Expresses Christian and Muslim Hopes for Peace

ANKARA, Turkey, APRIL 22, 2007 (Zenit.org).- The vicar apostolic of Anatolia expressed hopes that religions could join to defeat violence, after three Christians were killed last week at a Bible publishing house.

After the slayings on Wednesday in Malatya, in eastern Turkey, Bishop Luigi Padovese said: "This latest episode has profoundly disturbed us. … We do not yet know the organization behind this bloody deed."

Three people were killed -- one a German citizen -- and one person was wounded in the assault on Zirve Publishing, where the victims were at work. Initial erroneous statements reported that the fourth victim died from his wounds.

Authorities in Ankara have said today that the police have arrested 10 people in connection with the murders and are questioning witnesses.

Among the suspects are some members of the Islamic nationalist group The Gray Wolves, who have threatened the publishing house in the past.

According to Bishop Padovese: "We cannot exclude that the recent insistence on the danger posed by Christian missionaries to the national and religious identity of Turkey has played a role in inciting this incident.

"But how many are there of these missionaries who are seen as a phenomenon of destabilization? Perhaps 100. But what do they mean to a population of over 70 million? I think, therefore, that in these actions there was an attempt to strike at a symbol."

A blasphemy

Bishop Padovese said that on Wednesday, he had participated with local religious and civil authorities in a celebration of the birth of Mohammed.

"I observed their regret and sadness over this bloody violence," 57-year-old vicar apostolic said. "I was struck by the mufti of Antioch's testimony before the crowd that was gathered. 'If we are afraid of those who distribute the Gospel,' he said, 'this means that our faith is very weak.'"

"Faced with these incidents," Bishop Padovese affirmed, "I believe that it is a good thing to promote common 'symbolic' actions with Turkish religious leaders so that our unity is seen and all, Christians and Muslims, are shown that we consider violence in the name of God a blasphemy against God."

He continued: "It is in this common action of dialogue, that on May 12-13 here in Iskenderun, in the house that we have dedicated to Father Andrea Santono, there will be a Muslim-Christian symposium on the Word of God in Christianity and in Islam.

"I believe that a meeting such as this should serve to isolate the violent acts of some irresponsible people and show that in Turkey the desire for dialogue prevails over that of confrontation."

Code: ZE07042211

Date: 2007-04-22


Teachings of Christ

“Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” (John 4:13-14 ESV)

Joachiam and Anna Rejoice

Today the bonds of childlessness are loosed, * for God has heard Joachim and Anna * and He promises manifestly that they, against all hope, would give birth to the Maiden of God * from whom the Uncircumscribed One Himself would be born, becoming man, * and he commanded the Angels to cry out to her: * “Rejoice, O Full of Grace, the Lord is with you!” (Troparion - Tone 4)

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and to the ages of ages. Amen.

Today the whole world celebrates * the conception of Anne which was brought about by God, * for she gave birth to the one who, beyond understanding, * gave birth to the Word. (Kontakion - Tone 4)

Holy Forefathers

Through faith, O Christ, you justified the Forefathers, * betrothing through them in advance the Church of the gentiles. * The Saints exult in glory, * for from their seed came forth a glorious fruit: * she who gave birth to You without seed. * Through their prayers, O Christ God, have mercy on us. (Troparion, Tone 2)

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and to the ages of ages. Amen.

You did not honor a hand-depicted image, O thrice-blessed ones, * but defended by the undepicted Being you were glorified in a trial by fire. * And, standing in the midst of unbearable flame, you called upon God: * “Hasten, O Compassionate One, and speed to our help, * for You are merciful and You can do whatever you will.” (Kontakion, Tone 6)

(Second Sunday Before Christmas)

Saint Nicholas of Myra

The truth of your deeds has revealed you to your flock, * as a rule of faith, an image of meekness, and a teacher of abstinence. * Therefore, you attained the heights through humility, * and riches through poverty. * O Father and Hierarch Nicholas, * pray to Christ God that our souls may be saved. (Troparion, Tone 4)

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and to the ages of ages. Amen.

In Myra, You were shown to be a servant of the sacred things, O Holy Nicholas, * for, fulfilling the Gospel of Christ, you, O Venerable, laid down your life for your people, * and saved the innocent from death. * Therefore, you were sanctified as a great initiate of the grace of God. (Kontakion, Tone 3)

Random Proverb

"My son, be attentive to my wisdom; incline your ear to my understanding, that you may keep discretion, and your lips may guard knowledge." (Proverbs 5:1,2 ESV)

Pray Without Ceasing

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

Wisdom from the Church Fathers

Self-accusation before God is something that is very necessary for us; and humility of heart is extremely advantageous in our lives, above all at the time of prayer. For prayer requires great attention and needs a proper awareness, otherwise it will turn out to be unacceptable and rejected, and 'it will be turned back empty' to our bosom.

Martyrius of Edessa