Tripoli (Agenzia Fides) - In a public letter addressed to all the members of his Church, the Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch, Yohanna X al-Yazigi, announced a General ecclesial Conference which will be held at the Monastery of Our Lady of Balamand on June 26-28, near the Lebanese city of Tripoli. In the letter of invitation, sent to Fides Agency, the Antiochian ecclesial Conference is presented by the Patriarch as a precious opportunity to reconfigure and strengthen the presence and overall pastoral activity of the Patriarchate of Antioch in the Middle East which house his dioceses and parishes.
"We - the Patriarch writes among other things - look at the Church as a reality at the service of the world that God loved.
We are aware of the important task entrusted to us. The body of our Antiochian Church" recognizes the Patriarch "continues to suffer in Syria, Lebanon and Iraq, and our Arab human reality remains oppressed and without homeland in Palestine".
According to the Patriarch, the Conference will express, as its primary objective, the concern of the dioceses and parishes with regards to the condition experienced by the nations suffering in the Middle East: "When we affirm our unity", explains the Patriarch, "we take on our task: to dry the tears of all" without distinction "among the Christian and Muslim children of our society". Concretely, the renewed commitment is, according to the Primate of the Orthodox Church of Antioch, in taking charge of the "increased pastoral needs" even in the field of educational services, initiatives of charity and social works, for the benefit of all. His Beatitude Yohanna acknowledges that "in our region one experiences a time in which the conjunction of politics and religion is having negative repercussions for believers and religious communities".
He therefore invites to monitor the situations in which "even the adjectives 'Christian' and 'Orthodox' are exploited for personal gain and for reasons that have no relation with the Christian message".
Yohanna X-Yazigi was elected Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch in December 2012. He is the brother of the Orthodox Metropolitan of Aleppo Boulos, who was abducted by unknown kidnappers on April 22, 2013 along with the Syrian Orthodox Metropolitan of Aleppo Mar Gregorios Yohanna Ibrahim. (GV) (Agenzia Fides 03/06/2014)