How beautiful it is to be united in the joy of the Resurrection.
The jasmines of Damascus sang the joy of Life with one voice; the bells of all our churches rang together, united in proclaiming: « Christos Anesti »… Christ has truly risen … «This is the day that the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it, alleluia!»
This year the Easter celebration was particular, because all the faithful of the oriental Churches celebrated Easter on the same day, an opportunity which is given to us only every 4 years! We celebrate the same liturgy yet our liturgical calendars establish different dates and this is a cause of suffering for all of us … To live together the feast of the Resurrection is an important sign for all the Christians living in the East.
The Catholic or Orthodox Oriental Churches with their diversity are a source of richness at the heart of the universal Church, the Church of the living Christ, rooted in faith! We, the Children of this Church, do not feel any difference among us, we celebrate together! Especially at this time when our country is afflicted by war, divisions, and is going through a lot of suffering … We have celebrated our unity at this time when our presence is a call and a witness to it; to celebrate the Risen Christ is a great joy and gave us new strength!
We celebrated together our journey through the Holy Week which started with Palm Sunday, and the glorious entry of Christ in Jerusalem. The celebrations took place everywhere, on the roads of Damascus where it was possible … within the churches of all rites … with the ringing of bells, with coloured candles and with palms of peace … may the Lord unite us all to rebuild our devastated country, which like « Jerusalem » is waiting for deliverance!
We lived the Holy Week with deep spiritual preparation … we prayed with the Christ kneeling in the garden … « Father take from me this cup of sorrows, of war and death, of separation and division! »
With Him, we, Catholics and Orthodox together, carried the cross … the cross of death, of persecution, of misunderstanding! But on Easter Sunday, during the celebration of the Eucharist, Jesus showed Himself to the disciples, and all our Churches proclaimed the victory of Christ over death, separation, and divisions!
For me this year’s celebration had a different taste … a taste of true joy … a taste of Unity and of a renewed wish to live, after 6 years of war, bombings, insecurity… This year truly I had a sense of security while celebrating this feast of the Living Word, with the joy of dialogue, while praying and meeting all Christians Catholics and Orthodox!
May the Risen Lord be every day present in our lives!
May He grant us His courage so that we may live united in these Eastern countries, and we may be the seeds of His presence in the midst of this world and may we contribute to build our
beloved country: Syria! Sisters of Charity SJAT - Damascus