Canaanite woman also connected her faith to prayer when she cried out, "Lord, help me!"

Therefore, Saint Gregory Palamas says, "Humility is always tied to faith in Christ. Humility is fitting for the faithful and faith is fitting for the humble."

Faith in God grows and increases through repetition of the Jesus Prayer: "Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner!"


Metropolitan of Tripoli, al-Koura and their Dependencies