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    » 01/16/2014, 00.00


    Appeal by Gregory III for a global campaign of prayer for peace in Syria

    Fady Noun

    On the eve of the Geneva II Conference, the patriarch calls for "true reconciliation among Syrians, not just on security agreements and humanitarian aid," however necessary they may be. Meanwhile, the World Council of Churches launches its own initiative.

    Beirut (AsiaNews) - Gregory III Laham, Catholic patriarch of Antioch and All the East, of Alexandria and Jerusalem of the Melkites, has called on the faithful to pray for the success of the Geneva II Conference on peace in Syria, set to start in Montreux, Switzerland, on 22 January.

    In his appeal, the patriarch urged everyone to set aside a daily moment of prayer in churches, homes, and pastoral gatherings.

    "Let us je join our voice to that of Pope Francis who, when he met the diplomatic corps on the 13th of this month, expressed hope that Geneva II would mark the beginning of the desired journey of peace."

    "May this appeal be the start of a worldwide campaign of prayer for peace in Syria, the Holy Land, the Arab world and the whole world."

    In a document annexed to the appeal, Gregory III made the following considerations.

    "Let us pray for true reconciliation in Geneva II, among Syrians and not just on security arrangements and humanitarian aid. Certainly, we greatly need this, but the key to the success of Geneva II is faith-based, human, cordial, national, and truly Syrian reconciliation. As we thank the countries working for peace in Syria, we want their efforts to be so focused that peace be a Syrian peace."

    "Unanimity in the positions of the United States, Russia, the European Union - in particular of France, Britain, Germany, China, and Iran - will guarantee the success of Geneva II," the patriarch said. "It is also the indispensable condition for achieving Arab unity for which we pray."

    "This dual unity - that of the West and that of the Arab world - will guarantee the success of Geneva II. It is the real means by which we can stop the flow of arms to foreign groups in Syria and the arms race in the region."

    Finally, Gregory III announced that, along with representatives of the different Churches of the world, he would be attending a meeting (15-17 January) in Geneva organised by the World Council of Churches.

    The role of the Church at this historic moment, not only in Syria but also in the entire Middle East and the world, will be the focus of the meeting's debates and discussions.

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    See also

    27/12/2013 SYRIA - MIDDLE EAST
    Gregory III urges Christians in the Middle East not to emigrate
    In his Christmas letter, the Greek Catholic patriarch of Antioch and All the East pleads with Christians to live their mission in the Arab world through charity and social action without leaving the region. Muslim leaders appreciate the Christian contribution to Arab culture. Muslims and Christians must work for full recognition of the rights of Christian believers on par with others. They must also work to stop fundamentalism. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict remains a great challenge. Pope Francis expresses his solidarity.

    18/03/2015 SYRIA - LEBANON
    Gregory III Laham: as Lebanon closes borders, the plight of Syrian Christians gets worse
    The Melkite patriarch talks to AsiaNews about the worsening situation of Syria's internally displaced people compared to those outside of the country. Border crossings are still open for Christians from Hassakeh, victims of the Islamic State group. War is the cause "of all evil". During Lent, Damascus churches are full of people praying for peace.

    18/03/2016 19:42:00 SYRIA – UNITED STATES
    Responding to Kerry, Patriarch Laham says war is taking place in Syria, not genocide

    Gregory III criticises the US Secretary’s claim because it is "no good" for Syria’s ethnic and religious groups. For the bishop, it is necessary not to link religion and war; otherwise, matter will be worse. What is needed is more work on peace and coexistence. Syrian bishops call on the faithful to pray for the success of the Geneva talks. 

    28/08/2013 SYRIA - LEBANON
    Gregory III: Democracy is built with peace. U.S. attack is a criminal act
    The Catholic Patriarch of Antioch calls on Western countries to listen to the Pope’s appeal. Armed action will destroy any possibility of future dialogue and reconciliation. The Christians will be ghettoized. Without them, there can be no moderate Islam. The disappearance of Christians is a threat for the West and the Arab world.

    11/04/2006 SYRIA
    Easter message of Gregory III urges charity, resurrection for peace for all Arabs

    In the document, there are prayers offered for peace in the Holy Land, Sudan, Iraq, and all other countries in need of peace, security and work opportunities, to put the brakes on emigration, especially of youth, who are the future of the region and the Church in the Middle East and the rest of the world.

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