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  • Christos
    Dec 31, 2009

      28-12-2009 (Gregorian) 15-12-2009 (Julian)


      "Mr President,
      Honourable Ministers,
      Members of Parliament,
      Distinguished Guests,
      "For unto us a Child is
      born, unto us a Son is given and the government will be upon his shoulder. His
      name will be called the Angel of Great Counsel; for I shall bring peace upon
      the rulers, peace and health by Him. Great shall be His government, and of His
      peace there is no end..." (Isaiah 9:5&6).
      Events and gatherings such
      as this one are of great importance for promoting values that are greatly
      needed in our present day.
      The special character and
      position of the Churches is alluring to the uniqueness of this Holy Land. Sacred and spiritual, this region is host to
      the three monotheistic religions; Judaism, Christianity and Islam, as well as
      being host to multi- culturalism and most importantly ethnico-religious
      diversity. We, the community of the Holy Land
      in general and Christians in particular must always strive to speak united,
      invigorating one vision for peace and harmonious co-existence.
      As we have recently said to
      a conference for interfaith dialogue at Georgetown
      University in Washington DC,
      in the cause of denouncing violence and promoting peace-building, the role of
      religious leaders, especially the clergy, is both crucial and fundamental. We
      do not believe that clergy should take the role of politicians; clergy have
      different, but equally serious ethical, social and pastoral
      responsibilities. But we do consider that, just as political leaders must
      be shaped by the moral principles of their religious traditions, in the same
      way religious leaders have a role in forming congregations and communities of
      faithful people to exercise responsible citizenship. This role manifests itself
      at the grass-roots level through educating our congregations and the general
      public on the importance of peaceful symbiosis; in providing social services
      that focus on the equality of all people regardless of religious or ethnic
      affiliations; In taking strong positions in denouncing all forms of violent
      acts; in leading and participating in public and private dialogue between
      different religious communities and ethnicities; And in supporting initiatives,
      institutions and leaders who are committed to the same social and civic good.
      As we have gathered here
      today in a clear expression and manifestation of inter-religious history,
      understanding and existence, we have to admit that political polarization and
      ideological zeal and eagerness have increasingly posed a serious challenge to
      our humble efforts and great intentions. Since we have accepted the calling of
      the Almighty to become servants of His divine message, it is our duty to
      relentlessly enhance our efforts for improving the living and socio-economic
      conditions in which people of the Holy Land
      experience, thus further promoting a peaceful and just solution to alleviate
      the suffering of all affected.
      To many people around the
      world the relationship between religion and political unrest has been
      complicated and vulnerable; It is our obligation as religious leaders, to lay
      foundations enabling all political efforts to defuse such complexity and
      present religion ad the most effective tool in reconciliation and peace
      The historic rights,
      privileges and ancient customs, accorded to the Patriarchate of Jerusalem and
      to the Christian churches in the Holy Land,
      have been substantiated during the many years in what we now call the "Status
      Quo". This doctrine, especially in our beloved Holy Land
      must be safeguarded by the understanding, respect and protection of the "laissez
      faire" practiced by the governing authority to ensure our very existence
      and help further our work of calming effect and inducement of peace.
      We are appreciative of the
      Authorities' efforts in facilitating the access for pilgrims and worshipers and
      we commend them to continue and push further this holy and important provision;
      and allow Us to say: "more can always be done". In this context and to
      underline the concerns common to our Christian community as a whole, We
      acknowledge the many positive steps that the State of Israel has taken to
      evaluate our concerns, and We stress the need for the continuation of progress
      - Free movement of the faithful;
      - Provisions of entry visas for clerics;
      - Honouring the privileges of Tax exemtion
      sancrioned by the sacred history; and
      - The historic standing of the ownership of
      Church property.
      The inauspicious endeavours
      to attaining peace should not be ignored this festive season. This should be a
      reminder amidst our joyful celebrations that God's will is loud and clear for
      both the political and religious leadership to persevere in our commitment to
      reaching peace.
      Our work as religious
      leaders in the Birthplace of the Prophetic and Incarnate message is to raise
      awareness amongst people that peace not war, dialogue not indifference, respect
      not bigotry and bridges not barriers are the way to forge lasting peaceful ties
      between believers of the various faiths who share this Holy
      Land namely Judaism, Christianity and Islam.
      Rest assured that both the
      Christian institutions and leadership, in the Holy Land
      are willing to employ their blessings and resources in furthering peace in the
      region because we believe that this constitutes one of the fundamental
      commandments of our faith which solidifies our existence and determines our
      Our fraternal noble wishes
      for this happy occasion on the New Year to all Jews, Christians and Muslims,
      who persistently pursued peace during times of great turmoil, as they set a
      role model for all those who believe in the true prophetic message of the
      incarnation of the divine logos. And to those, we extend our hand for
      assistance and offer our humble blessings.
      As the custodians and
      servants of the Holy Places that bare testimony to the sacred history of
      redemption and salvation of human kind, we time and again commit ourselves to
      promoting peace and invite every human being to "soul searching"; in order to
      recognize the other's entitlement to peace, respect and dignity; and we should
      always remember to behave in the same way as we woild like people to behave
      towards us. For it is written "...whatever you want man to do to you do also to
      them for this is the Law and the Prophets" (Matthew 7:12)
      Your Excellency, we express
      our sincere thanks to you for this cordial invitation and courteous hosting. We
      call upon the Lord Almighty to bless this coming New Year with fruitful
      achievements to warm our hearts, enlighten our minds and guide all the citizens
      of the State of Israel to fulfillment and prosperity.
      Happy New Year.

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