Issued by the Catholic Center for Studies and Media - Jordan. Editor-in-chief Fr. Rif'at Bader - موقع أبونا

Published on Thursday, 30 June 2022
Reflections on the Feast of the See of Antioch

Dr. Michel Abs/ secretary general of the Middle East Council of Churches :

It is the feast of the two apostles, Peter and Paul, the founders of the See of Antioch.


Today, after more than two millennia, we pause and reflect on the path of the Christian faith and the Church that embodies it, and which the Lord has built on the Rock.


This "small cluster" of fishermen, full of faith in their belief, was able to capture the world and establish it within the body of her love.


They were very few, the leaven of faith and righteousness, however they were able to possess the human race and bring it to the Faith.


Neither did horrors frighten the Church, nor did adversities deter her, because she carries in the depths of her bosom the faith of the Master.


From Antioch the fishermen set out to the world, to the unknown, laying their very lives on their hands, unaware of difficulties they encountered. Their final destination was one, clearly defined: Humankind!


How mighty are You, O Lord Incarnate, Who, in Your forsaking as well as in your presence, bestow the impetus of faith to all human beings!


How great are you, O apostles, who carried the faith and sowed it into the world, so that civilization, progress and culture blossomed up in its midst!


How you have affirmed the Lord and made all your works harder than the rock!

Neither predators frightened you, nor persecution shook your faith, nor anything on the face of the earth diverted you from your path.

How much appreciation and gratitude we feel towards you, O you who for what you have bequeathed us, to Antioch!


Having stemmed out from you first, and then carried by our forefathers, from generation to generation, Antioch remained until it reached us today, a vineyard with abundant shade and abundant fruit.


What a great heritage did Antioch bequeath to humanity be it in thought, science or culture through these two millennia!


O blessed Mother, who nurtures her children, all her children, always loving and tolerant, and whose warmth surrounds the world.


How many dragons have tried to annihilate you, and how many traitors have tried to stab you, and you, with your majesty and splendor, remained steadfastly resistant to the sin of malice and hatred.


You bear the wounds of the Master, who when being flogged in the presence of hypocrites, he walked the way to Golgotha, He was crucified and stabbed, and He forgave.


You are in the image of the Lord's Resurrection, rolling away all the rocks they try to bury you with.


Like the Master, you are strong in your forgiveness, tough in your love, there is no way to undermine your greatness.


Hail to you O Antioch and all hail to the two apostles who established you as well as to all the other apostles, all the righteous ones and all the martyrs.


Antioch, you are in safe hands that lead you in fields planted with thorns and thistles, walk you with wisdom and love, and whenever you are thus enabled to reach a summit, peaks appear to it.


Antioch, in you we were baptized in the Name of the Holy Trinity and in you we were first called Christians, and we will remain so as long as the universe remains and as long as life endures.