Christian-Muslim dialogue – opening

Catholicosate of Cilicia
Communication and Information Department
Tel: (04) 410001, 410003
Fax: (04) 419724
E- mail: [email protected]

PO Box 70 317

«Most of the crises of the world arise from the tension between religious
beliefs and values, and human rights»

Stated His Holiness Aram I

In a brief talk with the journalists, His Holiness Aram I, Catholicos of
Cilicia stressed the crucial importance of inter-religious dialogue
considering it a “major priority” for all societies. He said: “Religion is
no more a private affair; it is an integral part of a community; it is a
major force in a society. Furthermore, religion is no more confined to the
spiritual spheres of a society; it embraces all aspects of society life”.
Hence, according to His Holiness, “religion must be taken seriously today”.

Considering the “Multi-faceted role” of religion as a potential source of
both conflict and progress, Catholicos Aram I warned about “the negative
repercussions of the misuse or abuse of religion”.

His Holiness Aram I believes that it is time that religions “transcend their
theological divergences and strengthen their common spiritual and moral
values which will provide for them a strong basis for common action”.

In response to a question, Catholicos Aram I called for a clear distinction
between religious beliefs and values, and human rights. He said: “Religions
have different perceptions concerning these realities and their
inter-conncectedness. For some they are in creative inter-action, for other
they are in tension; and many of the conflicts and crises of the world today
arise from this contradictions and polarizations”. According to His
Holiness, this particular area needs a deeper and critical analyses in the
context of inter-faith dialogue .

Speaking about the expectations of people from the religions, His Holiness
pointed out that “people are in search of meaning for their life they are
looking to religion for guidance and direction. Therefore, religions are
challenged to redefine and re-articulate their specific vocation in the
society, reminded Aram I.

His Holiness considers “combat terrorism” a priority area for the
collaboration among religions: “Terrorism is an evil force that must be
eradicated from our societies. Religions must work together for building the
kind of communities which are sustained by moral values as well as by
justice, peace and human dignity”, affirmed Catholicos Aram I.

As a clear indication of the growing importance of inter-religious dialogue
and collaboration, Aram I, as Moderator of the World Council of Churches
told to the reporters that the World Council of Churches will, at the end of
2004, organize a major international inter-religious conference in Geneva,

These statements of His Holiness were made in the context of a
Christian-Muslim dialogue actually taking place between the Islamic Republic
of Iran and the Armenian Catholicosate of Cilicia, in Antelias, Lebanon.


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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 history and
the mission of the Cilician Catholicosate, you may refer to the web page of
the Catholicosate, The Cilician Catholicosate, the
administrative center of the church is located in Antelias, Lebanon.