On the Eve of the Second Geneva Conference on Syria
The Second Vatican Council says, “The joys and the hopes, the griefs and the anxieties of the men of this age, especially those who are poor or in any way afflicted, these are the joys and hopes, the griefs and anxieties of the followers of Christ.” (Gaudium et Spes, Preface)
Saint Paul says, “Whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it.” (I Corinthians 12:26) Saint Paul also says, “God …hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation.” (2 Corinthians 5: 18) The Qur’an says: “Come to a common word.” A Hadith also says, “The believers are like one person; if his head aches, the whole body aches with fever and sleeplessness.” (Sahih Muslim 6260)
Beginning from these venerable verses and sublime teachings, we express our optimism for the holding of this Second Geneva Conference. We call for participating in this conference, in the name of the thousands of victims who have fallen on dear Syria’s soil, widows, orphans, handicapped, sick, bereaved, kidnapped, disappeared, students, young people, those full of doubt, wounded in conscience and feelings…and every suffering person in Syria.
In the name of all of them, and on the basis of our pastoral responsibility, and as President of the Assembly of Catholic Hierarchy in Syria, we address this appeal to the Russian Federation and the United States of America who have called this conference, and all those who will take part: sovereign states, organisations, sons and daughters of Syria, at home and abroad, allies and opponents. All of you, work with trust, in the spirit of reconciliation, dialogue and sincere citizenship… Put all your efforts into making this conference succeed. This is a very important opportunity, in a decisive central phase, and in the teeth of an historic, bloody, destructive crisis, the most serious in the history of Syria.
May the call for reconciliation, dialogue, solidarity and peace, be louder than the din of weaponry and armament.
We call very loudly, “Syrians, come to a common word between all of you!”
We especially call upon our children, the sons and daughters of our parishes, to raise prayers and supplications in churches, monasteries, confraternities, parish associations, homes and families for the success of this conference, and for security, calm, peace, reconciliation, dialogue, solidarity and love among the hearts of all citizens.
Lord! Grant us Peace! For thou hast given us all things! “Blessed are the peace-makers, for they shall be called the children of God.” (Matthew 5:9)
May the road to Geneva be Syria’s way to peace!
Patriarch of Antioch and All the East
Of Alexandria and of Jerusalem