Presvytera Vassi Makris Haros is a graduate of the University of Cincinnati's College of Design, Art, Architecture & Planning and Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology. She is the owner, designer and photographer of V’s Cardbox, In Service and Love. a greeting card company featuring cards with an Orthodox voice. She strongly feels that experiencing the Orthodox Faith through the church’s cyclical calendar of feasts and fasts is a gift that is too often overlooked.
Is there hope? Here we are just a few weeks following the celebration of our Lord’s glorious resurrection, and we are struggling. The media is still reporting genocide. Christians from different countries are being beheaded, raped, and thrown overboard for their conviction to their faith. We are saddened, and they are dying. Various Christian leaders are heralding that we have reached the end times. The future of Christianity seems so very bleak.
Yet, in a recent statement from the Antioch Patriarchate regarding the two-year anniversary of the kidnapping of two bishops, two Metropolitans of Aleppo: His Eminence Paul (Yazigi) and His Eminence John (Abraham,) we find a message of hope, not of victimization. It speaks of a “trial” that is going on, a time for Christians to rise above the attack made upon them with hope for an active response to the situation. It speaks of “Good News.” It also speaks of mercy. Please take a moment to read it:
Our bishops, Paul and John, are on trial; what once characterized the beginning of the Christian Evangelization, now returns to the same geographical location, though with different personalities. It is a rare trial, not only in the East, but in the contemporary world. The convoluted nature of their kidnapping did not strike the terrestrials only, but the celestials also. In this struggle, the Great Judge will prevail, for He has the final ruling in this case; the case of True Man, and of True God.900
O brethren of the Word, in this trial of preaching.
O brethren of Faith, in this trial of dignity.
O brethren of hope, in this trial of endurance.
O brethren of faith, in the trial of conscience.
O brethren of blood, in the trial of immortality.
O brethren of truth, in the trial of the truth.
O brethren and compatriots, in the trial of unity.
O brethren of same destiny, this human and religious trial.
O brethren in humanity, on the judgment seat?
O brethren in completeness, is God’s judgment!
These are the ten categories of the brethren, and the “book” of our complete defense, which we “took out of the right hand of him that sat upon the throne.” (Rev 5:7). This is our good news to you; “Listen to them” (Acts 2:14), so great is our consolation in you. We are all aware that the trial is not over yet, as we have yet many rounds, according to the will of the Holy One. “What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? God forbid… What if God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction: and that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory… “(Romans 9:14; 22-23).
Click here to read the full statement
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