Lebanon is, in all, crucified. Holders of personal interests in the world crucify it. They crucify us, as we have no selfish interests in this country. Those, who consider themselves to be great, eliminate the little ones, who do not benefit in any way from this country. I am worried about the little ones, who do not perceive why adults carry within themselves enmity, why they do not have the tenderness of childhood, instead of falsifying each other, why they do not have joy, why they resolve to death after they were created to live, why they make crosses for one another, why they do not sing sincerely [the Lebanese National Anthem]: ‘All of us for our country, for glory’, which is not actualized without humility. This country is like a kingdom of powerless old people, who had lost their sense of the flowers. They want to live without smelling the truth and tasting the good, and whenever they are reconciled together they want to divide the booties among themselves, without distributing the gains to those in need of light.

Those arrogant people want us to be food for them, but they do not want themselves to become nourishment for all. Christ has said: “Take, eat; this is my body.” [Matt. 26: 26] The country lays itself down as food to whomever wants to live, and those arrogant ones give us stone in place of bread, and partition in place of unity. Why is the drought of the thirsty hearts for the living water?

Since we know that powerless people are convicted to be crucified, our church had set the day of tomorrow as remembrance [the Sunday of the Holy Cross], in which the crucifiedness of people is raised to God in hope. In a country where people despise each other, without having recourse to weapons, we wanted to eliminate hatred through love. Thus, tomorrow is the Sunday to venerate the cross and to tell people that one of them had been raised on this wood in order that every person might receive life instead of complete death and hope instead of despair. This takes place within a liturgy, at which a cross is laid on a salver, surrounded with flowers and basils, and it is been circumambulated with the salver, and we fall on our knees, facing the cross, remembering both the cross and the resurrection. Then, the priest gives the believer a flower, to tell him/[her] symbolically that Christ is the joy of the world, and that the human being will not remain subjugated forever, if he/[she] embraces the crucified, for Christ has taken human crucifiedness, so that one might become a resurrectionist person.

We are a paschal-community, and we do not exterminate anyone since Jesus died to save the world, and not only those who belong to Him through baptism. You, whoever were you, ask for life and it begins with physical life. “[I]t is not the spiritual which is first but the physical, and then the spiritual.” (1Cor. 15: 46) The order of a state is established first to serve the natural person, and then, God’s calling the person makes him/[her] filled with spiritual life. In the beginning there is the civil society, then, some people from within the society transcend and become spiritual through divine giving, which is poured upon them. Thus, they become on earth the people of heaven. And in the times of crises, heaven does not become hidden from the people of love, which [in fact] many hide it from themselves, while it penetrates the soul of the one who loves its penetration, so that it might make him/[her], from now, a kingly person.

Why do we set this remembrance day in the middle of the fasting period? We have noticed that some of those who fast become weary of their endeavor and they move toward looseness. Hence, in order that they might not lose the image of the Savior, we set this image to them, which whenever is printed in their hearts, enables them to continue their endeavor. [We do this] since there is no room for weariness in love, and declining is not permissible whenever the vision descends upon you. As the result of kissing the cross the believers embrace each other, as they have known that the Lord himself had embraced them through His death, and had purified them and raised them, through the Spirit, to the Father.

Thus, extinguishing of the soul, for the sake of peace, is not permissible. The Lord does not extinguish, but He rectifies. And you call your adversary, or whomever you thought to be so, to the Lord, who endows him/[her] with life through rectification that is from God. Whenever you kill [or exterminate] a person you emit him/[her] from the possibility of repentance, and your soul becomes  intolerant and then it rives, so that it would not be possible to ensure for yourself repentance in any day of your life. In front of the invincibility of life, both the sinner and the good are equal. God embraces both and promises to purify them, and God has limited the power of life and death to Godself alone. We live together with the hope that every one of us will attain purification which descends upon us from above.

God has not commissioned anyone to implement, on God’s behalf, the death of the Other, and God addresses every killer, saying: “Where is … your brother?” [Gen. 4: 10] That is to say that you had to live with your brother, who was not destined to die on his brother’s hand. In general terms it means that every person is your brother, since you both received the gift of the one life and a divine promise to prosper together. Whenever you are concerned about your brother’s recalcitrance, you have to resort to good advice and to become reconciled with him, by the mercy that is within you. Thus, the seeds of sin would not sprout, and he would react to your good [approach] with goodness and your soul would meet the glory that is within him, since no one lacks glory.

Before the war in Lebanon I had an official, we used to call him ‘qawwas’, he would be protecting the bishops in our country, and the consuls and ambassadors in Istanbul. This was a kind of protection that Ottoman Empire had supplied to these ranks of people. Those guards had the right to carry a sword, and in modern times a gun. And as this young man was walking at my home, in front of me, I felt that he carries a gun, under his jacket. I asked him, what is this? And he replied that it is a gun, legalized by the state. I told him, I do not want you to protect me, since I prefer to die than to cause another to be condemned to death penalty or life imprisonment, even when he kills me. Most probably this person would be a father of a family, while I do not have a family, so, I divested the man of his gun.

The Lord is armless and we are on His likeness, and thus, arms are not of a concern for us. This is why I always disliked the word ‘crusaders’, which was taken by the Franks in the tenth century, when they attacked our countries. I was astounded that they were killing in the name of the One who said: “”Put your sword back into its place; for all who take the sword will perish by the sword.” [Matt.26: 52] These words made millions of Christians testify as they became martyrs. And these words entered the Church Legislation, so that it is not permissible to the priest or the monk to defend himself, since by doing that, there would be the possibility of killing the other. And our Law says that whenever the priest kills another by a faulty movement, and unintentionally, he must be prevented of performing Divine Liturgy the whole of his life.

When those who were called ‘Crusaders’, in their own language, dwelt in our countries and were excessive in bringing corruption, the Muslims had interesting courtesy to call them ‘Franks’, and they did not call them ‘Crusaders’ since they knew that Christians do not kill.

Only in the power of Christ Christians continue to exist. They do not long to any other path, and they forgive the killer. They have no other weapon, and no desire for power or authority, knowing that victory is to the Word of God and the will of God. Thus, they do not carry weapons, and it has been said to them: “Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.” [Matt.10: 28] And hell of course is a list of the assaulters.

The world is not about distributing booties [among ourselves]. Rather, it is to spend your profits for the poor. And whenever you share what you have with the poor one, he/[she] raises you to heaven since you are unable to raise yourself alone to heaven. Rather brothers/[sisters], whenever you love them, raise you. And all people, to whichever dogma they belong, are brothers/[sisters]. Through compassion, you can make them from the people of heaven, on the Day in which God judges us all. “Many shall come from the east and west, and shall sit down with Abraham … But the children of the kingdom shall be cast out.” [Matt.8: 11-12] Your only guarantee for becoming from the children of God is to perceive God as the Father of all humanity.

I have not called you not to summon for equality among the children of the one homeland. Thus, you have to know that you have no independent dignity apart from the dignity of the Others. Hence, you have to ask for your freedom, since it is the dignity. Yet, it might be trodden. Then, you seek the Other through the word and the contention of the word, without becoming from the customers of the foreigner, since he/[she] does not protect other than him/[her]self, though he/[she] might say differently. The word is effective whenever you are great in love. The Other might have a language different than this language. That is his/[her] concern, and he has someone to judge him/[her]; while you have only the [possibility of the] strive of the soul. No one can be a tyrant over your heart, and you are the person of the heart, especially that Christianity does not recognize itself as a human or political entity. Thus, do not support other than the oppressed, and always by the legitimate word and the virtuous emergence of the soul. And if you were from those who read, the Islamic revelation maintains that “Whoever kills a soul, not in retaliation for a soul or corruption in the land, is like one who has killed the whole of mankind; and whoever saves a life is like one who saves the lives of all mankind.” (Sūrat al-Ma’ida 32) Hence, on the level of personal behavior we and the Muslims are one.

This is why militias are all void in the eyes of the Lord and the internal fight was also void. And I know that turmoil leads to killing.

We are all called to complete sincerity if we want that no one dies by the hands of a man, lest we become oppressors. Every one of us is a steward for the Other, for the Other’s life, growth, prosperity and the preservation of him/[her] in all circumstances of the country and in every crisis of history; until God’s truth prevails. We do not exterminate an existence which God has made for God’s glory and has safeguarded it through God’s children, and has entrusted us the question of the Other’s life, no matter how much a tribulation aggravates; since the Lord is able to deliver us from the burden of temptations through peace that God pours it upon us as a grace from God.

Translated by Sylvie Avakian-Maamarbashi

Original Text: “سلام المصلوب” –An Nahar- 10.03.2007