Christmas Stars

Here is the Christmas message sent by the Maronite Archbishop of Damascus, Archbishop Samir Nassar. 

* * *


IT is not uncommon these days to see Palestinian families wandering the streets of Damascus … Parents carrying their children, followed by older children holding hands, some bags and parcels. 

Tears to the eyes of women, anger in the eyes of men, the sadness of children’s’ eyes. 
These Palestinian refugees have not been spared by the fire of the Syrian crisis. Thousands have fled their camps where they have been living since 1948. A second exodus emerges. Some have managed to reach the Palestinian camps in Lebanon …Others are turning in circles looking to be hosted by any Syrian family as act of charity despite their poor and fragile situation.  

A family of seven children came to the neighbor, who is a concierge of a home. Shacked for a quiet corner to breastfeed her baby of ten days, everyone leaves the tiny room to allow some privacy for this mother and her baby.

For a time the little room of the concierge resembled the MANGER of Bethlehem..ALWAYS  IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF THE HOLY HOMELESS FAMILY.


At a time when everyone is leaving the city, the new Greek Orthodox patriarch His Beatitude Youhanna X arrives in Damascus on December 20, the feast of St Ignatius of Antioch, whose he is successor.

He is having a simple and modest reception; due to the actual events. The sounds of bells met with the busters of shells. Two contradictory languages.

The first call to prayer and love. The second sowing death and hatred.

His Beatitude elected Monday, December 17, 2012 in Lebanon, hurries to be in the middle of his people living in turmoil for the last 22 months confirming their faith, their mission, their identity and their testimony, inviting on the eve of Christmas for forgiveness, reconciliation and dialogue as only instruments of peace in a country torn by violence.

Wise Man with a gift of his Master: FORGIVENESS.


Wissam, three years old, living with a blood cancer (leukemia). 

He comes to the church every evening at 6 pm … When he is not under the effect of chemical treatment, he distributes and collects the papers of songs, giving with his small and innocent hands and his seductive smile the gesture of peace to the faithful scattered throughout the vast cathedral. He throws his hat that hides a head without hair, carries a candle to the reading of the Gospel and for the communion, distributes images at the exit of the mass.  
Wissam must be on a long chemo treatment. The hospital fears the closure due to the fighting that surrounds it, and to the medical personnel who no longer comes and is leaving Syria, and to the shortages of heating oil and drugs.

All the faithful are living a nightmare with the family of this little angel.
AT this long Syrian night, the Stars shine and praise the Lord.

Christmas 2012
                                                        + Samir NASSAR
                                            Maronite Archbishop of Damascus

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