To our Muslim Fellow-Citizens
15 October 2013
An Appeal for Arab Unity
And Peace Preservation
On the occasion of blessed Eid ul-Adha, I send my cordial good wishes to my Muslim brothers and sisters in Syria, Lebanon and the Arab and Muslim world. I should like this feast to bring the message of peace and an end to crises for our suffering Arab region and for everything to return to normality, since it is our right to experience the feast in peace. Let everyone return to mutual encounter and living in love, friendship and tolerance for one another.
I wish to affirm that God will not abandon us in this tragic situation that our countries are experiencing. Every believer ought to be working for peace, security and reconciliation. All we men and women ought to state unambiguously that we do not want death, killing, war and weapons. We accept neither the destruction of our towns, villages, culture and civilisation nor seeing our citizens killed or forced into homelessness or emigration.
I pray that Almighty God may allow love and openness to win every heart. May the value of the Sacrifice or Redemption, which is the name and meaning of this feast, be the slogan for our joint progress towards peace. We declare once more that peace can only be realised from Jerusalem. Otherwise it is useless to speak of perfect, complete and lasting peace.
To Muslim Arab kings, presidents and leaders I address my sincere good wishes and greetings, praying for this feast to be an opportunity for a meditative pause, prayers and concerted, committed action for the dignity of our countries and citizens, for peace among our nations and for the preservation of the spiritual value of humans.
As a friend, I tell my beloved Muslim friends, especially in Syria and Lebanon, in Arab countries and throughout the world: we ought not to be afraid, because we are children of faith, hope and love. These difficult, dark times will grow lighter. Hearts will regain their God-given calmness. Let us all work to show more solidarity with refugees and displaced persons in order to alleviate their tragedy and pain.
In conclusion, I appeal to the international community and to humanitarian organisations to expend their utmost efforts to bring about peace for nations and enable them to enjoy their independence, respecting their right to determine their own future.
Patriarch of Antioch and All the East
Of Alexandria and of Jerusalem