(27-28 April 2017)

Cairo, Egypt
28 April 2017

This conference is the second organised this year by Al-Azhar on a new international and interfaith platform.

The first such, with the very significant title Religious Freedom: citizenship, diversity and integration, had been held from 28 February to 1 March 2017. My talk at that conference was published in the conference acts, but I further outlined my ideas in a dozen interviews in various media outlets.

Christian and Muslim faith leaders, scholars and political figures were invited to both conferences.

Talks were given by Eastern and Western Christian and Muslim international figures from the Arab world, Asia, Africa and Europe; these were not only in Arabic, but also in English, French and Italian.

 

Topics dealt with have examined the various aspects of peace: challenges to peace; religion and the misinterpretation of peace; poverty, sickness and peace; the culture of peace and the impact of religions; reality and hope.

Important figures have been participating in the current conference: Coptic, Greek Orthodox and Melkite patriarchs of Alexandria, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I, bishops and imams from Egypt, Iraq and other Arab countries of Africa and Asia.

Mutual respect, acceptance of others and frankness characterised the grand opening.

The present congress is a further step, a step forward, an opening, a note of hope…More respect, mutual recognition, and the desire to go forward.

A successful congress!

The visit of His Holiness Pope Francis has given added value to the significance of the current conference. He has come at God’s time (God’s kairos) for peace, dialogue and openness, solidarity, understanding, co-ordination, co-operation, optimism, for all us Christians and Muslims in Egypt and the world.

Thank you, Holy Father!

Thank you, Al-Azhar!

+ Gregorios III

Patriarch of Antioch and All the East
Of Alexandria and of Jerusalem


Teachings of Christ

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another." (John 13:34-35 ESV)

Protection of the Mother of God

Protected by your coming, O Mother of God, * the faithful people celebrate today with splendor, * and, gazing at your most pure image, * we say with compunction: * "Shield us with your precious veil * and deliver us from all evil * imploring your Son, Christ our God, to save 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.

Today the Virgin stands forth in the Church, * and with the choirs of saints she invisibly prays to God for us. * The Angels worship with the hierarchs, * and the apostles exult with the prophets, * because, in our behalf, the Mother of God entreats the pre-eternal God. (Kontakion - Tone 3)

The Church celebrates the Feast of the Protection of the Mother of God on October 1st.

Exaltation of the Cross

Save Your people, O Lord, and bless Your inheritance; * grant victory to Your Church over her enemies * and protect Your commonwealth by Your Cross. (Troparion - Tone 1)

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

Willingly lifted up on the Cross, O Christ God, * bestow Your compassions upon the new commonwealth that bears Your name. * By your power grant joy to Your Church, * granting her victory over her enemies. * May she have your Cross as the weapon of peace * and the invincible ensign of victory. (Kontakion - Tone 4)

The Church celebrates the Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross on September 14th.

Random Proverb

"Blessed is the one who finds wisdom, and the one who gets understanding, for the gain from her is better than gain from silver and her profit better than gold." (Proverbs 3:13,14 ESV)

Pray Without Ceasing

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

Wisdom from the Church Fathers

In two things then was Abraham victorious: that he killed his son although he did not kill him and that he believed that after Isaac died he would be raised up again and would go back down with him. For Abraham was firmly convinced that He Who said to him, 'through Isaac shall your descendants be named,' was not lying.

St. Ephrem the Syrian, Commentary on Genesis