29 August 2013
When we disseminated His Holiness Pope Francis’ call for peace in Syria, made after the recitation of the Angelus on Sunday, 25 August, we added some personal comments, expressing our gratitude and that of Syria for his heartfelt appeal.
We read with interest the remarks of our friend Archbishop Silvano Maria Tomasi, the Holy See’s permanent observer to the United Nations in Geneva. Speaking on Radio Vatican on 22 August, he expressed his views on the use of chemical weapons in Syria.
Archbishop Tomasi warned against rushing to pass judgment about which side may be using chemical weapons, without clear and compelling evidence. That was the responsibility of the UN monitors mandated to work in Syria to shed light on the matter.
Archbishop Tomasi emphasised the importance of engaging in dialogue, rather than violence which fuels conflict, and recalled the position of Pope Francis, who stressed that violence cannot lead us to any solution.
“That is why dialogue must begin, so that we can arrive at Geneva II, where representatives of all parts of Syrian society can be present and try to create some kind of transitional government.”
This wise attitude can save the region from further destruction and displacement, disasters and suffering.
We thank His Holiness the Pope and Archbishop Tomasi for these constructive stances. This corresponds to what we have always advocated and still do: that the Holy See should set out a plan specific to the Pope and the Vatican with regard to the Syrian crisis. We have even proposed that there should be a special team at the Vatican focused on dealing round the clock with the Syrian crisis. It would help to provide sound advice and strengthen the Vatican’s influence on global policy with regard to the Syrian crisis and the question of Palestine, which is associated with the Syrian crisis.
We shall remain in contact with the Vatican and the Catholic Episcopal Conferences around the world, in order to support the process of reconciliation, dialogue and understanding for the service of our beloved Syria and the future of all its sons and daughters from all its constituent parts. We have been and will remain one Syrian family, working as one, for a renewed Syria, one country for all its children.
+ Gregorios III
Patriarch of Antioch and All the East,
Of Alexandria and of Jerusalem