PRESS RELEASE
Catholicosate of Cilicia
Communication and Information Department
Contact: V.Rev.Fr. Krikor Chiftjian, Communications Officer
Tel: (04) 410001, 410003
Fax: (04) 419724
E- mail: [email protected]
Web: http://www.cathcil.org/

PO Box 70 317
Antelias-Lebanon

Armenian version: http://www.cathcil.org/v04/doc/Armenian.htm


POLITICS IS MOTIVATED BY INTERESTS;
RELIGION MUST ACT ON THE BASIS OF VALUES
Stated His Holiness Aram I.

Addressing an international interreligious conference, His Holiness Aram I
said: "Inter-religious dialogue aimed at enhancing greater understanding of
each other's' theological teachings and fostering closer relations and
broader collaboration must remain a major concern for all religions".

Speaking about the role of religions in a new world context, Aram I, the
Moderator of the WCC, said: "Religion has become a major player on the
global scene. Religion has no identifiable boundaries; it has become
omnipresent in society and integral to our public and private life. For
some, religion is in process of self-articulation and is becoming more
relevant by adapting to the new world context; while for others, the
credibility of religion itself is at stake. The historical circumstances and
tremendous changes taking place in our societies call the religions to
engage in a critical process of self-understanding. Clearly, return of
religion and return to religion are facts of life".

His Holiness emphasized the importance of "credible and relevant"
dialogue: "Interreligious dialogues, which are organized by different
players of civil society, including political institutions, have become a
salient feature of contemporary societies. The proliferation of
inter-religious meetings may eventually undermine the pivotal importance of
inter-religious dialogue, if a solid substance and a clear orientation are
not given to these encounters. More than at any other time there is a great
awareness of the need for a credible and relevant inter-religious dialogue.
Only such a dialogue will help religions to reach a coherent and holistic
approach to crucial issues stirring the life of societies, and lead humanity
to healing and reconciliation".

His Holiness considered "common values" essential for interreligious
co-existence and action. "Dialogue implies a common basis and common
objectives. In their search for the common truth, religions must also seek
common values that will underpin their co-existence, guide their common
reflection and enhance their common action".

For His Holiness Aram I "religions must provide moral leadership in a world
where moral values are in decay". He said that we must accept our
deficiencies and vulnerabilities in humility. Our theologies, our
institutions, our ways of life are strongly affected by anthropocentric and
world-oriented values and considerations. The moral authority of a religion
is questioned when it uncritically supports a political agenda and relies on
worldly power".

Catholicos Aram I stressed the pivotal role of religion in combating
violence: "Religion is an instrument of peace-building. However, religion
has always had its own share in the emergence of the culture of violence.
The misuse and abuse of religion has often generated conflict. Religious
divergences are often exploited to create tensions. Distrust and
intolerance, fueled by extremist views and exclusivist doctrines, have
caused violence in many communities. Thus, unholy alliance of religion and
violence has become a bitter experience in many regions".

For the Moderator of the World Council of Churches "the credibility of a
religion is determined by its firm commitment to peace and non-violence. The
religions must pro-actively articulate their vocation as peace builders.
They must combat violence by addressing those issues and situations that
generate violence; by building a culture of peace with justice; by promoting
confidence and understanding between religions, and by leading societies to
reconciliation and transformation".

Concluding his address, His Holiness appealed to all religions: "to develop
a vision of community where hate is transformed into respect, intolerance
into acceptance, isolation into integration; to build communities where,
diversities are enriched and common values are deepened; to organize
communities so that working together on issues of common concern may become
a continuous process and a quality of being together; to seek new ways of
living together as one community, where our self-perceptions are respected,
deepened and broadened in dialogical interaction with each other".

More than 150 people from all religions take part in this international
conference of religions organized by the World Council of Churches.

Read below the full text of the lecture of His Holiness Aram
I.http://www.cathcil.org/v04/doc/English/eng2.htm#3
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View pictures here:

http://www.cathcil.org/v04/doc/Photos/Pictu res20.htm

http://www.cathcil.org/v04/doc/Photos/P ictures21.htm

http://www.cathcil.org/v04/doc/Phot os/Pictures22.htm

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The Armenian Catholicosate of Cilicia is one of the two Catholicosates of
the Armenian Orthodox Church. For detailed information about the Ecumenical
activities of the Cilician Catholicosate, you may refer to the web page of
the Catholicosate, http://www.cathcil.org/ The Cilician Catholicosate, the
administrative center of the church is located in Antelias, Lebanon.