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

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God." (Matthew 5:9 ESV)

Pentecost

Blessed are You, O Christ our God, * Who has shown the fishermen to be all wise, * by sending down to them the Holy Spirit, * and through them You have caught the whole world in Your net. * O Lover of Mankind, glory to You. (Troparion - Tone 8)

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

When the Most High descended, confusing tongues, * He divided the nations; * but when He distributed the tongues of fire, * He called all to unity; * and, with one voice, * we glorify the Most Holy Spirit. (Kontakion - Tone 8)

Saints and Martyrs

Adorned with the blood of Your Martyrs throughout the world, * as with purple and fine linen, * Your Church cries out to You through them: * "Send down Your compassions upon Your people. * Grant peace to Your commonwealth and great mercy to our souls." (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.

As the first-fruits of nature to the Planter of Creation, * the whole world offers to You, O Lord, the God-bearing martyrs. * Through their prayers and the intercession of the Mother of God * preserve Your commonwealth, the Church, in profound peace, O Most Merciful One. (Kontakion - Tone 8)

Random Proverb

"My son, do not lose sight of these — keep sound wisdom and discretion, and they will be life for your soul." (Proverbs 3:21,22a ESV)

Pray Without Ceasing

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

Wisdom from the Church Fathers

Why do you increase your bonds? Take hold of your life before your light grows dark and you seek help and do not find it. This life has been given to you for repentance; do not waste it in vain pursuits. 

St. Isaac the Syrian