H.H. Patriarch Ignatius Zakka's Encyclical on Fr Abdel's Martyrdom
- From: Syriac Orthodox Resources and Dr Thomas Joseph
Sent: Wednesday, April 09, 2008 1:13 AM
To His Eminence, our brother in Christ, Mor Severius Hawa
Esteemed Archbishop of Baghdad and Basrah
After prayers and peace in the Lord, we say:
With great sorrow we received the news of the martyrdom of the late Reverend
Father Yousef Adel Abboudi the parish priest of St. Severius the Great, who
was slain for sticking to the faith in the Lord Jesus in performing his
priestly duty. We cried for his departure because it is a great loss to the
Holy Church and his family. Our comfort is in knowing that his virtuous
spirit has joined the spirits of the martyrs who were seen by St. John the
apostle as wearing white robes, the robes of righteousness and holiness. And
we shall perform memorial prayers for him tomorrow at St. Ephraim the Syriac
church in Ma'arret Saidnaya. And even though we grieved for his loss on
earth, yet we believe that God's heavenly angels has received his soul with
praise and hymns of glory.
His disastrous loss is very great and painful. But although his virtuous
body was laid to rest on earth, yet we bid him farewell with strong faith
and surrender to God's will and hope for the general resurrection. We should
not surrender to grief but we must look on his departure through the eye of
faith and see his pious
spirit flying in paradise with the spirits of the martyrs, saints and devout
priests. St. Paul the apostle commands us not to grieve for "those who slept
in faith like people of no hope", specially that our beloved departed,
father Yousef, has granted the crown of martyrdom because of his faith in
the Lord Jesus and his devotion to Him, and we believe that the Lord Jesus
has prepared for him in heaven a crown of glory according to His promise.
In the face of such painful calamity we cannot but ask God Almighty through
the intercession of the righteous man of God, the slain priest Yousef, to
bring comfort to your eminence's heart and to his brothers the priests and
to his virtuous widow and his parents and his pious uncle, Archdeacon Bashir
Abboudi and all members of the family and parish whom he served selflessly.
And to grant us all the power to endure this sorrowful event with faith in
the Lord Jesus Who promised us that He will come again with great glory and
all those in the graves will hear His voice and come forth, those who have
done good to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil to the
resurrection of condemnation (John 5: 28-29). Let his soul be with the
saints who believed and done good works and let his memory be everlasting.
May the grace of God be with you.
(Our Father Who art in Heaven.).
H.H. Patriarch Ignatius Zakka
(Seal and Signature)