28 March 2006

Armenian Church active participant in Christian – Muslim dialogue

During March 2006 the Armenian Church participated in two major dialogue conferences on the above topic held in Tehran and Cairo respectively. Before that there was also a meeting between Aram I and the Chairman of the Muslim-Christian dialogue committee in Lebanon.

Below are the three pieces of news from official sources:

1) His Holiness Aram I receives the Chairman of the Christian-Muslim dialogue committee.

Source: Cilica Catholicosate press release on 14th March 2006

Antelias, Lebanon - His Holiness Aram I received the chairman of the Muslim-Christian dialogue committee, Mir Hares Shehab, on March 14. The two discussed the internal situation of Lebanon particularly within the context of the ongoing political dialogue in the parliament.

Hares Shehab passed some information on to His Holiness and expressed his opinions on various issues. His Holiness welcomed all initiatives that aim to establish close cooperation between Lebanon’s communities, strengthen the country’s internal unity and its independence and sovereignty. His Holiness expressed hope that the initiative and the resulting discussions on various levels would soon yield to practical results.

2) The Chancellor of the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin, Archbishop Nerses Bozabalyan participates in a conference that took place in Isfahan, Iran.

Source: IRNA, 19 March 2006 (Iranian official news agency)

Please note that we have kept the news item as it is, without any changes, although some of the ideas expressed there seem to have been “lost in translation”

Buzabolyan: Convergence is core of all monotheistic religions Isfahan-Conference- The Archbishop of Armenian Christian Church Nerses Buzabolyan here on Sunday stressed that the identical origin of all monotheistic faiths is the element of convergence among all divine religions and said any insult to the sanctities of each of them would hurt the feelings of the followers of other faiths as well.

The archbishop made the remark in an interview with IRNA here Sunday on the sidelines of the "Global Conference on Constructive Interaction among Divine Religions: A Framework for International order," which opened here Saturday with participation of 160 scholars from 40 countries.

Buzabolyan commented that the spiritual tenets, shared by all the divine religions, provide them with a common background in that all the religions, believing in God as the central part of their faith, share the basic principle that the oneness of God means all human beings are equipped with wisdom to "feel and see" the presence of God in every moment of their lives. That, he added, would definitely prevent them from committing such silly acts as undertaking sacrilegious actions against any of the divine religions.

He further hailed the ongoing inter-faith dialogue conference as the first preliminary step towards establishing dialogue among divine religions because, he said, it would certainly help promote unity and solidarity among followers of different faiths in a number of practical ways.

He believed the interaction and exchange of views among scholars during the event would help them remove walls and barriers and wipe out many baseless and hollow prejudices.

Archbishop Buzabolyan went on to express hope that the present gathering would encourage many other similar events in other countries resulting in establishment of a lasting dialogue among religions.

3) The Catholicosate of Cilicia participates in the Christian – Muslim dialogue conference in Cairo.

Source: Cilica Catholicosate press release on 22nd March 2006

The Middle East Council of Churches, the Christian-Muslim Dialogue Committee and the Islamic International Conference organized the second international Christian-Muslim dialogue conference in Cairo on March 21-22. The conference was entitled "Religion and Human Rights."

The conference was sponsored by Pope of Alexandria and Patriarch of the See of St. Mark His Holiness Pope Shenouda III and Sheikh Al-Azhar Dr. Mohammed Said Tantawi. Christian and Muslim theologians and scholars participated in the conference. Archbishop Sebouh Sarkissian, Primate of the Diocese of Tehran represented the Armenian Church (the Catholicosate of Cilicia) in the conference as member of the Christian-Muslim Dialogue Committee.

Archbishop Sebouh took the stage during the opening of the conference to convey the greetings of His Holiness Aram I to the attendants. The
Archbishop delivered a lecture entitled "The Christian Concept of Human

Archbishop Sarkissian held a private meeting with Dr. Tantawi on 22 March 2006. He conveyed the greetings of His Holiness Aram I and his viewpoints on the vital importance of Christian-Muslim dialogue.

Communication and Information Department of the Catholicosate of Cilicia
Contact: V.Rev.Fr.Krikor Chiftjian, Communications Officer
E-mail: cathcil@cathcil.org
Web: http://www.cathcil.org/
Read Armenian version at: http://www.cathcil.org/v04/doc/Armenian.htm


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