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November 16 2008 09:30 | Agia Sophia Church

Address by Prof. Andrea Riccardi

Andrea Riccardi

Historian, Founder of the Community of Sant'Egidio

we are at the beginning of this congress "The Civilisation of Peace: Faiths and Cultures in Dialogue".
I thank His Beatitude Archbishop Chrysostomos, who wished for this Congress to be held in Cyprus and invited us to take part in this Holy Sunday Liturgy. The Community of Sant’Egidio is grateful for the participation of so many Orthodox Primates and Bishops, and on its behalf I take this opportunity to greet all the cardinals and bishops who are gathered here.

Could there be a better opening to our works, for us Christians, than the Divine Liturgy of Saint John Chrysostom?
This liturgy guides us to the true heart of peace, that is Christ himself: "For he himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall" (Eph 2, 14).

For us the civilisation of peace begins here: from living and listening to the word of Jesus, who is our peace. Liturgy is the source of energies of peace and love. We live in a world of difficulties and divisions, a world of violence, walls, injustice, and misery. Sometimes we feel discouraged: there is such a long way to go, and such great obstacles. What can our humble strength achieve?
Peace, however, is a gift of God. The Liturgy we celebrated has already brought us into the kingdom of Christ, the real world of peace, actually the true civilisation of peace. It reminds us that peace is first of all a gift of God, that we must ask him for it, through prayer, love and forgiveness.

The beauty of the Divine Liturgy that is celebrated by the Church of Cyprus, with great love and according to the ancient tradition, shows us that peace is beautiful, that indeed it is desirable.
Liturgy transfigures men, women, and peoples. May the prayer of this Holy Liturgy transfigure our world and make it a land of peace!