Faith in Syria


With the lack of good news coming from Syria I was glad to be reminded of these words

Without the Holy Spirit:

God is far away,

Christ stays in the past,

the Gospel is a dead letter;

the Church is simply an organisation,

Authority simply a matter of domination,

Mission a matter of propaganda,

Liturgy no more than an evocation,

Christian living a slave morality.


But with the Holy Spirit:

the cosmos is resurrected and groans with

the birth-pangs of the Kingdom,

the risen Christ is there,

the Gospel is the power of life,

the Church shows forth the life of the Trinity,

Authority is a liberating service,

Mission is a Pentecost,

the liturgy is both memorial and anticipation,

Human action is deified.


They were written by the Syrian Greek Orthodox Christian Ignatius of Litakia for a World Council of Churches Assembly in Uppsala in 1968. He went on to become Ignatius IV of Antioch and died in 2012.

I have come across them whilst preparing a review for the Baptist Times of Rupert Shortt’s articulate argument for a coherent Christianity: God is No Thing.

I knew I knew them but they had been forgotten in the myriad words that I indulge in.

They shook me.

They delighted me.

They are so good.




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