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  • Rev Fr John Brian
    From: mecc Sent: Tuesday, August 05, 2008 2:29 AM A delegation from the National Council of Churches of USA top leaders visited Palestine, Jordan, Syria and
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 5, 2008
      From: mecc
      Sent: Tuesday, August 05, 2008 2:29 AM

      A delegation from the National Council of Churches of USA top leaders
      visited Palestine, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon during the period of July
      22-August 2. The delegation was composed of H.E. Archbishop Vicken Aykazian
      (President of the NCCCUSA), Rev Dr. Mickael Kinnamon (General Secretary of
      NCCCUSA), and Dr. Peter Makari (Executive Director for Middle East and
      coordinator of the visit). The visit aimed at building solidarity with
      churches in the Middle East as well as learning about their perspectives on
      coexistence and tolerance, and exchange discussions with Muslim figures.

      In Amman - Jordan, the delegation met with Archbishop Vendiktos of the Greek
      Orthodox Church and discussed with him the issue of Christian presence. The
      delegation met with His Highness Prince Hassan Bin Talal with whom they went
      through a variety of global issues. They also met with His Excellency
      Senator Akal Baltaji, and the director of the Royal Institute for
      Inter-Faith studies Mr. Hassan Abu-Nimah. MECC Director of Amman office
      Ms.Wafa Gousous facilitated and coordinated the program of the visit in

      In Damascus - Syria, the highlight of the agenda of visit was the meeting
      with His Excellency the President of the country Dr. Bachar Al-Assad who
      welcomed the stand of NCCCUSA with regard to the peace in the Middle East
      and their opposition to the war in Iraq. The delegation had several meetings
      with church leaders: His Beatitude Patriarch Ignatius Hazim IV of the Greek
      Orthodox Church, Rev. Botrous Za¹our of the Evangelical National Arab
      Church, H.E. Bishop Armach Nalbidian of the Armenian Orthodox Church, and
      representatives of His Beatitude Patriarch Gregorios Laham of the Greek
      Melkite Catholic Church. NCC delegation expressed their solidarity with
      churches, heard about the witness of the churches in the Middle East, and
      acknowledged the work of MECC and national churches in supporting Iraqi
      refugees. The delegation met with high ranking Muslim leaders namely: the
      Grand Mufti of Syria and the Director of Sheikh Ahmad Kaftaro Centre with
      whom they exchanged with them issues related to Christian-Muslim relations.

      MECC General Secretary Mr Guirgis Saleh, Mr. Samer Laham, Director of
      Damascus office (who facilitated and coordinated the program of visit), and
      Mr. Razek Siriani, Director of International Ecumenical Relations
      accompanied the delegation.

      In Beirut ­ Lebanon, the delegation met with MECC General Secretary and
      senior staff and heard from them about MECC activities and mission in the
      region. The delegation met with church leaders: Rev Dr. Salim Sahyouni
      (President of the Higher Council of Evangelical Churches in Syria &
      Lebanon), H.E. Metropolitan Boulos Matar (President of MECC), H.E.Archbishop
      Elias Aude (Archbishop of the Greek Orthodox Church in Beirut), H.E.
      Archbishop George Saliba (Archbishop of the Syrian Orthodox Church in Mount
      Lebanon), H.E. Bishop Nareg Alemezian (representing His Holiness Catholicose
      Aram I of the Armenian Orthodox Church), and Rev Megredij Karakozian
      (President of the Union of Armenian Evangelical Church). In his statement
      Rev. Dr. Kinnamon welcomed the relations with MECC and churches in the
      Middle East in building bridges of understanding and solidarity. He affirmed
      his hope in the effective role that Christians are playing in the region,
      and that NCCUSA is strongly supporting establishing peace in the Middle
      East. In this respect, the delegation met also with the Minister of
      Communication Dr. Tarek Mitri and exchanged with him issues related to
      Lebanon and the region. The delegation met with Muslim leaders: the Grand
      Mufti of Lebanon, the vice president of the Shii¹at community, the president
      of the Druz community. The General Secretary and Rev. Dr. Habib Badr
      welcomed the delegation at a reception held at the National Evangelical
      Church of Beirut upon the invitation of MECC where many eminent Christian
      figures were present. The MECC General Secretary hoped that the bilateral
      relations between MECC and NCCCUSA will be further developed into joint

      For more information contact: guirgissaleh@...

      Middle East Council of Churches
      Office of International Ecumenical Relations P.O. Box 5376, Beirut, Lebanon

      Guirgis Ibrahim Saleh, General Secretary mecc@... or

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