Russia TLIG Magazine

T R U E L I F E I N G O D 64 other levels, in spite of all the wars, natural disasters, earthquakes, famines and infectious diseases, even this last war, Aleppo is still alive. And I do not exag- gerate if I say it can still teach lessons on the ability to overcome wars, difficulties and disasters that have struck it, and it can remain, as it has always been, a bridge between the East and the West, between the North and the South; and it can remain the Silk Road not only for goods and trade, but also for the con- cepts of mutual respect, accepting others and living in peace, despite all the differences carried by the diverse cultures. Aleppo, in the context of Christian religion, is an ecu- menical city par excellence. It has six Catholic and three Orthodox denominations and two evangelical communities. They live together in mutual respect, engage in periodic and monthly meetings, working together for the benefit of Christians regardless of their denomination. The same with Muslims from the different rites, for the work is to agree on what unites both religions not on what separates them. Christian clergy meet Muslim religious scholars nev- er to discuss matters of religion, or to convince one another of their religion, but to work on mutual love and living together in peace, and staying away from all that incites tension or fanaticism, or all that leads to categorizing the followers of other faiths as infidels. What will bring peace to Aleppo, and may also to the world, is tireless and serious work on two main pillars: human civilization and the cultural dimension. Every human being is a “human being” no matter how dif- ferent our religions or denominations are. The cultur- al factor elevates the human being to meet the other person with peace and love, moving away from every thought that leads to fanaticism, calling others infi- dels and rejecting them. Love remains the main bond that connects society in a cohesive unity and, together, this society can overcome every threat, war or menace, all those things under the banner of living properly our citizenship in one country and homeland. Thank you. Most Reverend Simon Atallah, oam Bishop Emeritus of Baalbek-Deir El-Ahmar (Maronite), Lebanon Former President of the Episcopal Committee for Ecumenical Affairs Building bridges “Today, the human race is involved in a new stage of history. Profound and rapid changes are spreading by de- grees around the whole wor- ld.”(Vatican II, Gaudium et Spes, introduction, 4) For its part, the Church wants to be a credible partner in so- ciety, rather than being re- legated to the role of an au- thority, reduced to blessing or censuring. Indeed, the Church, in a constructive at- titude of dialogue, would like to participate in the innumerable studies for purpose. The language of faith must, in fact, take account of this true social and cultural transformation (ibidem, Gaudium et Spes) in all of its forms of expression. For its part, the Observatory, “Faith and Culture” of the Ecumenical Council of Churches, is a place where culture today nourishes its dialogue with faith. The Church calls on all its faithful to actively engage in interreligious dialogue. This dialogue between Christians and believers of other reli- gions, in a certain sense, does not exist. Moreover, the per- sonal character of all inter- religious dialogue enables us to establish the fundamental principles of any dialogue and to measure the demands. If we take a look at what has happened, and what happens in religious circles, es- pecially in recent years, we find that an ever-increa- sing number of faithful of various religions have met, perhaps by chance, not only in distant countries, but also and especially in the Middle East and Europe. How to bridge our divisions and bring peace to the world

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