01/16/2014, 00.00
SYRIA

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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