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Communiqué on The Edict of Milan– 1,700 Years Later

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  • Bill Samsonoff
    http://www.pravmir.com/communique-on-the-edict-of-milan-1700-years-later/ Communiqué on The Edict of Milan–1,700 Years Later May 18th, 2013 A Seminar on
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      Communiqu� on The Edict of Milan�1,700 Years Later
      May 18th, 2013

      A Seminar on Religious Freedom, organized by the Ecumenical Patriarchate
      in collaboration with the Council of European Episcopal Conferences, was
      held in Istanbul Turkey on May 17-18, 2013. His All-Holiness Ecumenical
      Patriarch Bartholomew officially opened the seminar and delivered the
      keynote address, while His Holiness Pope Francis addressed a formal
      message to participants. Delegates remembered and prayed for the two
      kidnapped Syrian Bishops of Aleppo kidnapped almost one month ago, Greek
      Orthodox Metropolitan Boulos Yazigi and Syrian Orthodox Metropolitan Mar
      Gregorios Yohanna Ibrahim.

      Metropolitan Emmanuel of France (Ecumenical Patriarchate) and P�ter
      Cardinal Erd� (CCEE) served as joint moderators. The following is a
      brief communiqu� produced at this international and interfaith seminar
      attended by high-level bishops, scholars, and delegates.

      Bearing in mind the early Christian roots of religious freedom and the
      pioneering newness of the agreement between Emperors Constantine and
      Licinius in 313, known today as the �Edict of Milan,� namely: that
      freedom of religion is inherent to each human person created by God;
      that religious freedom implies that the political power is never
      identified with a specific religious creed at the exclusion of others,
      but instead is obliged to stand for justice, peace, freedom and
      solidarity among all citizens; that the state must recognize the
      existence of a horizon of divine law, which every community determines
      according to its own beliefs,

      1. Both the Catholic and the Orthodox Churches hold religious liberty as
      a precious foundation and sacred aspiration of their social doctrine and
      canonical discipline.

      2. Religious liberty, including freedom of worship, is perceived as the
      freedom of each person to profess his or her religion without constraint
      from the state or any other individuals or institution. In this respect,
      religious freedom is also understood as freedom of the faith communities
      and other religious organizations to public worship, education, and
      charitable activity.

      3. Church and state are distinct but not disconnected. Mutual
      independence and autonomy as well as cooperation between church and
      state are fundamental principles of Church-State relations. The state
      must respect religious freedom for all believers and their communities
      in promoting a social order based on justice. In contexts where one
      religion enjoys favorable protection from the state, religious freedom
      of minority communities must be guaranteed. The state should not foster
      proselytism in favor of a specific creed. It is obligated to protect the
      common good and harmony among citizens of diverse creeds.

      Our Churches support the 1966 United Nations /Covenant for Civil and
      Political Rights/, which states the responsibility of public authorities
      with regard to the public exercise of religious freedom: �Freedom to
      manifest one�s religion or beliefs may be subject only to such
      limitations as are prescribed by law and are necessary to protect public
      safety, order, health, or morals or the fundamental rights and freedoms
      of others.� (Article 18 �3)

      The same /Covenant/ (Article 18 �4) defines religious freedom as
      including the right for every faith community to run denominational
      schools in order to educate their constituents according to their values
      and religious beliefs. The same protection applies to the administration
      of every church and religious community, the extension of equal rights
      with regard to charitable and welfare activities, as well as the
      security by law of religious property.

      Pope Francis underlined that �the common witness of Christ�s disciples
      in Europe should help to spread the good news of salvation to the ends
      of the earth, calling on civil authorities everywhere, in the light of
      Constantine�s historic decree, to respect the right of believers to
      worship freely and to express their faith publicly.� At the same time,
      His Holiness �invited all European citizens to recognize the role that
      Christianity has played in shaping our culture, and to remain open to
      the continuing contribution that Christian believers can make in this
      regard.�

      Finally, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew reminded participants that
      �the basic human rights, for which all peoples and societies strive, but
      which are frequently perceived in a sense of retribution that does not
      resemble the spirit of the Gospel or Christianity, comprise spiritual
      values, which the Emperor Constantine planted within the governance and
      structure of his empire because he discerned and predicted that this was
      the only way of securing progress and preserving peace.� His
      All-Holiness concluded: �It is essentially the same values that the
      modern world has inherited, except that titles have been altered, while
      humanity now formally declares that it does not believe in God and the
      hour of Christianity has passed. Nevertheless, despite these cries,
      Christianity and the Truth are not only not out-dated, but have in fact
      increasingly matured.�

      *Source: Archons <http://www.archons.org/news/detail.asp?id=647>*




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