Six years have passed since the abduction of Metropolitan Paul of Aleppo. He was kidnapped along with the Jacobite Syrian Metropolitan Johanna Ibrahim, while returning from Turkey to Aleppo. Since then, their fate remains unknown.

Metropolitan Silouan of Byblos, “The ‘Master of eloquence and silence’ between the silence of man and the silence of God”
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Email
  • Vkontakte
  • Messanger
  • Telegram
  • WhatsApp
  • Twitter
  • Pinterest

April 22 marked the 6th anniversary of the abduction of Metropolitan Paul of Aleppo and the Jacobite Syrian Metropolitan Johanna Ibrahim. On this occasion, Metropolitan Silouan of Byblos (Patriarchate of Antioch) sent us a text which you can read below in its English translation:

“And on the seventh day God finished the works He made, and He rested on the seventh day from all the works He made” (Genesis 2:2)

“Metropolitan Paul (of Aleppo) in an ecclesiastical mission” is an expression that came to me in the first days after Monday April 22, 2013 (the day he was kidnapped). This expression opened a window through which I have tried to explore the mystery of that great day, a day of God’s work in the history of humanity.

Arriving on the threshold of the seventh year of this invisible “ecclesiastical mission”, we notice that infertility and desiccation encircle us. The infertility of hope and the desiccation of inspiration. So you believe that time removes hope from you, and that you have no inspiration to defend the work of God between us and in us. How then is it possible to defend your hope and your faith, and what can you talk about in this case? An answer comes to you: “Silence”! But how could you defend your hope and your faith in this “ecclesiastical mission” with silence?

In seeking the satisfactory answer to this question, you rejoice that the Bible reveals to you the work of God the Creator, when at the end of the six-day work of creation, it tells us with majesty and modesty, that “on the seventh day God finished the works He made, and He rested on the seventh day from all the works He made ” (Genesis 2:2). This fact makes you plunge into the work of God the Creator, as we are on the threshold of the seventh year of this great day. With reverence and insight, we contemplate the mystery of the work of God even in us — since He said, “My Father has been working until now, and I have been working” (John 5:17). And we contemplate how this work has manifested itself in a paradoxical way: both in expression and in the absence of expression. Both in revelation and in the absence of revelation. It is the secret of the “silence” that appeared on the seventh day, when God the Creator rested from all His works. A silence that the writer could not express –how could he have? Indeed, the phrase “God saw that it was good” (Genesis 1:4; 10; 12; 18; 21; 25) was keeping us company during the first days of creation, and even the phrase “that was very good “(Genesis 1:31) was there to conclude these days. However, the sacred” silence” of God is present on the seventh day as a blessed seal affixed to His words of the previous days.

This biblical reality brings you to the dynamics of the Bible, where the “silence” of God confronts all who walk in the meanders of life, to water them with the water of hope. An excessive hope. Our difficulty lies in our lack of tolerance for this silence, especially if this silence is prolonged in our eyes, and if we are not sufficiently imbued with the Holy Spirit. God be praised that His silence is not sterile. Likewise for whoever is filled with the Spirit, their silence is not sterile either. It is clear that the source of this silence is one. The Sacred Scripture spoke to us about it at the beginning of creation, when It revealed to us the presence of the “master of silence”, if I may use this expression to refer to the Holy Spirit: “In the beginning God made heaven and earth. The earth was invisible and unfinished; and darkness was over the deep. The Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the water” (Genesis 1:1-2). And we realized He is also the “master of eloquence”: He is the one who inspires and gives us a voice, as the Lord explained to us in circumstances similar to those we are talking about: “When they arrest you and deliver you up, do not worry beforehand, or premeditate what you will speak. But whatever is given you in that hour, speak that; for it is not you who speak, but the Holy Spirit” (Mark 13:11).

Is it possible that you are angry and disgusted with silence when we refer to this great day? The silence of the barren man, a silence that we are accustomed to describe as the “silence of the grave”, a silence that its creators have mastered. Or is it possible that you rejoice in the silence of God, a silence that turns out to be very eloquent, a silence that is the “language of the century to come”, according to our Saint Ephrem the Syrian, a language that comes to you from the world to come, from the One who is “the Master of silence” Himself. A silence that has been hovering over all creation since the dawn of its creation, and has been nurturing its existence. A silence that gives us the ability to speak, to listen, and to understand His work in this creation.

In fact, on the threshold of this “seventh day”, or rather of the seventh year, you must stand with veneration before the work of God the Creator during these past six years, and watch the manifestation of His work, as the Lord rests from all His works in a remarkable silence that cannot be deciphered by any word from us, but rather by a silence that speaks in the hearts of those who accept the “Master of eloquence and silence” in them. By an act of prayer, of faith or service. In a situation of life or death. In a state of suffering or liberation. In desperate waiting or in a request quickly granted. In an absence cruelly felt, but a presence stronger and more eloquent than absence itself.

The difficulty of the seventh day is the “silence” that surrounds it, and the length of the duration that accompanies it. In this case, we can do no better than rely on the “Master of eloquence and silence” to guide us in our passage between the silence of man and this silence of God concerning this “ecclesiastical mission” invisible to human eyes, but alive in the spirit of God and in His providence for us.

I thank the Lord for allowing me to write these lines. I wrote them “here”, “up close” (for some), whereas I used to write them from “there”, “from afar” (for others). And I pray to the Lord that He may  affirm us all together in the work of the Spirit who unites us in adversity and in ordeals, so that He may be glorified in us. And that afterwards, He who has become the “master of eloquence and silence” may be present among us.

Dear readers,

This is one of the five free articles that you can read in their entirety.

To access the unlimited number of full articles, please:

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Email
  • Vkontakte
  • Messanger
  • Telegram
  • WhatsApp
  • Twitter
  • Pinterest

About the Author

Emma Cazabonne

Emma Cazabonne

Beside an anthology on Cistercian texts, Emma Cazabonne has translated and published articles on Cistercian spirituality, the Middle Ages, and Orthodoxy. She converted to Orthodoxy in 2008. Her husband is an Orthodox priest. If you are interested in having your book translated into French, she can be contacted here https://wordsandpeace.com/contact-me/

Orthodoxie.com Newsletter

Don't miss out on important news and updates. Subscribe to our free bi-weekly newsletter.



Divider

Popular Posts

246 nouvelles paroisses de l’Église orthodoxe d’Ukraine ont été ouvertes en 2019 144316

Le nombre des lieux de cultes dépendant de l’Église orthodoxe d’Ukraine, dont le primat est le métropolite de Kiev Onuphre, a augmenté de 246 par r...

L’archevêque de Berlin Marc (Église orthodoxe russe hors-frontières) a été élevé au rang de métro... 144304

Le 10 décembre, à l’issue de la liturgie célébrée à New York en la fête de l’icône miraculeuse de la Mère de Dieu de Koursk et après la lecture de ...

Le patriarche de Bulgarie Néophyte a rencontré le directeur général de la Télévision nationale bu... 144289

Le patriarche bulgare Néophyte a rencontré, le 10 décembre, le directeur général de la Télévision nationale bulgare Emil Kochloukov. La rencontre a...

Le monastère de Dečani (Kosovo) fournit de l’aide humanitaire aux sinistrés du tremblement de ter... 143621

Avec la bénédiction de l’évêque de Ras-Prizren Théodose et de l’higoumène Sava, le protosyncelle André et le hiéromoine Pierre, moines de Dečani, s...

L’Église orthodoxe roumaine distribue le Nouveau Testament dans les hôpitaux, les casernes et les... 143495

La semaine dernière, l’archevêché de Bucarest a distribué 955 exemplaires du Nouveau Testament avec les Psaumes dans les principales unités hospita...

27 novembre (ancien calendrier) / 10 décembre (nouveau) 59373

27 novembre (ancien calendrier) / 10 décembre (nouveau) Carême de la Nativité Saint Jacques le Persan, mégalomartyr (421); saints dix-sept moines d...

Paris : Rencontre-débat avec Régis Debray et Jean-François Colosimo autour du livre “La rel... 143112

Jeudi 12 décembre à Paris, en soirée, aura lieu une rencontre-débat avec Régis Debray et Jean-François Colosimo autour du livre La religion françai...

La position du Patriarcat d’Antioche à l’égard de l’autocéphalie ukrainienne reste inchangée Proche-Orient 142673

La position du Patriarcat d’Antioche à l’égard de l’autocéphalie ukrainienne reste inchangée. C’est ce qu’a annoncé le primat de l’Église orthodoxe...

155e anniversaire de la naissance du patriarche Nicodème de Roumanie (+1948) 142656

Le patriarche Nicodème (Munteanu) est né le 6 décembre 1864 à Pipirig, près de Neamţ, dans une pieuse famille de paysans, et il reçut au baptême le...

Plus de 25 000 fidèles des diocèses de Vinnytsia et de Toultchyn ont adressé un appel au présiden... 142645

25 265 fidèles et clercs des diocèses de Vinnytsia et de Toultchyn de l’Église orthodoxe d’Ukraine dont le primat est le métropolite de Kiev Onuphr...

26 novembre (ancien calendrier) / 9 décembre (nouveau) 92893

26 novembre (ancien calendrier) / 9 décembre (nouveau) Carême de la Nativité – Dispense de poisson Saint Alype, stylite à Andrinople (VIIème s.) ; ...

9 décembre 92891

9 DÉCEMBRE Carême de la Nativité – dispense de poisson Conception de la Très-Sainte Mère de Dieu et toujours Vierge Marie par sainte Anne. Commémor...