Beirut (Agenzia Fides) - Maronite Patriarch Bechara Boutros Rai is preparing to embark on a historic visit to Saudi Arabia: the departure of the Patriarch from Beirut to Riyadh is scheduled for Monday afternoon, November 13. This evening – report Lebanese sources contacted by Agenzia Fides - the Patriarch will have a meeting with Lebanese immigrants working in Saudi Arabia who fear losing their jobs. The Lebanese and Saudi sides both hailed the “momentous” visit, which comes at the invitation of King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, but it will be amid a blurred political climate in Lebanon after Hariri announced his resignation from Riyadh, where he has since been staying.

According to sources of the Maronite Patriarchate, the visit of the Patriarch will focus on the issues of dialogue, rejection of terrorism and extremism, and also the condition of Lebanese workers resident, about 300,000, in Saudi Arabia, who according to the figures of the Lebanese Foreign Ministry now fear being expelled from the country.

The official invitation to visit Saudi Arabia was delivered to Patriarch Rai by Walid Bukhari, Saudi Chargé d'affaires in Lebanon on Wednesday, November 1 (see Fides 3/11/2017). "The visit", says to Agenzia Fides Bishop Camillo Ballin MCCJ, Apostolic Vicar for Northern Arabia, "may be the beginning of a new attitude of Saudi Arabia towards other religions". In the past only Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch Elias IV officially visited Saudi Arabia in 1975. Maronite Patriarch Rai is also a member of the Cardinal's College, and could become the first Cardinal to officially visit Saudi Arabia and meet the authorities of the Country. Meanwhile, the resignation of the Lebanese Premier has also accentuated the political and geopolitical value of the patriarchal visit. (GV) (Agenzia Fides 13/11/2017)


Teachings of Christ

“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” (Matthew 22:37-40 ESV)

Saint Nicholas of Myra

The truth of your deeds has revealed you to your flock, * as a rule of faith, an image of meekness, and a teacher of abstinence. * Therefore, you attained the heights through humility, * and riches through poverty. * O Father and Hierarch Nicholas, * pray to Christ God that our souls may be saved. (Troparion, Tone 4)

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and to the ages of ages. Amen.

In Myra, You were shown to be a servant of the sacred things, O Holy Nicholas, * for, fulfilling the Gospel of Christ, you, O Venerable, laid down your life for your people, * and saved the innocent from death. * Therefore, you were sanctified as a great initiate of the grace of God. (Kontakion, Tone 3)

Random Proverb

"Hear, O sons, a father's instruction, and be attentive, that you may gain insight, for I give you good precepts; do not forsake my teaching." (Proverbs 4:1,2 ESV)

Pray Without Ceasing

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

Wisdom from the Church Fathers

Therefore let us leave untouched the senseless speculations of the masses and the false doctrines, and turn to the teaching delivered to us in the beginning, let us be temperate and ready for our prayers, persevere in fasting, and fervently implore the All-seeing God not to expose us to temptations, since the Lord has said: 'The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.'

St. Polycarp, Epistle to the Philippians