- CHRIST IS RISEN! TRULY HE IS RISEN!
"It is impossible for the mind to remain undisturbed by thoughts, but anyone
serious about the matter can certainly permit them entry or drive them away,
and although their origin does not lie entirely under our control we can
choose to approve of them and so adopt them."
St. John Cassian.
"Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to
those who are of the household of faith." Galatians 6:10
- "...many have endured great ascetic labors, much hardship and toil for God's
sake; but because they relied on their own judgment, lacked discrimination,
and failed to accept help from their neighbor, their many efforts proved
useless and vain."
St. Mark the Ascetic.
"Lift up your heads, O you gates! Lift up, you everlasting doors! And the
King of glory shall come in. Who is this King of glory? The Lord of hosts,
He is the King of glory." Psalms 24:9-10
- The Centre of Oriental Studies & Research of the Syriac Patrimony (Lebanon)
in cooperation with the Council of Churches in Aleppo, held the XIth Syriac
Patrimony Conference in Aleppo, Syria, from May 11 to 14, 2006. The
Conference theme was "St Ephrem the Syriac, a Poet of our Times� in
remembrance of the 1700 year of the poet�s birth (306 � 2006). It was
organized within the celebrations of Aleppo as a Capital of Islamic Culture
The opening session on Thursday 11th May was marked by the presence of high
level church and government officials, including H. E. the Syrian Minister
of Culture, H. H. Patriarch Mar Ignatius Zakka I Iwas of the Syrian Orthodox
Universal Church, a representative of the Lebanese Minister of Culture, the
Mayor of Aleppo, MECC General Secretary, the President of the Centre of
Oriental Study & Research from Lebanon.
In his opening speech, H.H. Patriarch Zakka Iwas mentioned that: "St Ephrem
the Syriac � the Syrian is not confined to one country nor to one nation,
neither to one confession of faith; rather he is confined to all humanity".
In turn, the Syrian Minister of Culture underlined that "Aleppo today is a
unique example of cultural diversity, interaction and dialogue between
cultures and civilizations". The Islamic culture, he said, is not a religion
but rather a common awareness and adoption of all other cultures". An
address sent by Lebanese President General Emile Lahoud, welcomed the idea
of the conference stressing that "religions and cultures can interact and
dialogue for the sake and happiness of humanity".
Throughout the two and half working days, several eminent scholars from
Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, UK, Germany and Belgium contributed to panels. They
spoke about St Ephrem's poetry and his impact on the spiritual life of the
different churches as well as on cultures all over the world.
In the closing session, the Grand Mufti of Syria Sheikh Ahmad Hassoun
praised the poetry of St Ephrem saying that, "after 1700 years, St Ephrem is
still alive among us in a land which is blessed by heaven", emphasizing the
universal nature of his poetry that touches all peoples� God, and its
spirituality which will last forever. He ended saying, "today is the
incarnation of heaven on all of us".
The conference ended with follow up recommendations to be carried out by the
Centre of Oriental Study & Research of the Syriac Patrimony.
The MECC staff in Aleppo was asked to undertake the documentation and
secretariat work of the conference, together with other members of the
Aleppo Ecumenical Committee. For further information, kindly contact Mr.
Razek Siriani at: rsiriani@... or visit the CERO Website at:
Middle East Council of Churches
Office of International Ecumenical Relations P.O. Box 5376, Beirut, Lebanon
Guirgis Ibrahim Saleh, General Secretary mecc@... or
- Reading: From the Gospel according to St. John 15:1-14
Dear and Respected Brethren,
As far as the children of Abraham, the Father of all the faithful, Pentecost
was a feast, on the fiftieth day after the feast of Pass over. On such a
feast day of Pentecost only, the early Christians, including the Apostles as
well as Mother of God and other few, were strengthened by God to continue
the mission of the Savior of the mankind and the universe. The Apostles and
others along with the blessed virgin Mother of God had waited for the Holy
Spirit with one accord, as per the instruction of our Lord Jesus Christ
prior to His blessed Ascension to Heaven. This is what we are learning in
the first and second chapters of the Acts of the Apostles. Though all
Christians have accepted the Holy Spirit through the Baptism and Holy
Mooron, our life in the world necessitates us to renew the Holy Spirit in us
and to keep it strong and full. Until recent years our faithful were eager
to renew the status of the Holy Spirit in them. But somehow or the other, we
are not so serious about the growth of the Holy Spirit in us. It seems that
our faith and observation of the traditions and rituals are not at all
serious. We all deal with them in a very cold mood. We must have a
self-revival and eagerness to follow the footsteps of our ancestors and
Kindly realize the uniqueness and very sweetness of the language used by our
Lord and Savior, while He is explaining about the relation between Him and
us. When we hear �I am the true vine and my Father is the gardener� we might
feel it as so simple, but in fact how deep are they and their inner
meanings? If we could see a healthy vine plant with lots of leaves and
fruits in our minds, we could realize a lot. The gardener would desire
plenty of fruits on all branches of the plant. In the 2nd verse it is
mentioned that what would happen to the branch that might not bear fruits.
We should not forget the truth that the faithful cannot do anything until
and unless they might stay in our Lord and Savior, like a branch cannot bear
fruits unless it�s connection with the main stem is strong and solid.
Let us see what Lord Jesus, is offering us in verse 8, who only guaranteed
that we could bear more fruits while staying in God the Father. �Herein is
my Father glorified, that you bear much fruit; so shall you be my
disciples.� We all must bear the fruits of the Holy Spirit, then only God
the Father�s name will be glorified and we all would be accepted as our
Lord�s disciples. Kindly read a similar exhortation in St. Matthew 5:16. and
Philippians 1:11. Now let us make sure about the number of fruits we have
utilized for the glory of God. Remember that all these fruits and many
others were granted to us free of cost. If our score is a big zero, we must
pray with a mind of repentance �Merciful God, kindly make use of us for your
glory�. We must humble ourselves and dedicate ourselves for His disposal.
Let us try to understand the deep meaning of the 9th verse. Let us try to
grasp the deep meaning of those words. Kindly separate a few seconds to
determine the love we enjoy from our Lord God. Let us try to maintain a
proper record of the love we enjoy from Lord God. Can we forget the
searching, caring and sharing love of our Savior? He wants us to exchange
the same style of love to our fellowmen. Our habitual nature is to say OK
for all sorts of exhortations and to forget/ignore them totally later.
Aren�t we? So let us take a decision slowly but wisely. Let us try to be
grateful to God for all sorts of blessings and graces we do enjoy in every
second. Let us take a decision to be good conductors of God�s love, as the
electric wires do their assignments. Let us also receive more and more love
from God and share them among the needy fellowmen.
In the 10th verse our Lord teaches us the way to remain in His love. It is a
very light and simple thing to obey our Lord�s commandments. What is our
Lord�s commandment? It is to love God and our own fellowmen without
reserves. Our Lord explains about it in the 11th and 12th verses.
Our Lord says that this is the right means to enjoy the complete joy in our
lives. Let us decide to which matter we are giving priority: to God Almighty
or something else. Let the Holy Spirit of God guide us in everyday lives.
God bless us all
Jose Kurian Puliyeril
- Dear beloved in Jesus Christ,
We celebrate the feast of the Pentecost this year on the 4th of
June. I feel that it is opportune at this time to think about the
We read in the Bible about the day of the Pentecost; "And when the
day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in
one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a
rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were
sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of
fire, and it sat upon each of them." (Acts 2:1-3)
The Holy Spirit is a Dynamic power in Spiritual life. There are
three personalities in God, Father, Son and the Holy Ghost (Spirit).
These three personalities have one essence, one authority, one will,
one nature, one thinking and one power. There is no difference
amongst the three in terms of status, power, size etc. It is
virtually impossible to understand this supernatural mystery of
this "Unity in The Trinity" with our material logic and
understanding. We know that the Light, Heat and Rays are integrated
with the sun and are not separable nor divisible. In the same
manner The Holy Trinity is one such spiritual mystery which needs
divine revelation to comprehend. God cannot be compared to any
other. To understand and know God, we need to experience Him.
Before our Lord Jesus ascended to heaven he promised us the gift of
the Holy Spirit. "And, being assembled together with them, commanded
them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the
promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me. For
John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the
Holy Ghost not many days hence." (Acts 1:4-5)
The manifestations of the Holy Spirit are manifold:
The Holy Spirit is the Great Comforter and Shield against sin. He is
the champion of Righteousness and Judgment. "Nevertheless I tell you
the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not
away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will
send him unto you. And when he is come, he will reprove the world of
sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:" (John 16:7-8)
The Holy Spirit is the driving force of the Gospel and makes
wondrous things happen."But ye shall receive power, after that the
Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both
in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the
uttermost part of the earth." (Acts 1:8) "Through mighty signs and
wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God; so that from Jerusalem,
and round about unto Illyricum, I have fully preached the gospel of
Christ." (Romans 15:19)
The Holy Spirit is the Source of all knowledge. "But God hath
revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all
things, yea, the deep things of God." (1 Corinthians 2:10) And there
is no way one can escape the power of the Holy Spirit. "Whither
shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy
presence? If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my
bed in hell, behold, thou art there." (Psalm 139:7-8)
And to speak against the Holy Spirit is unpardonable "Wherefore I
say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto
men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven
unto men. And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it
shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy
Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither
in the world to come." (Matthew 12:31-32) "And grieve not the holy
Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption."
Therefore we should strive to know and receive the Holy Spirit. We
should pray for the divine blessing in our lives. "And when he had
said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the
Holy Ghost." (John 20:22)
The Holy Spirit should dwell in our hearts "Who hath also sealed us,
and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts." (2 Corinthians
1:22). So that our mortal bodies are strengthened and we live a full
life. "But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead
dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also
quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you."
(Romans 8:11) And enjoy the fruits of the Spirit, "But the fruit of
the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness,
faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law."
The days of waiting has come to an end. We wish you all receive the
blessings of Holy Spirit abundantly and the Sprit is renewed in all
May God Bless you all.
Fr. Mathews Poozhikolel
Vicar, St: George Universal Syrian Orthodox Church, Kuwait