Message of the Maronite Archbishop of Cyprus H.E. Youssef Soueif On the feast of Saint Maroun

Message of the Maronite Archbishop of Cyprus H.E. Youssef Soueif
On the feast of Saint Maroun
Cathedral of our Lady of Graces, Nicosia, 9.02.2020

“For all of you are children of the light and children of the day. We are not of the night or of darkness” (1Thess 5:5).

Your Excellency, The President of the Republic of Cyprus, Mr Nicos Anastasiades, Dear Mr President,
We greet you and thank you together with His Beatitude our Maronite Patriarch Cardinal Mar Bechara Boutros Rai for your participation in the feast of St Maroun. We renew our gratitude to you and to your government especially the Presidential Commissioner Mr Fotis Fotiou with whom, ourselves and Mr Yiannakis Moussa the Representative of the Community and the different Maronite realities have a good cooperation.
I thank you warmly Mr president, for all the initiatives, assistances and decisions you are taking to support many projects related to the Maronites, in particular “Bet Moroun Centre” and the equal treatment of all Churches regarding the exemption of taxation of the places of worship. Here allow me to announce the creation of “Betmoroun Foundation” in our Church which it’s being finalised.
We raise prayers today with you for our beloved country Cyprus in order to reach “the solution”, strengthening the culture of dialogue, working hardly for Justice and Peace, having a vision about the Island as prototype of coexistence in the rich harmony between diversity and unity. We seek all these values not only for the present times but for a prosperous future to the generation to come. I would like as well to announce the creation of the Committee “Justice and Peace Cyprus” that belongs to our Church. It’s part of J&P Europe and under the guidance of the Holy See.
The whole region today needs Cyprus as laboratory of encounter and dialogue among cultures and religions. We can play this role and become an international platform for this cause.
Allow me to greet Archbishop Chrisostomos II wishing him a quick recovery. He always shows a deep respect and distinguished feeling of brotherhood not only to us but to all the churches and to the Grand Mufti and to all the communities of the Island. Our Experience in the context of the Religious Track is witnessing a serious commitment in the dialogue of life among us, and of spreading the values of reconciliation and purification of memories and hearts.
Archbishop Leopoldo Girelli, the Apostolic Nuncio to Cyprus, we thank you for your presence and your mission and we send a warm greeting to His Holiness Pope Francis who has Cyprus in his heart.
in the world defending the dignity of every human being. We wish that Pope Francis will visit Cyprus as a pilgrim on the steps of Saint Paul, Barnaba and the Apostles.
I welcome His Excellency representing HE Mr Demetris Syllouris the President of the Parliament, I welcome your Eminencies, Excellencies, the parties, MPs, the diplomatic corps, the UN mission and EU offices. Mrs the Ambassador of Lebanon, Cyprus and Lebanon are celebrating the feast today. We pray for Lebanon which is entering again into hardships and dangers, we believe that the Lebanese will never lose hope, we are known as the “Phoenix” characterized by renewing itself in front of the death. I thank Cyprus for always welcoming friendly the Lebanese people and I appreciate all kind of cooperation which are becoming more and more institutionalised between the two countries. I thank all priests, nuns and laity who are committing themselves for the mission of the Church and present every day among the people. I greet all parishes, villages, organizations, friends from Lebanon, individuals and institutions present with us to share the feast and in particular our beloved enclaved of Kormakiti and Karpashia, together with Asomatos and Agia Marina the “pupil of the eye”. Your presence and struggle are the “incense of the evening prayers, giving us hope and motivation for the return to the land of our fathers and ancestors.
I appreciate and support all the initiatives of bi-communal spirit and nature: the RTCYPP, the many committees and groups that I know and witness in particular the committee for the cultural heritage, that is tracing a remarkable seal in the process of dialogue and unity. I was so touched by seeing Mr Anastasiades and Mr Akinci worrying and discussing the prevention measures for corona virus, praying for all its victims. We need to support such encounters, we need the wider society of Cyprus to grow in this spirit because today and tomorrow we are going to

We highly appreciate
your appointment of Minister George Lakotribes member of our community in your government which is “première”
in the history of the republic.
relationships between Cyprus and the Holy See show a deep historical tradition and a strong friendship. The role of Mr
The special
Poullides the ambassador of Cyprus to the Holy See is highly appreciated. Let us renew our communion with the Holy
Father who is a prophetic voice

live together and work together, so we should know each other and create new spaces for the youngsters to look at Cyprus, one home for all. Go ahead Mr president in this journey, May the Lord bless you.
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
“For all of you are children of the light and children of the day. We are not of the night or of darkness” (1Thess 5:5).
We are celebrating today the Feast of St Maroun, monk and priest of the Church of Antioch, who felt the freedom in his heart, and tried since the beginning of his life and his entire existence to be enlightened by Christ the “Light of the world” fighting through the prayer always to be among the children of the light and of the day, not of the night and of darkness. We are called to fight the darkness starting by ourselves, having the Gospel, the prayer and the service of the poor having them as a therapy to our souls. We cannot witness the love and truth, the life and light, the solidarity among us as persons if we live in the darkness, the ignorance, the egoism and selfishness. We cannot as individuals and communities offer something to others if we don’t own it. How can you be a leader, a priest, a father and a mother, a responsible in all levels if you live in the darkness, if your “Ego” is the center of everything? When you live in the light, you feel free then you contribute to build a better world around you. How nice it is to be enlightened by the Lord, feeling the peace in within and living in harmony with others.
My beloved, allow me to share with you some thoughts of Pope Francis, from the letter for the third day of the poor issued in 13 June 2019.
How many poor are living in our neighborhood? How many of them are dying every day in this world? The Holy Father is knocking the door of our consciences, of our hearts and wills, of the entire humanity reminding us that “The least offer becomes a ray of light; yet even where justice might be expected to prevail, they meet with violence and abuse.” He confirms that “The poor need our hands, to be lifted up; our hearts, to feel anew the warmth of affection; our presence, to overcome loneliness. In a word, they need love.” (3rd letter for the day of the poor, Pope Francis, 13 June 2019).
The worst traces of the darkness that we may live in and which every human person struggles from and many times it’s out of his will and control is the injustice, the human feeling of being oppressed not even enjoying the minimum of rights. One of the signs of this injustice is the “poverty”, as the Holy Father describes that poor are “Frequently judged parasites on society, the poor are not even forgiven their poverty. Judgment is always around the corner. They are not allowed to be timid or discouraged; they are seen as a threat or simply useless, simply because they are poor.” (3rd letter for the day of the poor, Pope Francis, 13 June 2019).
It’s true that our beloved poor are thirst for water and bread but also for respect and dignity. They are roaming the world because of wars seeking for stability and freedom. We cannot stay indifferent in front of such reality. Our conscience cannot be quiet when we hear and see around us the pragmatic situation of the poor. It is not enough to give advice, or to make strategies which are useful but the essential is to share what we are and what we have with them. They are poor yet rich, because when we encounter them we discover our neediness. We become rich in our humanity when we welcome them with love and walk with them on the path of life. We as churches, faith based communities and civil society are called to work together in educating the human conscience how to share the richness of the earth and to live equally, how to be responsible not only for our small circle but for every citizen, in our country and around the Globe. Every human being despite gender, religion and color is part of the human family. I would mention here the role and commitment of Caritas Cyprus – Koinonia of one of our church’s organization working tremendously with the Migrants, Asylum seekers and in the areas of food banks, job opportunities and human trafficking to answer some of the needs of the poor and marginalized.
Let us ask ourselves: where do our consciences stand from accepting others despite their differences? Let us commit ourselves to be heroes in respecting the human dignity working in harmony between the spiritual and the social dimensions of life; in the integral vision of the human being where body and soul, mind and will, joining the heart become the source of love and tenderness.
We raise our intentions to the Lord Jesus Christ, Light from Light, through the prayers of the Virgin Mary and St Maroun so He enlightens our life to be witnesses of His love that has the power of changing any darkness and sadness into hope and joy.
Amen