After the updating of the Body of the Hierarchy by the Rev.
Metropolitans and the Bishops who represented the Venerable Prelate
and the Alexandrian Church in inter-Orthodox, inter-ecclesiastic and
inter-Christian dialogues and international conferences, as well as
the examination of contemporary, multi-level social problems and the
approval of the final text of the Conciliar Proclamation opposing
religious violence, the proceedings of the Holy
and Sacred Council of the Patriarchate of Alexandria were concluded
on the 23rd of November of this year.
In closing the proceedings of the Holy Synod, His
Most Divine Beatitude the Pope and Patriarch of Alexandria and All
Africa, Theodore II expressed his wholehearted thanks to all the
Hierarchs of the Apostolic Throne of Saint Mark for their laborious
and sacrificial poemantic opus in the Continent of Africa, pointing
out that at the epicentre of missionary activity continue to be the
spiritual instruction of the Christ-named flock and the Evangelizing
and qualitative upgrading of the lives of our African brethren, with
special attention given to the orphaned children, the combatting of
illnesses and the development of education.
In his antiphony, the Rev. Metropolitan of
Pelusium, Elder Callinicus, praised the Venerable Prelate's
unsleeping paternal care for the clergy and the laity of the
Ancient Church of Alexandria.
His Beatitude then apposed an official farewell
meal in the Grand Patriarchal Dining Hall in honour of the
Honourable Members of the Holy Synod.
CONCILIAR PROCLAMATION AGAINST RELIGIOUS VIOLENCE
Mankind has recently become witness to a series
of eruptions of religious violence, such that have disrupted
community peace, in the form of intimidation, persecutions,
compulsory expatriations, tortures, or even executions.
These atrocious acts, above and beyond every
logical boundary and prudence, bring to memory images from dark ages
that we all hoped had passed into History's oblivion.
the exceptionally negative social and psychological consequences at
a local level, the
incited eruption of phenomena of religious
violence has blackened - through the rapid interactive society of
information - the image of civilizations and religions at a
universal level, thus creating bridgeless chasms and impenetrable
walls between people of a different confessional identity, through
uncontrolled psychological incitation and illogical emotional
arousal of the masses.
The use of violence, under the cloak of religious
faith, constitutes a thorough perversion of the meaning of whichever
religious tradition, inasmuch as religions as a whole are obliged to
function as a carrier of unity between people. More
especially, the use of violence as well as tolerance towards it is
entirely inappropriate for those who believe in Christ.
It is imperative to stress that violence as a
practice is not only a meaning that annuls the Gospel; it is
essentially a complete denial of Christ, Whose God-human Person is
the hypostasis of love according to John's quote "God is Love"
(John 4:8); of peace as "the peace of God, which surpasses all
understanding" (Phillip 4:7), and, after all, of Life itself
according to the unerring evangelical word: "I am the
Resurrection and the Life" (John 11:25).
Throughout Her entire history, Orthodoxy has
suffered the violence of persecutions innumerable times - by status
quos that were alien, or of other religions and anti-Christian - the
truthful witness of which is Her Book of Saints, which is adorned
with the heroic figures of Martyrs and Confessors who offered their
very lives out of love for Christ.
the highest possible paradigm of love and sacrifice for the sake of
man's existential veridicality and salvation is the God-man Himself,
Jesus Christ, Who offered His life as an innocent victim, for the
union of humankind with God.
condescension as the unerring indicator, Who "so
loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever
believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life"
3,16), we wish to address our Christian brethren
throughout the African Continent and elsewhere on earth, who are
suffering for their faith.
We call upon them to remain steadfastly faithful
to the confession of love of our Faith, not forgetting that our Lord
had reassured us on one hand about the calamitous results of
violence, by stressing that "all
who take the sword will perish by
the sword" (Matth.26:52)
and on the other hand about the deserved reward of self-sacrificing
piety, by stressing that: " whoever
confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father
who is in heaven. But whoever denies Me before men, him I will also
deny before My Father who is in heaven." (Matth.32-33).
We call upon all those who commit inhuman acts of
religious violence or show tolerance towards them, to consider that
God, as the Creator, the Principal and the Fount of the world, is
the God of all nations and all people; the God of Love, of
Providence and of Salvation "according to the multitude of His
compassion" for all of His creations.
We call upon national and international
politicians, as well as peace-making and humanistic carriers to
implement active policies for the interception of senseless religious violence
- which has as its gnomon the exploitation of
people's religious sentiment and their inability to comprehend and
tolerate religious differences - so that it cease to function as a
Trojan horse that sanctifies religious intolerance and religious
It is time for people to cease calling upon God
to serve their divisive or terrorist choices - be they collective or
personal. It is time to marginalize psycho-pathological
obsessions of zealotism that claim to be on supreme missions from
God but are realized with the use of every possible means - even
that of aggressive or vindictive violence. It is time for
people to cease politicizing religion, or religionizing politics and
falsifying religious belief by linking it to totalitarian
tendencies, chauvinism and tribalism, for the purpose of hatching
wars that are falsely declared as "holy".
On the threshold of the third millennium from the
salvific incarnation of the Son and Logos of God, mankind is
realizing on the one hand the perennial validity of the axiom that
"an unholy and god-less city... there never has been, nor shall
there be seen" (*
Plutarch: Against Colotes
and on the other hand, the self-evident principle
that there cannot possibly be peace without peace between religions.
The Patriarchate of Alexandria, as the oldest
carrier of the Gospel's word in Africa, is struggling - and struggles
on a daily basis - for the existential propagation of Christ's words as
the path towards holiness and deification.
From this position, it outrightly rejects and
categorically renounces every form of religious violence, inasmuch
as it is an ineffective
expression of moral complicity of faith with violence - an
undesirable expression of trivialization and downfall of the crown
of divine creation: mankind.
Towards this end, it labours philanthropically,
poemantically and sacrificially towards the espousing of a loving and
forgiving conscience, far from inappropriate blind instincts; a
conscience which, by moving "not only towards those of a like nation,
but towards everything of like nature" (Cyril of Alexandria,
PG 72,686), will be capable of expelling the illogical element of
violence and be re-forged, into a domicile of God. A conscience that
may be temporarily joined to the earthly homeland, but is forever
aiming for the true homeland: the Eternal Kingdom of God.
Great City of Alexandria, 23rd November 2012.
of Alexandria and All Africa,
Archbishop of Axum, Elder Peter
Archbishop of Pelusium, Elder Callinicus
Metropolitan of Kampala (Uganda), Jonah
Metropolitan of Harare (Zimbabwe) and Angola, Seraphim
Metropolitan of Lagos (Nigeria), Alexander
Metropolitan of Capetown, Sergius
Metropolitan of Cyrene, Athanasius
Metropolitan of Carthage, Alexis
Metropolitan of Mwanza, Jerome
Metropolitan of Ptolemais, Proterius
Metropolitan of Guinea, George
Metropolitan of Hermopolis, Nicholas
Metropolitan of Irenoupolis, Demetrius
Metropolitan of Lusaka (Zambia) and Malawi, Joachim
Metropolitan of Johannesburg and Pretoria, Damascene
Metropolitan of Khartoum (Sudan), Emmanuel
Metropolitan of Yaounde (Cameroon), Gregory
Metropolitan of Central Africa, Nicephorus
Bishop of Katanga (Congo), Meletius
Bishop of Maputo (Mozambique), John
Bishop of Leontopolis (Egypt), Gabriel
Bishop of Accra (Ghana), Savvas
AGAINST COLOTES, THE DISCIPLE AND FAVORITE OF EPICURUS. -
Morals, vol. 5
there was never seen nor shall be seen by man any city without
temples and Gods, or without making use of prayers, oaths,
divinations, and sacrifices for the obtaining of blessings and
benefits, and the averting of curses and calamities.
Nay, I am of opinion, that a city might sooner be built
without any ground to fix it on, than a commonweal be constituted
altogether void of any religion and opinion of the Gods — or, being
constituted, be preserved."