Patriarch urges offering Lenten sacrifices for end to Middle East turmoil
Patriarch Gregorios III
Patriarch Gregorios III

.- Patriarch Gregorios III, head of the Melkite Greek-Catholic Church, is encouraging his faithful to offer their prayers and other Lenten observances for peace in Middle Eastern countries such as Egypt, Libya, and Tunisia.

The patriarch leads a worldwide flock of 1.6 million Eastern Catholics, most of whom either reside or have roots in Syria and Lebanon. In his Lenten letter for 2011, addressed to all clergy and laity of the Melkite Church, he explained the importance of Christian asceticism in light of current events.

“We can help our people’s way of the cross, sufferings and endurance to become the way of resurrection,” the patriarch wrote.

“Through fasting, prayer, penitence, alms-giving, works of charity and mercy, we accompany the birth-pangs of several of our Arab countries, shaken from the beginning of this year by painful events.”

Patriarch Gregorios said he hopes that the ongoing turmoil, particularly in many North African countries, would eventually lead to “social justice, rectitude in government, service for the well-being and development of Arab citizens,” and to their “spiritual, human and social progress.”

To encourage a spirit of sacrifice and union with the oppressed, he urged Melkite Catholics to observe their “sacred rule of fasting,” which differs from the traditional Roman Catholic discipline.

The Melkites' practice of fasting, also observed by Eastern Orthodox Christians, involves abstaining from most animal-derived foods – such as meat, eggs, and dairy products – for the entirety of Lent, and from wine and oil on most weekdays. 

“Despite different dispensations which were put in place for different situations in life,” observed the patriarch, “the discipline of fasting according to the old, Eastern tradition remains firm – and, thank God, fairly well practiced in many monastic religious institutions and among the clergy and faithful.”

Patriarch Gregorios also encouraged the faithful to revive the practice of tithing, as another form of solidarity with the poor and needy. He said that the contribution of one-tenth of one's income to the Church “has spiritual as well as social and humane aspects.”

“Indeed,” he reflected, “by observing this rule, we are practising charity to the poor, sick, sufferers, students, unemployed and anyone in need.”

The patriarch has been strongly emphasizing the importance of worldwide solidarity with Middle Eastern Christians. In another recent message, he asked “all Christian people” to remember the bond between themselves and other believers, “at this very difficult moment for Arab countries.”

Patriarch Gregorios quoted the words of St. Paul to remind his followers that “in the body of Christ, when one member suffers, all the members suffer with it.”

During Lent, he said, “we shall not be merely passively following events on the media, but actively praying for justice, social peace, unity and liberty.”

Ads by AdsLiveMedia(What's this?)

* The number of messages that can be online is limited. CNA reserves the right to edit messages for content and tone. Comments and opinions expressed by users do not necessarily reflect the opinions or beliefs of CNA. CNA will not publish comments with abusive language, insults or links to other pages


Ads by Google (What's this?)

Featured Videos

A state without territory elects new government
A state without territory elects new government
The renewal of the Legionaries of Christ
Presentation of the book "The Pastor"
Synod on the Family October 2014
Preferential option for the poor
God is alive, even in sport
'A forbidden God' named Best Film at the International Catholic Film Festival
Vatican backs a 'Pause for Peace' during World Cup final
The effects of religious violence in Sarajevo 
The origin of Corpus Christi 
Corpus Christi at the Vatican 
Homage to an Indian Cardinal
Train of the Child's Light
New book explaining gestures of the Mass
Encounter between Pope Francis and the Charismatic Renewal in the Spirit Movement.
Religious tensions subside amid Balkan floods
John Paul II Center for Studies on Marriage and Family
Saint John Paul II on cartoon
Syrian Christian refugees
Papal Foundation Pilgrimage

Liturgical Calendar

July 24, 2014

Thursday of the Sixteenth Week in Ordinary Time

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Mt 13:10-17


Daily Readings

First Reading:: Jer 2: 1-3, 7-8, 12-13
Gospel:: Mt 13: 10-17

Saint of the Day

St. Charbel Makhlouf »


Homily of the Day

Mt 13:10-17


Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com
Text only

Follow us: