Orthodox primates stress need for peace and stability in Middle East
A Synaxis of the Primates of Eastern Orthodox Churches in the Middle East met in Cyprus on March 27 to discuss the situation of Christians in the region and to agree on common approaches to solidarity and strengthening the support of Christian communities, according to a World Council of Churches press release.
The invitation for the gathering was extended by Archbishop Chrysostomos II of Cyprus, said the release. He was joined by Patriarch Theodoros II of Alexandria and All Africa, Patriarch Ignatius IV of Antioch and All the East, and Patriarch Theophilos III of Jerusalem and the Holy Land.
According to a communique issued at the end of the meeting, it was agreed “that due to the current situation in Syria, this Synaxis has had a special importance and supported the immediate need for peace, security and stability.”
The primates proposed visiting “different decision-making centers in order to voice their concern for peace and reconciliation and to create awareness of the situation of the Christians in the Middle East,” said the communique.
They noted that Syria is a land in which Christianity has existed since the days of the first apostles, and that today Syrian Christians “coexist with mosques in a unique symbolism of symbiosis, fraternity and mutual respect.”
The Eastern Orthodox leaders paid tribute to the late Pope Shenouda III of the Egyptian Coptic Church, who died on 17 March. They also reaffirmed their commitment to working closely with the Middle East Council of Churches.