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Fourth Annual Orthodox Prayer Service for the United Nations Community

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  • Thomas Daniel
    Fourth Annual Orthodox Prayer Service for the United Nations Community October 15, 2004 New York, NY - The fourth annual Orthodox Prayer Service and Reception
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 16, 2004
      Fourth Annual Orthodox Prayer Service for the United Nations Community

      October 15, 2004

      New York, NY - The fourth annual Orthodox Prayer Service and
      Reception for the United Nations Community was celebrated on Tuesday,
      October 12, 2004 at St. Vartan Armenian Cathedral, at 6:30pm. This
      year, the service, jointly sponsored by the Standing Conference of
      Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the Americas, (SCOBA) and the Standing
      Conference of Oriental Orthodox Churches in America, (SCOOCH) was
      presided over by His Eminence Archbishop Mor Cyril Aphrem Karim of
      the Syrian Orthodox Archdiocese for the eastern United States. Under
      the theme of overcoming violence in the world, suggested by the World
      Council of Churches' program of the "Decade to Overcome Violence",
      the service focused on the verse from the Gospel of St. Matthew
      5:9: "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of

      The distinguished speakers at this year's service were His Excellency
      Kaha Chitaia, Deputy Permanent Representative of Georgia to the
      United Nations, His Excellency Ambassador Teruneh Zenna, Deputy
      Permanent Representative of the Federal Democratic Republic of
      Ethiopia to the United Nations, Mr. Giandomenico Picco, Under
      Secretary-General of the United Nations and Personal Representative
      of His Excellency Kofi Annan, Secretary-General of the United
      Nations, and His Eminence Archbishop Karim.

      His Excellency Chitaia spoke of the need for the Church to speak out
      when there is "even the slightest evidence of violence, whether it be
      of moral, ethical or criminal character..." The Church must "manifest
      clearly its position in regards to such violations. This
      manifestation should be motivated only by the moral principles of the
      Church, and not other motivations." The position of the Church, he
      said, "would not only serve as a strong message for political leaders
      and public figures, but also strengthen the faith of the believers."

      In his remarks, Ambassador Zenna noted several causes of violence,
      such as the increase of poverty in a "rapidly globalizing
      world." "There is," he said, "an absolute necessity for all of us to
      speak loudly and in unison against oppression and the exclusion of
      one by the other." We "Orthodox Christians," he noted, "must
      emphasize service for the disadvantaged and oppressed as a necessary
      consequence of our recognition of all humanity bearing the image of
      God." His Excellency also addressed the violence of terrorists, "who
      for their own perceived reasons hate and fear other people, their
      values, culture and civilizations."

      In the message of the UN Secretary General, His Excellency Kofi Annan
      wrote, "At a time when some would seek to divide the human family by
      exploiting differences among peoples, we need more than ever the
      contribution of men and women of faith who defend and promote the
      practice of dialogue. That is why I am pleased to extend my best
      wishes to this prayer service for the United Nations Orthodox
      community. It is reassuring to know that you have gathered to
      celebrate your commitment to overcoming violence in our world and to
      reaffirm your rejection of intolerance and hatred. As you pray for
      the United Nations, I hope you will pray that whatever the challenges
      and crises that confront us, we may make this indispensable
      instrument as effective as it can be. Pray that world leaders find
      the wisdom and the will to use this tool to its full capacity, in the
      interest of the people it exists to serve. Pray for peace in the
      family of nations."

      Archbishop Karim, presiding hierarch at the service, spoke of the
      place of the human being in creation, the role of the Holy Church in
      promoting peace and harmony among all people and the role of the
      United Nations in establishing peace among nations. Concerning the
      United Nations, His Eminence stated: "Peace is only possible when it
      is built on justice. As long as I am not able to identify with my
      neighbor's pain and suffering, we will not have peace. The United
      Nations, therefore, is called upon to supercede the narrow political
      interests of its member nations and truly help to establish a world
      based on true human values which form the basis of all human rights
      and the dignity of humankind. Among other things, this requires the
      U.N. to be as even-handed as possible in implementing its
      resolutions. Eradication of violence and true peace will never arrive
      by the dictates of the so-called world powers but rather the
      recognition of the dignity of each human being as a child of God,
      created in God's image and likeness."

      Approximately 200 persons were in attendance, including Ambassadors,
      Mission heads and personnel from the United Nations, as well as many
      area clergy and laity. Among the church dignitaries present were
      Metropolitan Herman of the Orthodox Church in America, Archbishop
      Vsevolod of the Western Eparchy of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of
      the USA, Bishop Antoun Khouri of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian
      Archdiocese of North America, Bishop Dimitrios of Xanthos of the
      Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, Archbishop Khajag Barsamian of
      the Eastern Diocese of the Armenian Church of America, Archbishop
      Abune Matthias of the Archdiocese of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church in
      the USA, Archbishop Mor Titus Yeldho of the Malankara Archdiocese of
      the Syrian Orthodox Church of North America, Archbishop Mor Gregorios
      Yohanna Ibrahim of the Syrian Orthodox Archdiocese of Aleppo, Syria,
      Bishop David of the Coptic Orthodox Archdiocese of North America, and
      Bishop Vicken Aykazian, of the Armenian Church of America.

      Liturgical music offerings were made by the St. Vladimir Orthodox
      Theological Seminary Octet, the Yared Ethiopian Choir, the St. Mark's
      Syrian Orthodox Cathedral Choir and Florence Avakian, organist of the
      St. Vartan Armenian Cathedral Choir. Following services, a reception
      was held in the Kavookjian Auditiorium.

      The Fifth Annual Orthodox Prayer Service for the United Nations
      community will be held in October 2005, at the Greek Orthodox
      Cathedral of the Holy Trinity.

      Posted by
      In His Love
      Thomas Daniel (Reji)
      St. George Jacobite Syrian Orthodox Church
      Cheppaud, Alleppy Dist, Kerala, India.
      http://ApostolicVisit.cjb.net or http://ApostolicVisit2004.cjb.net
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