Melkite Greek-Catholic Church Patriarchate
of Antioch and all the East, of Alexandria and of Jerusalem


Dear sisters and brothers,

I address this message to all of you who are helping us through ACN. I send you my greetings and my blessing from Syria, the cradle of Christianity.

For five years now we have been journeying through the desert. Your constant help has been for us like the manna that the Lord sent the Israelites, to save them from starvation. You have constantly accompanied us along this difficult journey, and our suffering people know that they can count on you.

Now that Ash Wednesday is drawing near, I would like to extend a heartfelt invitation to you to join us in a day of fasting and prayer, during which we intend to pray together, beseeching God to grant our country the peace so long desired at last. Day after day our faith is put to the test. We witness the suffering of the children, the agony of their parents; we are surrounded by hatred and death. We desire only to be able to live once more in peace in our beloved homeland.

We believe unshakeably that the way of the Cross is necessary in order to reach the glory of the Resurrection. Nonetheless, even the Lord himself had comforters and helpers on His way to Golgotha – Simeon of Cyrene helped Him to carry the Cross, St Veronica wiped His face with the sudarium, His most holy Mother and the apostle John stood beneath the Cross as He stretched out His arms in death. Thus we too may likewise count on the consolation and support of our brothers and sisters, and so we ask you to continue to stay close to us.

I had the opportunity to meet many of you personally. Your prayers, your encouragement and your support are helping us on our way of sorrow. Therefore I would like to reiterate my invitation to you once again: Please fast and pray with us! It is impossible that the Lord will not hear the united prayers and sacrifices of his children. Thank you for everything you have done!

I remain united in prayer with you,

Gregorios III Laham,

Patriarch of Antioch and all the East, of Alexandria and of Jerusalem
Spiritual head of the Melkite Greek-Catholic Church