Home > Synod > 2010-10-12 17:56:54
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Intervention of Mons. Boutros MARAYATI, Archbishop of Alep of the Armenians (SYRIA)

The ecumenical movement is going through a real crisis, the best proof of this is the bad situations facing the Churches of the Middle Eastern Council today, which has been for years at the forefront of ecumenical work in our countries. We hope that today’s crisis will be a passing phase of the initial progress in the opening of a new page of ecumenical work, moving from the bureaucratic style, the development projects, and financial administration, towards encouraging a spirit of fraternity, dialogue and communion among the Churches.
The Instrumentum laboris in all its pages has an ecumenical aspect, because all of it concerns all the Churches of the Middle East, we would like to add that this special assembly will not retain its true Christian and Catholic dimensions, unless it is read in the light of our relations with the Churches and other Christian communities. It was said that: "Together we are or we are not at all".
1) I see something missing between paragraphs 14 and 15, would it not be important to mention that Damascus was the place of Saint Paul's conversion, from where he left to go to Arabia, and then to all other nations? We have commemorated the Pauline year , which was announced by his Holiness Pope Benedict XVI. In Antioch, the disciples of Christ were called Christians. To the north of Aleppo, monastic and religious life prospered, during the 4th century. From Simeon the Elder to Saint Maroun, the archeological sites still bear witness to this. This is an ecumenical fact that leads us back to our common Christian roots. We have to revive it, not only on the local level but also on the universal level, so that these roots may support our Christian presence throughout history.
2) In the 25th paragraph, the Intrumentum laboris, mentions " the situation in each Middle Eastern country varies”, not only is this a fact, it is also an undeniable fact. If we want this Special Assembly to be fruitful, we should think about a special conference for each country, having an ecumenical aspect, where we can discuss the issues according to the local situations. Without any doubt, the challenges are the same, but every country has its own situation.
3) The challenges mentioned in the Instrumentum laboris, especially the challenge of emigration (paragraphs 43 - 48), are a serious concern for us as well as for other Churches and local Christian communities. This is a real ecumenical concern. And here it is our obligation to ask: is there a plan to evacuate the Christians from the East? For the past 100 years, emigration or violent deportation have continued to occur from the East. In 1915, hundreds of thousands of Armenian Christians were deported violently, from their countries, and they faced the first genocide in the 20th century, by the Ottomans. Among those martyrs was the Bishop Ignatius Maloyan. The same thing occurred among the Chaldeans and the Syrians¼ Many Christians were sent from their villages and cities. These acts continued with the Palestinian events, the civil war in Lebanon, the Islamic Revolution in Iran, the invasion of Iraq¼ Christians are martyrized, forced to emigrate, forced to leave from all the Churches without distinction. Are we waiting for the day where the world as a spectator amidst the indifference of the Western Churches will sit back and watch the “Death of the Christians of the East”?
Despite the crises and difficulties that face our Christian life and our ecumenical relations, we still “believe, hoping against every hope” (cf. Rom 4:18).

[00025-02.02] [IN003] [Original text: Arabic]


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