||Home > Synod > 2010-10-17 13:40:21
Intervention of H. Em. Mar Gregoios Yohanna IBRAHIM, Metropolitan of Alep (SYRIA)
Message of the Rev. Dr. Olav Fykse Tveit, General Secretary of the World Council of Churches:
It is an honor and a privilege far the Word Council of Churches to address your Venerable Synod meeting in a Special Assembly for the Middle East, which is a real opportunity to strengthen all Christians of the region, Eastern and Oriental Orthodox, Catholics and Evangelicals, in their presence and witness.
This has been the concern and the endeavor of the ecumenical family for the last years, because we all firmly believe that our Apostolic faith is rooted both in the place where the salvation events took place, and in the region from where the Good News was spread to the oikoumene (the whole inhabited world). At the same time, our faith is challenged by and maintained alive through our communion and solidarity with our sisters and brothers in the region. We know that our sisters and brothers continue to bear witness to that same faith, because God did not give “us a spirit of fear, but a spirit of power, of love and of self discipline” (2 Tim. 1:7). We see that this spirit is strengthening them in their steadfastness and hope, in their struggle for a just peace, for human dignity, freedom and equality in citizenship. Indeed, this spirit calls all of us for concrete actions as we accompany our member and sister churches in the region in the mission our Lord has entrusted them with.
The member churches of the WCC have c1early stated that, as Christians, we are called to pray and work for a just peace for Jerusalem, for all peoples living in it and in the whole region. We know that Jerusalem has a special significance for all, and we know that the present Is¬raeli Palestine conflict has real negative implications on the whole region and much far beyond. We also believe that a just peace for Jerusalem in the future could have a great positive impact, also on the churches and their presence and witness in the region.
Already in June 2007, the WCC convened an international ecumenical peace conference in Amman, where together, the Heads of Churches in Jerusalem called out to their brothers and sisters in Christ with this urgent plea:
“Enough is enough. No more words without deeds. It is time for action.” We, Churches and ecumenical partners from all over the world, promised them that “together we will act and pray and speak and work and risk reputations and lives to build with you bridges for an enduring peace among the peoples of this tortured and beautiful place to end these decades of injustice, humiliation and insecurity, to end the decades of living as refugees and under occupation. We will work with you to seek peace and pursue it. We have allowed too much time to pass. Time has not served the cause of peace but has served the cause of extremism. This is our urgent cause that cannot wait”.
During my very recent visit to Jerusalem, I was again urged by the Heads of local Churches to advocate for an end to the occupation that will bring justice and peace far the benefit of both Palestinians and Israelis and restore their human dignity. This is the primary request we also heard from the Palestinian Christians who are challenging us with their “word of faith, hope and love” from the heart of their suffering. Their “Kairos” document brings hope where no worldly hope is expected. It expresses their faith in a God who equally loves all the peoples in the land. It calls for a resistance rooted in the logic of love that seeks and engage the humanity of the occupier.
Your Venerable Synod represents a unique God given opportunity to amplify the unified call of the Catholic Church and make it heard so that it brings justice and peace to all.The Synod is raising unprecedented great expectations for all Christians in the Middle East, especially for Iraq is and Palestinians, who are under serious tribulations. In fact, all Christians in the region, need to renew their ecumenical commitments and revive the privileged instrument for that, which is the Middle East Council of Churches.
Now is the time for actions together. For us, Christians, these should be based on three fundamental imperatives: An ethical and theological imperative for a Just Peace, an ecumenical imperative for unity in action and the Gospel imperative far costly solidarity and love of all our neighbors.
Let us act together and unite in our sincere call to the concerned governments in the region and worldwide so that a genuine everlasting just peace will prevail in the whole region.
Let us pray and act together so that Christians in the Middle East continue to be “the salt of the earth” (Mt. 5: 13) and “the light of the world” (Mt. 5: 14).
Let us accompany the Churches of the region in their transforming role in their societies.
Let us pray and act together to strengthen their common presence and witness.
May God our Father bless you and your Synod. May His Son, our common Lord Jesus Christ, guide you and enlighten your minds and steps during your deliberations. May the Holy Spirit strengthen you and keep you and your particular Churches in the love of the Father.
[00152-02.02] [DF008] [Original text: English]