World Council of Churches Issues Statements on Middle East, Kidnapped Metropolitans
May 29, 2013
A World Council of Churches (WCC) conference, “Christian Presence and Witness in the Middle East,” has issued a joint statement calling churches and ecumenical actors to commit themselves to support one another in prayers and actions to support the Christian presence and witness in the Middle East. The statement was an outcome of discussions engaging representatives of the ecumenical organizations in the Arab world. Held at the Notre-Dame du Mont Monastery, the conference included patriarchs, heads of churches, and representatives of every Christian church in the Middle East, along with Christian churches and organizations from 34 countries.
In this context, the statement called the churches to “continue to be involved in the building of democratic civil societies, based on the rule of law, social justice and respect for human rights, including religious freedom....this is a time for action, for a new vision of Christian cooperation in the region, for recommitment to Christian Muslim engagement, for engagement with Jewish partners also working for peace and justice, expressing our Christian vocations by working together to express mutual support and solidarity.” The full text is available here.
At the same conference, a statement of solidarity was released concerning the kidnapping of His Beatitude Patriarch John X (Yazigi), Patriarch of the Greek Orthodox Church of Antioch, and His Beatitude Mar Ignatius Zakka I (Iwas), Patriarch of the Syriac Orthodox Church of Antioch.
Noted the statement, "The kidnapping of the two Metropolitans occurred one month ago, and their churches, their relatives, their sisters and brothers in the large ecumenical family are still without any news about their situation. We are distressed and saddened by this outrageous act that violates our common humanity, and we reiterate our firm condemnation of it. We call for the immediate release our two beloved brothers, and the release of all those who are captured in Syria."