The International and Ecumenical conference on the Theme “Christian Presence and Witness in the Middle East”‘ organized by World Council of churches and Middle East Council of Churches held on 21-25 at Beirut, Lebanon. The participants in this meeting included leaders and representatives from Christian churches in the Middle East and Christian churches and organizations from 34 other countries ascertained the need to help to strengthen the Christian presence and witness in the middle East for the benefit of Unity, justice and peace for all in this crucial region. The neighboring Syria and the region is experiencing unprecedented political, cultural and historical convulsions, disrupting and endangering the lives of all who live in this region, especially Christians.
One of the most important concerns and agenda of the meeting was the issue of the two Archbishops from Aleppo, His Eminence Mor Youhanna Gregorios Ibrahim, Syriac Orthodox Metropolitan of Aleppo and His Eminence Mor Boulos Yazigi Greek Orthodox Metropolitan of Aleppo and Alexandria, kidnapped over one month ago. The news of their kidnapping shocked the whole world, especially people of this region, and galvanized Christians around the world. The conference appealed for their speedy release and passed a resolution, addressed to the Inter National Organizations and State Heads of this region as well as in the West demanding a sincere and speedy interference for the release of the two kidnapped metropolitans.
The conference affirmed that the Christians in the middle East have been rooted in the soil from the time of Jesus Christ and over the intervening centuries and they are an integral part of their Lands. The states have the responsibility to protect all of their citizens on an equal basis. The religious freedom and the freedom of coincidence should be guaranteed in the Middle East.
The role of the Palestinian issue is vital in this area. Resolving the the conflict between Israel and Palestine in accordance with UN resolutions and international Law, will greatly help resolving the other conflicts in the region. Jerusalem today is an occupied city with government which has adopted discriminatory policies against Christians and Muslims alike. Jerusalem must be open, accessible inclusive and shared city for two peoples and three religions, with the careful protection of their holy places.the conference underlined to encourage the United Nations, USA, EU and Russia along with other countries in positions of political power to create policies that promote peace with justice for all people of the region.
Dr. Kuriakose Mor Theophilose Metropolitan of the Syrian Orthodox Church was the participant from India. A delegation lead by H.E. Metropolitan Bishoy and Mor Theophilose met His Holiness Moran Mor Ignatius Zakka 1 Iwas, Patriarch of Antioch and all the East, and discussed about the latest development in Syrian and the two kidnapped Metropolitans and updated His Holiness the decisions of WCC meeting.