I come to you from Antioch holding for you in my…
His Beatitude John X’s speech in the Thanksgiving Prayer, the Patriarchal Residency’s Church
The first visit to Moscow and all Russia
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Behold! I come to you in my first irenic visit , with peace in Christ Who is born in Bethlehem, Who revealed Himself to the world as an unapproachable Light.
I come to you holding the peace of Christ from the land has been filled with His Holy name since the dawn of Christianity.
I come to you from Antioch holding for you in my heart the prayer of every child, woman and old.
I come to you from the vicinity of Sidon and Galilee, and from where Saint Paul was converted and baptized.
I come to you from the region of Ignatius the God-bearer, and from the vicinity of St. Simon’s column in Aleppo, and from the path of Saint Theckla in Maaloula.
I come to you as an ambassador of love sent from our Antiochian people carrying with me their faith full of life.
I come to you today bringing in my heart, unfortunately, the sighs of the mothers, the moans of the children, the pain of the olds because of what is happening in Syria and in our region, and what is called “the spring”.
In the history, the school of Antioch lived what is called “the theology of incarnation” intellectually and practically. And till now Antiochians are still living in their East the incarnational dimension of their faith. So that, when they remember the history of holiness in their land, and the greatness of the Fathers of Antioch they are not captured by the antiquity of history or become enchanted by the glory of the past, as much as being overwhelmed by the memory of the their Fathers’ holines. This holiness strengthens them in the real faith, motivating them to cling to their land, and being open toward the other, and forming a piece of the texture of the East.
I am here in order to bring you the love of Antioch, and to be enriched with your love and the love of my brothers in Russia. I am here among you in order to be strengthened with your piety, and to join my prayers to your, asking the Child of Bethlehem to keep you, Your Holiness, and to grant the people of Russia, prosperity, growth and peace. I am amongst you in order to share your concerns and to share with you the concerns of the Church of Antioch and Her people as members of the same body, the body of Christ. We have known you as a brother visiting our troubled country at the middle of the agitation. We pray for God so that He maintains peace in your country, giving peace to ours, and giving us the chance to receive you there when peace prevails so that you may have a contact with our good-hearted people closely, who are bearing the cross of misery in the East, waiting with unshaken hope the joy of resurrection with the help of the Lord of Resurrection.
In our cities and towns, you may hear the echoes of too many bells that were sent to us from Russia in the late 19th century, hanged by our ancestors, challenging poverty and cruelty of time. These bells are still ringing today, sounding the voice of a Christian-Orthodox fraternity in a full harmony with the voice of love and openness toward our social spectrum. We say it with no fear: these bells are going to keep ringing, so that everyone may know that we are remaining in our East, supported by the power of our hope, and the prayers of our brothers, relying on the Creator. May His name be blessed and glorified - now and ever, Amen.
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