Archbishop, Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church
Their eminences, Leaders of Orthodox Autocephalous Church of Albania and the Albanian Episcopal Conference
Participants of the Conference
Ladies and Gentlemen, Brothers and Sisters in Christ
On behalf of His Holiness Abune Matthias I, Patriarch of Ethiopia, Archbishop of Axum, Echegue of the See St. Teklehaymanot, I would like to express my gratitude to the organizers of the conference for inviting us to this Holy gathering entitled ‘Peace is always Possible; Special Thanks to St. Egidio which always works and mobilizes religious leaders and others to bring together followers of different of religion to promote peace, harmony and coexistence.
I would like to mention some points about “The Role of Christian Unity in Divided World”
First of all what does our world look like?
Our world is facing fundamental global crisis – in global economy, climate change degradation of values, absence of ethics and respect for all life forms.
Allover the world people are suffering from unemployment, poverty, war racial discrimination religious and ethnic conflicts, abuse of drugs, crime, corruption and many other negative elements.
Divorce rate is growing. Single parents are increasing. Children are growing without moral and spiritual values.
All these problems result from the absence of global ethic, principles of life and moral attitude.
Therefore, the world need not remain violent and conflict should not continue. We need path (way) which leads us from war to Peace from killing each other to coexistence from hate to love, from being selfish to living for others, from revenge to forgiveness.
Is there any moral principle that helps us to challenge this? Can Christianity play a role in this situation?
Before saying yes, let us see the foundation and principle of Christianity.
Christianity is based on the teaching of Jesus Christ the Lord, established in the life and death of Jesus Christ.
The faith in Jesus Christ is expressed in believing in Him and following His principles. Christianity considers Peace to be an important value and is mentioned as one of the fruits of spirit (Galatian 5:22-23) the fruits of the spirit is love, joy, peace, goodness, faith, meekness………
- Christianity gives important lesson for brining tolerance, compassions, love, forgiveness by the teaching of Christ – Love your enemies, receive persecution, teaches us not to be angry not to practice any form of violence, revenge (Romans 12:17-20)
- To be spiritual in Christianity is the core of avoiding conflict.
- Christianity also encourages Peace making by saying “Blessed are the peace makers for they shall be called the children of God (Mathew 5:9)
Therefore, the kingdom of God Christians are striving for, is Kingdom of Peace.
Salvation in Christianity is getting peace of mind.
Peace is every day language in religious and social services, in greetings, in many societies and communities.
Respect for human is fundamental principle and stems from the word of God – that man is created by the image and likeness of God (Genesis 1:16-28). This implies that human life is the gift of god and our great responsibility to preserve it.
This has been the basis for Human Right Declaration of 1945 in UN.
Hence to abide to the word of God as we are taught by our Lord is ultimate solution to end the turmoil and all rounded crisis our world faces.
The word of God (the teaching of Christianity) has solution for all the problems which technology or human philosophy doesn’t have.
However, respect to Human Right, or being Christian should be seen widely and deeply, given special attention not to remain “slogan”.
This should be assured, guaranteed and safe guarded with appropriate legal protection.
Ethiopia has a potential of becoming a unique example of peace and coexistence with her ethnic, cultural and religious diversity.
Ethiopia from the beginning is known as the land of God and one of the first Christian countries. Since early times it has been a place where different religions enjoyed freedom of worship etc.
Today, major religions with different denominations including Muslims have established Interfaith Forum and work together on their common issues peace, development, coexistence etc.
All agree on one fundamental principle, “treat others the way you want to be treated”, and are guided by it.
Thank you. Peace to the World!