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Patriarch of Antioch: “We call on Muslims and Christians to see Jerusalem as path leading to our Lord”

Under the auspices of Patriarch John X of Antioch, the Theological School “Saint John of Damascus” of the University of Balamand, in collaboration with renowned institutions abroad, organised an International Scientific Conference on “The Orthodox Church of Antioch from the 15th to the 18th century: Towards an accurate understanding of history”, which took place between October 16 and 18, 2023.

The main purpose of the conference was to deepen the heritage and ministry of the Church of Antioch, especially during the turbulent period from the 15th to the end of the 18th century. This era was marked by significant historical transitions, and the conference aimed to shed light on how the Church of Antioch faced the multifaceted challenges of that period. In particular, they focused on both the history and the circumstances surrounding the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch.

His Beatitude Patriarch John X of Antioch delivered a speech at the opening of the International Scientific Conference: “On this blessed evening, I am pleased to be among you to inaugurate together, from the blessed hill of Balamand, the International Scientific Conference on “The Orthodox Church of Antioch from the 15th to the 18th century: Towards an accurate understanding of History”,” he pointed out.

“An accurate understanding of history, as stated in the title of the conference, requires adherence to scientific principles. The written recording of history is not a personal view but a set of truths and facts that we need to study in order to understand what really happened at a certain period of time and draw conclusions. Since our main topic deals with church history, it is our mission to tackle this particular matter, to repair what is broken, to heal the wounds and to put the pieces of the puzzle together,” the Patriarch added.

“The topics of this conference will allow you to appreciate the Renaissance vision that the Church of Antioch tried to achieve despite the difficult social situation and the challenges in the Middle East at that time. No matter how much some people try to question or distort the facts, they are unable to hide what has been achieved throughout the years,” he stressed.

Also, the Patriarch concluded in his speech: “We also need to speak the truth about what is happening in occupied Palestine. Palestine is ‘crucified’ due to selfish interests of nations. Palestine is bleeding along with crucified Jesus Christ on Calvary. We support the right of Palestinians to have their own land as well as the establishment of their state.

We stand by the people who are suffering from bitterness, siege, imprisonment, murder and displacement. Peace cannot prevail at the expense of the corpses of children, slaughtered men and women, nor it can be achieved by shedding the blood of the innocent. What is happening in Palestine is the result of the violation of human dignity, the disregard for international law and all decisions, pure discrimination and oppression.

Therefore, we call for the immediate cessation of the war in Gaza. The people of Gaza are paying the price of a suffocating siege with their own blood. We call on the Muslims and Christians to see Jerusalem as the path leading to our Lord. We beg our Lord to send His divine justice and mercy.”