On the threshold of this Marian month of August and as we are about to begin holding Paraklesis services, we summon the faithful of all our eparchies to prayer and fasting, in order to counter by prayer and fasting this wave of terrorism that is affecting one country after another around the world.
During this month of July, Germany was hit three times on successive days by this blind terrorism and today it was France, where Father Jacques Hamel was decapitated, just after celebrating Holy Mass. Then there were the dramas experienced by our dear Syria, especially over recent days in Aleppo and Qamishli, and by our dear Lebanon, with the tragedy that struck Qaa, not forgetting the assassination attempt upon our brother, the Syriac Orthodox Patriarch, Moran Mor Ignatius Aphrem II.
We are deeply saddened by these tragedies, (especially when Syrian refugees are involved) since they tend to provoke a backlash of hatred and racism towards other, peaceful refugees. We discussed this during our visits to our faithful who have taken refuge in Germany.
Echoing the words of our Lord, Jesus Christ, “This sort goeth not out but by prayer and fasting,” (Matthew 17: 21) we call once more for fasting and prayer to prepare for the Feast of the Dormition of the Mother of God, so that, at her intercession, we may drive out these crimes of terrorism and violence, through fasting and prayer.
In our own name and on behalf of our faithful, we offer our deep condolences to France and Germany, praying for the repose of the souls of all victims, the speedy recovery of the injured and the return of peace to all our countries.
Patriarch of Antioch and All the East
Of Alexandria and of Jerusalem
For the Melkite Greek Catholic Church