Would you please read the Christmas Message of His Beatitude Patriarch Patriarch Mor Ignatius Youssef III YOUNAN, Patriarch of Antioch for Syriac Catholic Church:
Nr. Prot.: 210/2016
To our brothers, Archbishops and Bishops,
Fathers of our Holy Synod of Antioch,
To the Priests, Deacons, religious and consecrated men and women,
To all the faithful people in Lebanon,
the Middle East and the Church of Extension
To you all my heartfelt salutations of peace and spiritual communion, with my best wishes of a Joyful and Holy Nativity Season that you may live throughout the New Year 2016 and well beyond. With you I am quite confident that we will deepen our faithfulness to our Lord Jesus Christ, the Word of God made man for our salvation.
The message of Christmas Night brought down by the angel to the humble shepherds of Bethlehem, still resonates year after year in our heart, as a message of peace, joy and reconciliation. A wonderful message that was crowned by the Angels chant: “Glory to God in the highest and peace on earth to people of good will” (Lc 2:14).
Today during this joyful season, our hearts and minds should be directed to our beloved brothers and sisters of Syria and Iraq, who will be deprived of the Christmas joy, having endured the horrible consequences of war, violence, and all kind of persecutions. They did suffer all this hardship because of their faithfulness to Jesus the Savior. We particularly think of those Christians who have been uprooted from their lands and driven out unjustly from their homes by barbarian terrorists, in Mosul and the Plain of Nineveh, Iraq. How would they welcome Christmas, but in tears and the fear for the future! How particularly children would cope with this horrendous situation?
We however, will assure them of our generous support and readiness to help. We will show them an effective solidarity that is offered without any reserve or condition, in order to alleviate their human basic needs, so they may live decently in the ongoing harsh winter.
We will offer them and express our spiritual communion and pray with them in their unbearable plight. We will keep speaking up and loud to defend them and fight for their human rights, pleading with the world civil and political instances, for justice and liberty for them and for all persecuted.
Jesus told his disciples: “Do not be afraid, little flock!”. Yes, Lord, as long You are with us, nothing will be able to separate us from You!
Merry Christmas and Happy 2016!
Ignatius Youssef III YOUNAN
Patriarch of Antioch for Syriac Catholic Church