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     Home > Synod >  2010-10-17 13:40:41
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Intervention of H. Em. Makarios TILLYRIDIS, Metropolitan of Kenya (KENYA)

On this special day, I am greatly honored and to the utmost humbled by this honor to speak before you. I also count it a blessing that I get to speak in your presence, Your Holiness, from this region which will always be unique in the history of Christianity, because it is here that creation credits its origins. To the majority of the world, the Middle East is a volatile region. But we, as believers in the Gospel of Christ know better, because our belief is founded on the teachings of the Prince of peace.
Your Holiness, your own words of insight, while speaking to the British Society recently, express this belief that, “This is why I would suggest that the world of reason and the world oj faith the world of secular rationality and the world of religious belief need one another and should not be afraid to enter into a profound and ongoing dialogue, for the good of our civilization”. This message is very much applicable and relevant here in the Middle East, where reconciliation, love and understanding are very essential for peaceful co existence and cooperation.
St. Thomas Aquinas once said that, “because of the diverse conditions of humans, it happens that some acts are virtuous to some people, as appropriate and suitable to them, while the same acts are immoral for others, as inappropriate to them”. This speaks out in a setup like the one we have here in this region where a mixture of religions and cultures abide, where one's belief is not similar to his neighbour's. In the Middle East, freedom of religion customarily means freedom of worship and not freedom of conscience, Le., the freedom to change one's religion for belief in another. The setup that once is faced with here is one where religion is a social and even a national choice, and not an individual one. Change of religion is viewed as betrayal to society, founded largely on a religious tradition. We however should always remember that this does not lock out love which is required for unity and the working together of all Christian churches in the Middle East. It is very important for us as Shepherds to cultivate togetherness, in love unfeigned, remembering Mother Teresa's words; “If you want a love message to be heard, it has got to be sent out.” We are therefore called to send out a message of love to all those who surround us and impact our lives in different ways.
Concerning the community of Muslim brothers and sisters as well as the Jewish community all around us, we can't fall to respect their belief and way of life. We need to cultivate respect and appreciation of all beliefs that surround us, while preaching the message of love and peace amongst the different religions. Co operation with the Non-Christians is very important in healing past injustices and promoting peaceful coexistence. As shepherds in this great vineyard of our Lord, I encourage you to forge ahead in humility, love and understanding, in advancing the great commission of our lord in Matthew 28:19 20. In humility, the message of our Lord will surely be heard among all races, creeds and cultures that surround us in this region.
Once again let me express my sincere gratitude for this special invitation, especially to your Holiness Pope Benedict XVI. I wish you all peace from our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. May he keep us united in the Faith always

[00145-02.02] [DF001] [Original text: English]


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