As a sign of solidarity with the people of Syria the Bishops of England and Wales are asking that the Catholic community marks Wednesday December 4 as a “Day of Prayer” for all the people who are suffering as a result of the conflict in the country.
The date was chosen because it is the feast day of St John of Damascus and thus provides a way of linking the early Church with the living community of Middle Eastern Christians and their vocation as peace-builders.
The Bishops pray that the example of
John’s life can serve to inspire Christians, Muslims
and Jews to work for reconciliation and justice.
They have announced the specific intention for
4 December 2013 to be “that all sides
involved in the conflict in Syria
will observe a peace truce between now and the Geneva
conference” on January 22 next year.
St John Damascene, or St John of Damascus, was a priest and is a Doctor of the Church. He was born about 675 in
, and died near Damascus,
He is understood to have followed his father as a Christian official in a Moslem government. Later he became a monk and later Priest at Mar
Saba monastery near Jerusalem,
where he was renowned as a theologian and biblical commentator.
He is remembered for his vigorous defence of the veneration of images against the iconoclasts, for his theological writings synthesising the thought of the Greek Fathers, and for his poetry and hymnody.
Prayer for Peace:
O God of peace, who are peace itself
and whom a spirit of discord cannot grasp,
nor a violent mind receive,
grant that those who are one in heart
may persevere in what is good
and that those in conflict
may forget evil and so be healed.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.
St John Damascene, pray for us.
Prayer text from Roman Missal © 2010 ICEL