"Domino Sancto et in Christo Patri, Romanae pulcherrimo Ecclesiae Decori, totius Europae flaccentis augustissimo quasi cuidam Flori, egregio Speculatori, Theoria utpote divinae Castalitatis perito, ego, Bar-iona (vilis Columba), in Christo mitto Salutem."
Sancti Columbani, Epistula I ad Gregorium papae, AD 600
«CHRISTIANS IN SYRIA: THE CHALLENGE OF SPEAKING WITH ONE VOICE»
On May 20, 2014, at 8 pm at the Espace Fusterie in Geneva, seven representatives of the largest Churches in Syria - Orthodox and Catholic, senior members of the clergy and lay persons – will witness the dramatic situation confronting Christian communities in a conflict that is tearing this ancient land apart – a land with great culture and a cradle of Christianity.
Mostly originating from Syria, and resident there, they will also analyze and illustrate, from their respective points of view, the issues and challenges facing the Christian communities in Syria and arising from the conflict. One of them – a crucial one – is to unite the Christian voices and forces, looking beyond the antagonism and doctrinal divisions (now for the most part obsolete) which have affected relations among the Churches since the early centuries. Back then, precisely from the Patriarchate of Antioch in Syria, these contradictions led to the first major break in the communion of Christian Churches at the Council of Chalcedon in 451, with catastrophic consequences.
At the dawn of the third millennium, the Christians of Syria follow the Christians of Iraq, and those in the rest of the Middle East, in seeking the awareness and attention of their Western brothers to one of the great challenges of our time, one aspect of which is shown by the dramatic situation in Syria. The seriousness of the situation demands that Christians overcome their historical divisions and speak with one voice, while discovering their mutual riches, woven by the history of cultures.
The Conference on May 8, 2014 is an encounter between Christian brothers from East and West, in a climate of burning concern and brotherly dialogue.