A day of prayer for the Middle East

A day of prayer for the Middle East

At their recent plenary meeting, the Catholic Bishops of England and Wales reflected on the tragedy afflicting Syria and Gaza.

As one sign of solidarity with the peoples of the whole Middle East North Africa region, they asked that the Catholic community should mark 4 December as a day of prayer for all those suffering from injustice.

I have recorded a CBCEW podcast (see link at the foot of this article) to mark the occasion.

That date was chosen because it is the feast day of St John of Damascus and thus provides a way of linking the early Church with the living community of Middle Eastern Christians and their vocation as peace-builders.

The core prayer is that the example of St John’s life can serve to inspire Christians, Muslims and Jews alike to work for reconciliation and justice.

Prayer for Peace

O God of peace, who are peace itself
and whom a spirit of discord cannot grasp,
nor a violent mind receive,
grant that those who are one in heart
may persevere in what is good
and that those in conflict
may forget evil and so be healed.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

St John was born about 675 in Damascus (Syria) and died near Jerusalem about 749. He is understood to have followed his father as a Christian official in a Muslim government. Later he became a monk and later Priest at Mar Saba monastery near Jerusalem, where he was renowned as a theologian and biblical commentator.

* Podcast (MP3 format): http://www.catholicnews.org.uk/content/download/32025/230794/file/mena-d...

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© Harry Hagopian is an international lawyer, ecumenist and EU political consultant. He also acts as a Middle East and inter-faith advisor to the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England & Wales and as Middle East consultant to ACEP (Christians in Politics) in Paris. He is an Ekklesia associate and regular contributor (http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/HarryHagopian). Formerly an Executive Secretary of the Jerusalem Inter-Church Committee and Executive Director of the Middle East Council of Churches, he is now an international fellow, Sorbonne III University, Paris, consultant to the Campaign for Recognition of the Armenian Genocide (UK), Ecumenical consultant to the Primate of Armenian Church in UK & Ireland, and author of The Armenian Church in the Holy Land. Dr Hagopian’s own website is www.epektasis.net Follow him on Twitter here: @harryhagopian

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