Thursday, April 23, 2015

Patriarch John X Heads to Yerevan

Arabic original here.

Yazigi Meets with Ibrahim and Leaves for Yerevan to Participate in the Genocide Commemoration

Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch and All the East John Yazigi left Beirut this evening heading to the Armenian capital Yerevan  in order to participate in the commemoration of the hundredth anniversary of the Armenian Genocide.

Shortly before leaving Rafic Hariri International Airport, Yazigi met with the director of General Security, Gen. Abbas Ibrahim and discussed the latest developments, especially the issue of the two kidnapped bishops.

At the airport, Yazigi stated, "We leave today for Armenia to be at the side of our Armenian brothers and all those who are participating in this commemoration. We are all one family and we want to be hand in hand together especially during these difficult circumstances to send a message of peace to the world, that we are all created by the Lord to be children in His image and likeness, a message of peace and light, and not for any evil deeds."

Asked, "What do you demand of those who perpetrated these massacres?"

He replied, "We ask everyone to be aware that each person is created in the image and likeness of God, whoever that person may be. Consequently, all people must respect others and accept to live with them, whoever those others may be. We proclaim this not only for the past, but also for the present, for the sake of our societies, our homes, our countries and our region. What is happening in these days pushes us to make the same cry, which is for accepting coexistence and respect for the other as he is and not as I want him to be, accepting others as they are, dialoguing with them. This is what brings us together and makes us one family living in one country with the same rights and responsibilities."

Asked about the nature of his meeting with Ibrahim at the airport, he said, "Gen Ibrahim is a dear friend and we are constantly meeting at all occasions and places. He even visits me at Balamand. On the occasion of this visit, he expressed his desire for us to meet and talk about issues concerning us, so the discussion was about the issues that I always raise, our situation in the region, the situation of our kidnapping victims and the two kidnapped bishops."

Asked, "The media has mentioned that  the two kidnapped bishops are still alive. Did Gen Ibrahim give you any information about this?"

He replied, "We always remain hopeful. Our inner feeling and our hope is that the bishops are still alive in the body. This is feeling and hope. There are many reports that are written in newspapers but unfortunately they have no evidence. We hope that these reports have evidence. Here I will take the occasion to raise my voice also once more and say that this is one of the strangest incidents of kidnapping in the world insofar as these two bishops were kidnapped and it is as though the earth split open and swallowed them up. There is no information about them from any party, whether official, from intelligence services, or from any state. No one knows anything. There is no communication with the kidnappers. That is, they have not contacted anyone with any sort of demand for something or a ransom. Until now this has not happened."

Regarding the situation in Lebanon and the region, particularly in light of the continued presidential vacuum, he said, "This is a painful matter. We are still experiencing a vacuum in the position of president of Lebanon. With all love, we ask all those responsible, especially the members of parliament, to end this affair and elect a president as soon as possible because this is very important for Lebanon's stability and the peace of mind of our Lebanese children and the region. This is the demand of all of us."

Yazigi regretted what ISIS committed against the Ethiopian Christians in Libya and said, "Without a doubt, all of these events are painful and of course we denounce them. Unfortunately, at different times and places we hear about the same events being repeated. It is very unfortunate that such things are happening under the pretext of religion. We affirm to everyone in this country of all sects, especially Muslims and Christians, that we are one family and nothing divides us. We all have one God, the one sole God to whom we all offer honor and worship. This intolerance-- and especially the use of the religious element in order to divide brother from brother, to kill and slaughter, is rejected by Islam, Christianity and all religions. Any person with a  conscience or sense of humanity rejects it."

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