09/02/2013, 00.00
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.

Damascus ( 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.

The 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. "

The 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 Syria. For 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. )

 

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