17th anniversary of Our Lady of Soufanieh - 26 Novembre 1999
St-Joseph's Church, Damascus, Syria
Archmandrite Eugene N. Pappas' allocution;
Pastor of Three Hierarchs Greek-Orthodox Church
Brooklyn, New York, USA
My beloved Bishops,
My beloved brothers in Christ
My beloved faithful of the church of Christ;
I do not want to say the Greek-catholic church, the Greek-orthodox church, the Melkite church; the church of Christ; it all belongs to Him.
He owns the condominium and we have apartments.
We've come together here tonight because Jesus has called us through His Mother.
His mother who spoke to us in Soufanieh, who did not teach us any other message than the message of unity.
We read in the Bible that God made us all equal; but sometimes we don't preach that and act that among us.
And we believe that.
Sometimes we think that we are better than others.
And we want the first place at the table,
The first seat in the church;
We want the condominium penthouse apartments to be before and on top of everyone.
But Jesus did not preach that !
Jesus preached that the first be last; that he who had come to be served, to serve.
Jesus through His Mother gave us many gifts.
One gift is very difficult, yet it is a gift.
He gave us free will, to do as we must to.
Not as we want to do, but as we must do.
And what we must to is the will of God.
He looks upon this church with great pain.
A church that is fractured and splintered.
He wants to heal this wound with His Love.
In the Old Testament, in the times of the Jews, who were sometimes blind and sometimes very deaf to the Word of God, He sent his Prophets to tell His people what to do.
To bring them to His Heart.
To protect them.
To save them.
To heal them.
Now, we are living in the time of the New Testament.
He no longer sends Prophets and yet He has to come.
But He sends His Mother with a Message.
The Message in Soufanieh is Love, reconciliation, humility.
That is what we pray for;
That is what the bishop prays for;
That is what you pray for.
Unity in your family.
Unity in your community.
Unity in your parish.
Unity with your heart and God's Heart.
There is only one way to seek that unity and to achieve that unity, and that is to subject the other gift that God gave us :
to put it down, to subject it ; and that is our ego.
Once we can conquer our ego, and see Christ in every other person, then we become one with Him.
I bring to you like a voice crying in the wilderness a message of love.
I do not come carried by angels.
I came by Air France - who lost my luggage.
When I entered the Church, there were no trumpets.
So my message is simple but direct from my heart.
I pray for the day that we all join at the altar of God and break common bread and drink from a common cup as the external sign of our unity.
The internal sign is already there, we love one another.
I will like to end my comment by just singing one little prayer from the Paraclisis, with His Grace (Bishop Isidore Battikha) the Kirye Eleison.
Father then sings in Greek and oil appears suddenly from Myrna`s hands. The oil dripped on the floor. When looked at, the face of Christ is seen. Father then annoints himself with this oil and leaves. On the video: Father appears at 1:23:46; sings at 1:32:45 with Bishop Isidore Battikha - sings in Greek at 1:33:55 when the oil appears - anoints himself at 1:37:10