Hassaké ( Agenzia Fides) - A heartfelt invitation to fasting and prayer for peace in communion and in conjunction with the prayer vigil announced by Pope Francis for September 7, was sent to the Syrian-Orthodox Christian community by Eustathius Matta Roham, Syro-Orthodox Metropolitan Archbishop of "Jazirah and Euphrates", in the eastern part of Syria. Asked by Fides Agency, the Metropolitan, who is currently in Vienna, says that he and all his community "adhere strongly to the Pope’s appeal". To ward off evils such as war and violence, the Archbishop recalled the passage from the Gospel of Matthew (17:21) : "This kind of demons do not go out except by prayer and fasting".
This is why, the Archbishop told Fides, "we welcome the Holy Father’s invitation: our common prayer is much needed so that peace can prevail. Fasting is necessary to convert the heart and implore the intervention and the grace of Christ. Fasting and praying together, today: this is our mission. I am comforted because I see that many people in the world understand the situation and the urgency of peace".
Metropolitan Matta Roham reported to Fides that he has asked "the entire Christian Syrian Orthodox community in Syria but also the communities in diaspora around the world, to join in collective prayer and fasting, in the name of Christ, to implore the gift of peace".
As reported to Fides by the Archbishop, who in coming weeks will travel to Lebanon and Turkey for pastoral reasons, Orthodox and Protestant communities of different confessions in Lebanon and other Middle Eastern nations are mobilizing to pray and fast together on Saturday, September 7. (PA) (Agenzia Fides 03/09/2013)