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Message of Resurrection of His Beatitude Patriarch Mar Ignatius Youssef III YOUNAN


Following you can read the Message of Resurrection of His Beatitude Mar Ignatius Youssef III YOUNAN, Patriarch of Antioch for Syriac Catholic Church:


Nr. Prot.: 55/2018

Date: 28.3.2018


The Message of Resurrection 2018


To our brothers, Archbishops and Bishops, 

Fathers of our Holy Synod of Antioch,

To the Priests, Deacons, religious consecrated men and women,

To all the faithful people in Lebanon, 

In the Middle East and the Church of Extension


"My Lord and my God!"

1. Introduction

    This exclamation of the Apostle Thomas: "My Lord and my God!" narrated in the gospel is the confession of faith of the unbelieving apostle who doubted the testimony of the ten other apostles filled with joy for seeing the risen Master! It is because of his unbelief that Jesus tells us, "Blessed are they who did not see me and believed" (John 20: 28-29).

    The Lord invites us to renew our faith in His resurrection, by which He has abolished death. It is by commemorating his Passion and Resurrection that we celebrate the triumph of life over death, light over darkness, truth over lies, peace over violence and joy over grief.

    We write to you all, dear brothers, sons and daughters in the Lord, wherever you are, in the Middle East and in the Diaspora, to express with great joy our prayerful wishes of a Holy and Happy Easter. We implore the Risen Redeemer to grant you and all your beloved, his promise of peace and joy to continue your pilgrimage on earth, as witnesses of love, hope and truth.


                   2. Apparitions confirming the faith of the disciples

    The apparitions of the Resurrected to his beloved ones happened in different places and types. The first one was revealed to the women, either by the angel or by the Lord himself. This is the angel's message to the women who went to the grave at dawn on Sunday, to embalm the body of Jesus: "Do not be afraid, you seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified; He has risen! He is not here; here is the place where they laid Him" (Mark 16: 6). The holy women were mandated to announce this outstanding revelation to the disciples.

    That same Sunday evening, Jesus appeared to His disciples who gathered at the house with the doors closed, for fear of those who had led their Divine Master to crucifixion. He saluted them with "Peace be with you!" Some of them, however, remained doubtful and extremely confused. They needed more proves!

    On several occasions the Risen Lord appeared to his disciples, to encourage them, to confirm their faith and to send them to become his witnesses by evangelizing the peoples: "Go therefore, make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit”. Then, the two other very moving appearances, when Jesus appears to the disciples going to Emmaus and to the apostles who gave themselves an appointment for fishing at the lake of Tiberias.


                    3. The Resurrection: foundation of our faith

    The Resurrection of the Lord Jesus became the central point of our Christian faith: "And if Christ has not risen then our preaching is vain, and your faith also is vain" (1 Corinthians 15:14).

    We recall that by his death, Christ freed us from sin, and through his resurrection he conquered death, giving us the assurance of new life.

    The Christian faith is based on confessing the Lord’s Resurrection. We therefore, during the Easter Season, have the very commendable custom of exchanging greetings with this beautiful greeting: "Christ is risen! He truly is risen!".


                     4. Believing in the Resurrection: a gift from God

     Confessing that Jesus is risen for our salvation is a gift from God. This is what the Lord reminded Simon Peter when he recognized him Son of God, in Caesarea of Philip: "It is not flesh and blood that have revealed it to you, but is my Father who is in heaven" (Matthew 16:17).

    “Faith is man's response to God who reveals His Truth, so that the believer may enter into communion with God by grace; then man will submit his spirit and will to God and agrees to conform with what God reveals to him” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 26, 142-143).

    On the evening of the resurrection, the risen Savior breathed on the Apostles and said to them: “Receive the Holy Spirit”. By doing so He filled their hearts with peace and joy! "Without the Holy Spirit, no one can say: Jesus is the Lord!” (1 Corinthians 12,3).


                       5. The Resurrection: message of peace and hope

    Our Syriac Church in Antioch, which has suffered so much over the centuries, emphasizes the theme of peace in the Easter liturgical celebration. It is with a blessing of peace that the Risen Lord begins his many appearances to the disciples. This is why our Church celebrates the "rite of peace" preceding the divine liturgy on the Resurrection Sunday, to beg the Risen One to make His peace reign throughout the world.

    In this blessed season, we pray and hope that a just and lasting peace will prevail in our countries in the Middle-East. they have suffered so much and so long, due to destructive conflicts and suffocating economic crises.


    Our thoughts go to Lebanon, a country dear to all of us, which deserves our highest consideration and unconditional support. It is time for this small country to overcome the problems threatening its identity and its very existence; security problems, as well as economic and environmental challenges. The fragile balance of Lebanon is threatened mainly because of the influx of over one million of refugees fleeing Syria and Iraq; but also because of external interference.

    We are thankful to God almighty that, after nine years of postponement, parliamentary elections will finally take place next May. We reiterate our demand that justice be done for our two Syriac communities, Catholic and Orthodox, to have two seats in parliament. Our Syriac community is recognized by its deep commitment to Lebanon, for which it has offered thousands of martyrs who sacrificed themselves for the independence and freedom of this beloved country called a “Mission” for the region and the whole world.


    Syria, this neighboring country, continues to suffer, because of bloody conflicts that have been going on for eight years now. We deplore the devastating results of this hecatomb: hundreds of thousands of dead and wounded, millions of uprooted and displaced, destroyed infrastructure and the morale of the people on the verge of despair. For this reason, we repeat that Christians from this country, cradle of Christianity, were betrayed by their brothers in the faith in the West, because of the opportunism of political leaders and the complicity of the agglomerated media.

    We pray that the efforts of the national government and the majority of the people inside Syria, or by regional and international countries, will put an end to this absurd and horribly destructive conflict. It is most urgent to stop the flow of weapons and terrorists who continue to ravage this country. This is a necessary condition for laying the real foundations of reconciliation, peace and justice. Indeed restoring stability in Syria is a vital issue for the survival of its many minorities, especially Christians. It is also a matter of a lasting peaceful coexistence for neighboring Lebanon.

    We also renew our request to release all the kidnapped religious, civil and military, especially the two archbishops of Aleppo, Mar Gregorios Yohanna Ibrahim and BoulosYaziji, as well as the priests Paolo Dall'Oglio, Ishac Mahfoud, and Michel Kayal.


    As of Iraq, the historic Mesopotamia so much wounded and devastated by sectarian conflicts and wars, the Resurrection shall be an announcement of hope and salvation, the triumph of the will of life over death, and of love over hatred. The Iraqi people strive to an altimate victory over the dark ideas of the "takfirists" who sowed terror and committed the horrible massacres out of religious fanaticism and radicalism.

    Tens of thousands of Christians have been uprooted from their homeland, in the Nineveh Plain, following the deadly attacks and threats of the Daesh criminal gangs, back in the summer of 2014. We beg the Risen Lord to restore peace and stability in Iraq that was a playground for outside countries, hungry for power and greedy for its material wealth.

    We urge Iraqi officials, whether in the central government of Baghdad or Kurdistan, to embark on a courageous dialogue that would inspire confidence in all citizens. May they honestly work on modernizing the constitution of their nation with principles of democracy and equality without any discrimination of religion or ethnicity. May the promises of the candidates to the next legislative elections be sincere and authentic.

    We encourage our dear Christian faithful who were uprooted, displaced within Iraq or exiled around the world, to return to their homeland and to work on consolidating their unity so that their voices can be heard. The unity of Christians is a guaranty for their survival and one of important factors for the future of a free, democratic and pluralistic Iraq.


    We are so much concerned about Palestine, the Holy Land where our Lord was born, put to death and resurrected. We aspire, like its inhabitants of good will, to a just and lasting peace, and this, by a sincere and uplifting reconciliation. We continue to pray that the divine resurrected inspire peoples and religious communities in the Holy Land, to establish a real and honest mutual acceptance, to the glory of almighty God worshipped by all of them.

    We owe to renew the appeal of His Holiness the Pope, the sister churches and the international community, so that Jerusalem be the world capital of peace and dialogue par excellence. May this holy city rediscover her true vocation of being a bridge that brings together the faithful of all three religions from all over the world, and that she remains God of Abraham wanted, a true "Jerusalem": city of peace!


                          6. Words of thanks

    We cannot forget the testimony of Christian charity that the Catholic communities brought to their brothers and sisters horribly tested in the Middle East. It is through their prayers and effective solidarity that Christians of Syria and Iraq were able to face all kinds of dangers, steadfast in the faith and faithful to the Lord who promised not to abandon His little flock.

    We would like to express our deep gratitude to all Christian and Humanitarian Aid associations that have assisted and continue to do so, offering generously their financial assistance, and sending volunteers to help accelerate the return of our uprooted communities to their homeland. A special thank-you to Oeuvre-d'Orient, Aid to the Church in Need, the Knights of Columbus, CNEWA, Caritas Internationalis and many other Catholic organizations and dioceses around the world.

    We have to recall a moving example of charity extended by our sister-church of the Catholic Syrian Malankara, offering a a generous fraternal contribution for our refugees, during our last visit to Kerala in September 2017.

                          7. INVOCATION

    O Lord Jesus, on the evening of your Resurrection, you greeted your disciples with “Peace be with you!” to dispel from them fear and confusion. On the eighth day you appeared again and convinced by compassion the doubtful Thomas, to be believer in Your victory over death.

    We beg you to confirm us in faith, to strengthen our weakness and to remove from us fear and doubt; so that by the example of St. Thomas, we might recognize You as our true "Lord and God".


    Praise be to You in the unity of the Father and the Holy Spirit, One God, now and forever, amen.




    Ignatius Youssef III YOUNAN

    Patriarch of Antioch for SyriacCatholic Church


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