(Antiochian.org) Recently, His Beatitude JOHN X, Patriarch of Antioch and All the East, honored his American flock by visiting our nation's capital to raise awareness of the plight of Christians in the Middle East. The cradle of our faith—the land that has sustained our families, communities, and churches for centuries—finds itself trapped in the crossfire of international unrest. In the face of spiritual and cultural despair, His Beatitude, accompanied by His Eminence Metropolitan JOSEPH, took the international podium at the Hudson Institute to stress the permanency of Christians in the Middle East.
It is providential, even as the Patriarch proclaimed his message of hope, that another son of Antioch—one who taught His Beatitude during his studies in the early seventies at the St. John of Damascus Theological Institute in Balamand, Lebanon—released a new book touching on similar themes. In The Rise of Scripture, published by OCABS Press, Fr. Paul Tarazi transports his readers back two millennia, to the people of the same same region, struggling to survive in the face of similar challenges.
The basic point in Scripture, Fr. Paul explains, is reflected in the Bible's lengthy discussion of our liberation from the powers of servitude under Pharaoh: God is our Father and our Shepherd, and under his care we have nothing to fear from our enemies. The hope for our future, Tarazi teaches, is not in the many human powers and civilizations, but in the Scriptural God, who has sustained us in peace since the time of the Apostles, and will forever sustain us through the vicissitudes of human history.