» 09/02/2013 14:16 SYRIA - VATICAN Gregory III : Syria and the Middle East united with Francis in prayer for peace According to the Patriarch of Antioch, the day of prayer established by the pope "confirms the love of Francis for this troubled land ." In all the parishes of Syria and the Middle East preparations for the day of fasting and prayer have already begun. And pilgrimages are made to the special Marian shrines of Saidnaya (Damascus ) and Lebanon . The churches will remain open until midnight in Syria despite the bombings and war.
AsiaNews) - "The day of prayer announced by the Pope is an extraordinary
gesture of peace, which confirms the great love of Francis for this troubled
land . I invite all Catholics, Orthodox , Muslims and non-believers to pray
with us for peace in Syria
and the Middle East", Gregory III Laham, Melkite Greek - Catholic Patriarch
of Antioch, of all the East, of
Alexandria and Jerusalem tells AsiaNews commenting
on the Day
of Prayer for Syria led by the pope to be held worldwide on 7 September from 19.00 to midnight.
prelate stresses that all the parishes of the Greek Melkite Church in the
Middle East and around the world have already begun preparations to respond to
the initiative". In Syria - continues Gregory III - we will keep our
churches open until midnight to allow everyone (Catholics, Orthodox and
Muslims) to pray. Vigils will be held wherever possible, even if there are
fewer than 10 people participating. "
Pope's initiative comes in the days when the United States, France and the Arab
League countries are discussing preparations for an armed intervention in
Gregory III , the spiritual closeness of Francis and the Church is central to
all the Syrian people - Christian and Muslim - who without support are likely
to lose hope. The
patriarch explained that on September 8, the feast of the Birth of Mary, very
much felt in the Middle East, especially in Syria and Lebanon. "
We entrust ourselves to the Virgin Mary - he concludes - to fasting and
prayer. There will be special
celebrations at the shrine of Saidnaya (Damascus ) and in the various Marian places
of worship around Lebanon." ( S.C. )