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Posted in Dialogue, Interreligious dialogue

Interreligious and ecumenical meetings in Kafr Yassif and Rameh

P1060159Two meetings were organized in Galilee to discuss topics of interest to the faithful of different religious denominations in Kafr Yassif, and Rameh.

Kafr Yassif: social violence.

The meeting in Kafr Yassif on November 10th was organized by the association “You are my brothers” (“Ikhwati antum). The theme was on Social and family violence, especially among young people and in schools, a phenomenon sadly typical in Galilee.

This is an interfaith association and very rooted in the Greek Orthodox parish (very large for Rameh, which brings together more than half of the 8000 inhabitants). About 180 guests attended the meeting which was held in the parish hall, presided by Professor Boutros Dalleh, teacher and writer, the Druze Judge Naiym Henua, Sheikh Ziad Abumokh, and Bishop Giacinto-Boulus Marcuzzo, Latin Patriarchal Vicar for Israel.

The Bishop presented a conference on “The origin of violence in the individual and society.” From the Bible, he gave some examples from our history and current events. He showed how violence is always born in the heart of people. We cannot underestimate the force of circumstances and responsibilities of political policies. But the root cause is within each of us, and therefore solution emanates from the heart of each person, the fruit of education, school, religion or the media.

The interventions were an opportunity for lively discussions, highly cultural and even philosophical. Christians, Muslims and Druze participated in the discussions. They presented their views and insights using poetry verses, philosophical and literary quotations. In Kafr Yassif there is a percentage of university students among the highest in Israel. Reactions were more popular in nature and obviously lacking in religious perspective and biblical or theological basis.

For the Arab community in Israel, the overriding political issue is positive and peaceful. The home unit, common citizenship and history, solidarity in the present situation and especially the need for a common vision for the future are assurances of a united and peaceful society. In other words, violence is often a result of division and of evil.

Rameh: a Christmas of unity?

The gathering in Upper Galilee was organized by the ecumenical association “Shabab al-Kanissah” (Youth in the Church).   The theme for the conferences was agreed with the priests of Rameh: Fr. Ilario P. Antoniazzi for the Latins, Fr. William P. Abushqara for the Melkites, and Fr. Georgius Khoury for the Orthodox; on ” How to prepare ourselves for a Christmas of unity?”.

Presentations were made by Bishop Boutros Moallem, Greek Melkite, who spoke on the “Meanings of Christmas from the Liturgy and Icon”, Bishop Giancinto Boulus-Marcuzzo , Patriarchal Vicar for the Latins, on “Christmas in history and theology for unity in the tradition and life”, and Archbishop Atallah Hanna, Orthodox, on “Christmas in the spirit and love for the unity of Church. ” Reactions and questions from the audience mainly focused on the need to at least on a social level, unify the celebration of the holidays.

This ecumenical event, held on Dec. 4th, the feast of St. John of Damascus and the ever popular St. Barbara, strongly echoed a sense of pastoral unity. It rarely happens that such gathering is held in a church hall of the Orthodox.  S.A.K.) 


Rameh : un Noël d’unité ?

En Haute Galilée, l’association oecuménique “Shabab al-Kanissah” (“Jeunes de l’Eglise”, ndlr) a organisé, en accord avec les curés de Rameh (P. Ilario Antoniazzi pour les latins, P. William Abushqara pour les melkites et P. Georgius Khoury pour les orthodoxes), une table ronde à trois sur le thème : « Comment préparer un Noël d’unité ? ».

Les trois voix étaient représentées par Mgr Boutros Mouallem, grec-melkite, qui a traité le thème des “Significations de Noël à partie de la liturgie et de l’icône” ; par Mgr G-B Marcuzzo, vicaire patriarcal pour les latins, qui a parlé de « Noël dans l’histoire et la théologie pour une unité de la tradition et de la vie » ; par Mgr Atallah Hanna, orthodoxe, dont la conférence était « Vivre Noël dans l’esprit et dans la charité pour l’unité de l’Eglise ». Les réactions et les questions du public se sont concentrées surtout sur la nécessité, sociale tout du moins, d’unifier les fêtes.