Bethlehem (Agenzia Fides) - Arab Christians, as well as many friends from all over the world mourn the death of Geries Khoury, director of the al Liqa Centre for inter-religious dialogue, based in Bethlehem. Even the Assembly of Catholic ordinary Bishops in Holy Land expressed in a statement its condolences for the sudden death of the famous exponent of the Palestinian Catholic laity, who died on Wednesday, February 3 in Rome, where he was leading a delegation of al-Liqa to attend an audience with Pope Francis. For decades – says the statement of the Catholic Bishops of Holy Land, sent to Agenzia Fides - Catholic Melkite Geries Khoury, an Arab Christian and Israeli citizen, was involved in the Muslim-Christian dialogue in the ecumenical dialogue and in the promotion of friendship among Christians, Muslims and Jews. His speeches and his publications were focused on the events of the Arab Christians living in Holy Land, often marked by fatigue and suffering. He had also tried to outline a "contextual Palestinian theology" that would take charge of the Arab-Israeli conflict, seeking ways of peace and unmask "those who use religion and God to justify wars or violence or occupation".
Geries Koury was born 64 years ago in Fassuta, an Arab village in northern Israel, near the border with Lebanon, where he had also exercised the office of mayor from 1996 to 2001. In the seventies he studied in Rome, where he had arrived with the intention - later abandoned - to become a priest, and had also obtained the license in theology and philosophy at the Pontifical University of Saint Thomas Aquinas. During that period, he also made friends with many young Catholics who bore witness to the Gospel in the State University of Rome. (GV) (Agenzia Fides 05/02/2016)