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Rewriting the Letter to Philemon in a Modern/pastoral Approach

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Oh my dearest Mariam & George, all your sorrows and tears came before me at that time, the pain of your beloved daughter, especially after the media opened the discussion about the benefit of accepting refugees, and took what happened to you as an example and an excuse to stop accepting them. Your questioned your suffering, and why God would allow this to happen to his sons and daughters. Many scenes passed in front of my eyes this very moment, regardless of the unfortunate miscarriage of the baby, and the happy marriage your daughter is having and the two wonderful babies she is blessed with. Icould not stop my tears. I was personally confused. in front of me was a person who caused all these troubles, dishonor and pain to you. Yet the same person is the prodigal son, the Samaritan woman, the sinner whom Jesus came specially for. He did not think for a moment that I knew you, his only concern was his salvation, although he was sure that he will eventually be killed, no doubt.

After his conversion, he convinced the rest of his old people, to give us the opportunity to pray and even to celebrate the Eucharist!! I baptized him, and every night he used to come to my cell and spend the time with me asking and learning more about the true faith. However, in order to grow in his new life, he had to come back to you and confess what he did, asking your forgiveness. I decided to write this letter and send it to Father Youhanna, your dear friend and neighbor since your childhood, so he can accompany Ahmed and deliver this letter personally to you.

Imagine my dear George the trouble he will endure to travel to Canada, an ISIS member, although Canadian, traveling from Syria to Canada, just to prove that he was sincere in his repentance. Moreover, all of us here in this prison will definitely suffer without Ahmed being around. We expect no more common prayers and more physical tortures until death. However, we decided to add more sacrifices to our lives and let him go to this trip. Knowing your love, your heart that changed a long time ago serving Christ with all your capacity, putting in front of you what our Lord said: forgive and you will be forgiven, I am confident that you will receive him. Indeed, my dear, you are like Christ, you will receive him with all the love just as Christ received all the sinners and adulteresses. You will receive him in the same manner you always received me, inviting everyone to your house celebrating my presence in your house, Mariam cooking her best food, all in rejoicing and happiness. I know what troubles you will endure because of this, how the community will give you a hard time, even the closest ones, but rest assured my dear brother and friend George, that this is the true Christianity, to receive Ahmed as your brother and dear son. After this, and with your permission, please send him back so we may rejoice together, as God made him the way for many to believe in His Holy name.

After our release, if the Lord wills, I will come and visit you my dear George, and enjoy your brotherly love, and we will continue our work together in serving Our Lord Jesus Christ. Your cousins Marcos and Boutros are in good health, in the cell just beside me, and sending their love to you and the family.

I Bishop Paulose, wrote this letter from our prison in Palmyra and sent it with Father Youhanna and our beloved brother Ahmed.

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.


Farley, Fr. Lawrence R. The PRISON EPISTLES: PHILIPPIANS, EPHESIANS, COLOSSIANS, PHILEMON . Chesterton, Indiana: Conciliar Press, 2003.

HAYDOCK, REV. GEO. LEO, ed. HAYDOCK’S CATHOLIC BIBLE COMMENTARY . New York: Edward Dunigan and Brother, 1859.

KNECHT, FREDERICK JUSTUS. A Practical Commentary on Holy Scripture . B. HERDER, n.d.

SCHAFF, PHILIP, ed. NICENE AND POST-NICENE FATHERS Saint Chrysostom: Homilies on Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, Thessalonians, Timothy, Titus, and Philemon . Vol. VOLUME XIII. The Christian Literature Company, 1889.



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