My dear brothers and sisters in Christ.
I presume that you are all awaiting to receive the annual news bulletin on Soufanieh. I apologise for the delay in writing it.
What can I tell you ?
The doors of the Soufanieh house are still wide open and with no time restriction. The daily prayer continues. Gratuity is maintained with intransigence. Reproductions of the icon, books and cotton wool soaked with the miraculous oil are distributed or sent out free of charge all over the world.
We have declined all invitations to the U.S. in 1998. On the other hand, Myrna was invited by a Dutch family in April 1998 to go to Portugal and visit Fatima. She enjoyed it very much despite the shortness of the trip. She was fortunate to visit the Carmelite Sisters of Coïmbra. The sign of the oil, which appeared on Myrna's hands, gave her the occasion of a short encounter with Sister Lucia, to the immense joy of both.
Myrna has also travelled very frequently to Lebanon for prayer meetings and testimonies, in various parishes. Practically always, the oil would exude from her hands, with sometimes, astonishing predictability.
The number of visitors, especially the French ones, has substantially increased. These visitors are of two kinds:
b) Other groups who show up for a short visit, while in Damascus, without
pursuing their initial contact.
2) A brief and excellent summary in Arabic on the whole Soufanieh phenomenon,
by Mr. Adib Mousleh. This summary has now been published in Montreal and
is available free of charge.
c) The final video editing of Myrna's trip to Canada in June 1997 was
produced by Rassemblement à Son Image (Mr. André Rostworowski).
This cassette is labelled : Soufanieh: Appel à l'Unité
(in french) and is readily available. The Arabic version will be available
in March 1999.
Many friends from Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, France, Belgium, Canada and the U.S. were present. The bigger than expected attendance made it impossible for us to organise the two day retreat that we had planned. We were to elaborate a common work plan destined to set-up the international organisation of the mission of Soufanieh, as well as to discuss the publication of a news bulletin.
Two celebrations took place in Damascus:
- A solemn mass took place at the church of the Franciscan fathers in
Bab Touma (Damascus), on Friday November 27th at 11:00 a.m. The Apostolic
Nuncio himself, Mgr. Pierre Giacomo de Nicolo celebrated it. Several other
priests and four Catholic bishops concelebrated with him, namely:
Mgr. Isidore Battikha delivered the homily after the reading of the Gospel. As for the Apostolic Nuncio he delivered his sermon at the end of the mass.
There was no oil exudation during the mass. However, one must mention the reading, just before the mass, of a letter-testimony sent by the Greek-Orthodox Archmandrite Eugene Pappas of New York . This text is of prophetic breath and was read in English, French and Arabic. I find it useful, even necessary, to reproduce it, in its entirety, for the joy of all. Isn't this text, in itself, more than a sign?
It is worth noting that the Lebanese TV channel, Télé-Lumière, has covered and recorded in its totality, the two ceremonies of November 26th and 27th.
Concelebrated with him:
Were also present : Father Paul Kara, Greek-Orthodox, and several nuns from the Sisters of Mercy and Our Lady of the Rosary. Over 1000 persons were present. The letter from Archmandrite Eugene Pappas was read in English.
6. Rosary of Our Lady of Soufanieh
Radio Ville-Marie in Montreal (Canada) has broadcast the prayer of the rosary during 5 days, from November 23rd to 27th. It included 25 extracts from the Soufanieh Messages, encompassing the sorrowful, joyous and glorious mysteries for thirty minutes each day, in five languages (French, English, Italian, Arabic and Armenian). This was prayed by both adults and children and sung in Arabic. Close to 300.000 persons discovered Soufanieh on that occasion. The permanent Latin deacon Jean-Marie Champagne, from Jésus Marie et Notre-Temps, had organised the recording at the house of the Sara family, two weeks earlier. This cassette is available free of charge. Please contact the Association of Our Lady of Soufanieh in Montreal.
b) Preparing a laser audio compact laser disc (CD). It will contain 12 songs sung by Myrna as well as the reading of some extracts from the Soufanieh messages (74 minutes).
c) Translation of Dr. Philippe Loron's book "Constat Médical" into English.
d) Working on an Audio tape Meditation of the Rosary in Arabic based on the Soufanieh messages (all of the 15 mysteries) (60 minutes).
e) The Spanish book entitled "Milagro in Damascus" written by M. Venitio Urdaneta (Peru) will be on the Internet within three months.
f) Translation into Portuguese of the book "Souvenez-vous de Dieu" is being worked on. At first, it will be on the Internet within six months; subsequently, it will be available in pocket book form.
g) A scientifically oriented video on UNITY has recently been recorded in France by Gabriel Berberian (50 minutes). It is entitled "Soufanieh: a mystical case of Christian Unity". The French neurologist Philippe Loron explains to us what Unity means from a medical point of view. He explains to us the Soufanieh phenomenon seen through the eyes of a neurologist.
h) A petition for the Unity of the Easter feast is appended to this bulletin. Please circulate same and send it back to us, once it is filled out. Five thousand signatures have already been recorded in Montreal and Chicago.
Let us also remember to pray for Peace in the world, specially in the Near East, as well as for the Unity of the Church.
May 1999 be a step forward towards Peace and Unity which God alone can
Father Elias Zahlaoui
Église Notre-Dame de Damas
Koussour - Damas, Syrie
Tel: 96 311 4450999
Fax of a friend : 96 311 2245816
In order to obtain the video cassette of the 16th anniversary celebrations in Montreal and/or the audio cassette of the Rosary, please contact:
Association Notre-Dame de Soufanieh
955 - 40 Avenue, Lachine, P.Q. Canada
Tel: 514 634 0371
In order to obtain the video cassette of Rassemblement à Son Image, please contact:
Rassemblement à Son Image
63, rue Jeanne Léger
78150 Le Chestnay
by His Excellency, the Apostolic Nuncio in Syria,
Mgr. Pier Giacomo de Nicolo,
at the Latin church for the Franciscans in Bab-Touma (Damascus)
Damascus, November 27th, 1998.
My dear brothers and sisters,
We have just lived together an intense hour of prayer during which the Divine Grace has overwhelmed us through the intercession of Our Lady, and during which the real joy, fruit of the Holy Spirit, has flooded our hearts.
This joy is all the more great since three bishops of this capital, Their Excellencies Mgr. Antoine Hamid Mourani, Maronite archbishop, Mgr. Joseph Arnaouti, Armenian Catholic archbishop, Mgr. Isidore Battikha, Melkite Catholic Patriarchal Vicar and Mgr. Georges Riachi, Melkite Catholic bishop of Tripoli (Lebanon) have concelebrated this divine liturgy, thus proving once more their pastoral zeal. To each of them, grateful thanks from all of us. Don't we find there a beautiful expression of Unity in Christ to which Our Lady of Soufanieh has been calling us all for the past sixteen years?
In this respect, and more specifically, as far as all the phenomenons which have revolved around Soufanieh are concerned - one must declare it clearly, above everything else - we do not wish in any way to anticipate the final judgement of the Church, but we simply appeal to a prudent Christian discernment, sustained by faith and the teachings of that same Church.
Aren't we answering this maternal call, with our prayers throughout the Holy Mass, a fact which is expressed so deeply by the Arabic saying: "Al Oum bit limm - The mother gathers"?
Let us thank Our Lord Jesus for having sent us His Mother, the Theotokos, in order to bring us all back to the unique Home of Our Father in Heaven, through prayer, penance, love and contrition. Let us thank Him to have made use of such a small icon representing His great and humble Mother, so as to remind us all, without exception, that we are children of Our Father in Heaven and not uprooted beings without future.
Let us thank Him for having chosen Damascus in order to show the strength of His Mercy, the way he showed it two thousand years ago, when Saint Paul was stricken and filled with His Light, to become later His great apostle and missionary.
Let us thank Him also for having chosen a young couple, six months only after the celebration of their wedding, in order to remind us that marriage is and still remains a Divine Sacrament, namely an aspect of life so desired by God the Father since the beginnings of time and consecrated by the grace of His Son Jesus-Christ, Saviour, at a time when known forces as well as occult powers try in every way to destroy it.
Let us thank Him for having reminded us through the voice of His All-Holy Mother that the child, within marriage, is a "gift from Heaven", at a time when in millions of cases, life is aborted at its beginning, either in a criminal way or in an unfair legalised fashion.
Let us thank Him also for having blessed the whole Arab world through the exceptional presence of the Virgin Mary in Damascus, thus reminding us that the mystery of Redemption concerns all people, regardless of their origin and of their social or religious adherence.
Let us thank Him finally for the beautiful network of friendship, faith and prayer, that His Holy Mother weaves, throughout the world, from that modest house of Soufanieh, which is always open to prayer, in the most obvious gratuitousness, in order to remind the world that the wealth of mankind is God alone and that the Family cannot blossom in equilibrium and joy without, primarily searching for God through prayer.
Blessed are You, Lord Jesus, for having wanted to show Your presence, in the Church of Damascus and of Syria, through the protective solicitude of Your Mother, who fills our hearts with joy and peace.
GREEK ORTHODOX ARCHDIOCESE OF NORTH AND SOUTH AMERICA
UNDER THE SPIRITUAL JURISDICTION OF THE ECUMENICAL PATRIARCHATE
FIRST DISTRICT PRESBYTERS=
10 East 79th Street - New York, New York 10021
Beloved Myrna, Father Elias and faithful,
On this auspicious occasion of the Feast of Our Lady of Soufanieh, I join my heartfelt prayers, spiritual intentions and supplications with yours, so many miles away in Syria for the blessed intercession of our Gracious Mother of God (THEOTOKOS) LADY of SOUFANIEH to hear our prayers. We unite our prayers with a common intention to implore the Blessed Mother to carry our fragile and humble words and place them before the feet of Her Son, the Saviour, Christ Jesus. What more meaningful offering can we make that is truly ours, than to offer words, hymns of praise, expressions of thanksgiving, utterances of contrition and anticipated whispers of hope. All the rest we have and possess is truly not ours to claim, but rather belong in origin and essence to God, for He has created it all from nothingness. All that is ours, is our words, our prayers, and indeed our hopes.
As Christians all over the face of the world, we share a commonality of historical root and inherited promised destiny, personal salvation through Christ. Alas, we also share in the universal scandal of our division, disunity and disharmony. I chagrin to consider what pain our Jesus suffers in the face of such a rupture in the faith He divinely entrusted to us. Indeed among the many other causes we are compelled by conscience to support, consider and remedy, in this less than perfect world, we are urged to pray and work for the UNITY OF CHRIST'S CHURCH MILITANT. We must commence with the future unity in faith and practice of the two great churches of the East and West: the Greek Orthodox and Roman Catholic bodies. I truly believe that this must be our priority, since it is Christ's will "… all may be one", and others outside the faith "… will know us by our love for one another". Is this not the message divinely related to us through OUR LADY OF SOUFANIEH ? Can we dare to ignore this explicit command ?
Please know that on November 26th as so often before, I shall call upon the Holy Spirit to carry my prayers for Church Unity before the Throne of God. How I wish INSHA-ALLA (God willing) that next year or sooner the distance that separates us heart from heart, and soul from soul, may dissipate that we may rejoice in our unity of faith. I long to visit you.
God's blessings to all !!!
V. Rev. Archmandrite Eugene N. Pappas
"...that they all may be One, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also be One in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me." (Jn 17,21)
YES it is time to celebrate
together the Feast of Easter amongst ALL Christians, particularly between
Orthodox and Catholics.
THE CHURCH IS THE KINGDOM OF HEAVENS ON EARTH.
HE WHO DIVIDED IT HAS SINNED,
AND HE WHO REJOICES FROM ITS DIVISION HAS ALSO SINNED.
CONTACT / INFORMATION:
549 - 39TH AVENUE
LACHINE, P.Q. CANADA - H8T 2G7 - TEL: 514 634 0371