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Easter 2000 Message from Patriarchs in Jerusalem

From Worldwide Faith News <>
Date 20 Apr 2000 23:23:19

Topic: Easter 2000 Message from Patriarchs in Jerusalem

For the Great Jubilee of the Year 2000

 From Their Beatitudes the Patriarchs and Heads of the Christian
Communities in Jerusalem to Our Beloved Brothers and Sisters in
Christ in the Holy Land and the World:

The last few months have been encouraging to us all in view of
the manifestations of solidarity from our Christian family. We
inaugurated the celebrations of the third millennium together on 4
December 1999 when the Heads of all the traditional Churches in
Jerusalem joined thousands of people from our land and other
parts of the world at Manger Square in Bethlehem in a Common
Celebration. This special event helped encourage large numbers
of pilgrims to travel to the Holy Land in order to witness to Christ
and renew their faith in those places from where our Christian
faith spread forth to the whole world.

Shortly thereafter, we were richly blessed with the visit of many
Heads of Churches. In early January 2000, a great many of the
Patriarchs and Archbishops of the Greek Orthodox Church world-
wide came to the Holy Land to celebrate Christmas together in
Bethlehem. Later that month, in mid-January, the spiritual leader
of the Armenian Orthodox Church, His Holiness Karekin II,
Catholicos of All Armenians, visited us as well. And it was only a
few weeks ago that we welcomed in our midst His Holiness Pope
John Paul II and tens of thousands of pilgrims from around the
world who accompanied him on his spiritual pilgrimage to our land.
All these events have given witness to the life and presence of the
local Christian Church in our land and strengthened hope for our
future despite the arduous journey along the pathway of peace.
The reason for the Millennium is the anniversary of the birth of
the Holy Child in Bethlehem. Now, as we approach the
commemoration of the Passion, Death and Resurrection of our
Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, we have the opportunity to focus
attention on the basic tenets of our Christian faith.

We remember today St Paul affirming to us, "All I want is to
know Christ and to experience the power of his Resurrection, to
share in his sufferings and become like him in his death, in the
hope that I myself will be raised from death to life" (Phil 3:10-11).
The world might disappoint human beings. It might disillusion
them at times when it attempts to denigrate the eternal values that
Jesus exemplified to us throughout his ministry. But we are called
to be witnesses of the Risen Christ. We need to demonstrate our
commitment to Christ in clear and meaningful words.

Like Pontius Pilate in front of Jesus, many people ask today, "And
what is truth?" (Jn 18:38). As witnesses to our faith, we have to
spell out our conviction that God's truth is vital to our daily life.
Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life" (Jn 14:6). By
following the truth, we must emphasize the importance of sincerity
and the need for compassion amongst human beings. As such, we
ask all of you, clergy and laity alike, individuals or organizations, to
love one another, to understand each other and to work together
in order to preserve Jesus' teachings and to uphold those
principles for which he gave his life. Then, we will indeed prove
that his death on the Cross was not in vain, nor was the power of
his glorious Resurrection diluted over the centuries.

All these events took place in the Holy City of Jerusalem, which is
at the heart of our Holy Land. We hope that all religious and
secular authorities will work unstintingly to remove those
obstacles that come in the way of a comprehensive and just peace
for our region. No matter how difficult the times ahead, we
encourage you to remain steeped in your faith so that you can
"have the righteousness that is given through faith in Christ" (Phil
3:9) and you can truly proclaim Jesus' statement to his disciples,
"Be brave, I have defeated the world" (Jn 16:33). Then, you can
truly cry out aloud in jubilation:

Christ is risen! He is risen indeed! Hallelujah!

Their Beatitudes the Patriarchs and Heads of the Christian Communities in 

+ Diodoros I, Greek Orthodox Patriarch
+ Michel Sabbah, Latin Patriarch
+ Torkom II, Armenian Orthodox Patriarch
Fr Giovanni Batistelli, Custos of the Holy Land
+ Anba Abraham, Coptic Orthodox Archbishop
+ Swerios Malki Mourad, Syrian Orthodox Patriarchal Vicar
+ Gabriel, Ethiopian Orthodox Archbishop
+ Riah Abu El-Assal, Anglican Bishop
+ Mounib Younan, Lutheran Bishop
+ Lutfi Lahham, Greek Catholic Patriarchal Vicar
+ Boulos Sayyah, Maronite Patriarchal Vicar
+ Gregorios Boutros Abdul Ahhad, Syrian Catholic Patriarchal Vicar
+ Andre Bedoghlian, Armenian Catholic Patriarchal Vicar

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