Raphaël Bedros XXI opens the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity in Beirut

In the Armenian-Catholic Cathedral of Saint Elijah and Saint Gregory the Illuminator in the Lebanese capital, the Patriarch of Cilicia of Armenian Catholics, Raphael Bedros XXI Minassian, invites everyone to overcome differences by turning to Christ the Redeemer and the mystery of the Eucharist.

By Tiziana Campisi

Opening the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity in Beirut, Lebanon, Cilician Patriarch of Armenian Catholics Raphael Bedros XXI Minassian offered his reflections recalling the elements that unite Christians, starting first with what believers recite in the sacrament of reconciliation. “When we resort to confession, we say, ‘Forgive me, Father, for I have sinned in thought, word, deed and omission,'” the patriarch recalled at St. Elias Armenian Catholic Cathedral and Saint Gregory the Illuminator. , pointing out that often, precisely on the subject of unity, intentions and words do not correspond to deeds. While we desire unity, we do not fully understand its true meaning: “We are scattered over the earth, and have fallen into the tumult of individual and collective selfishness and have forgotten our Redeemer.” He adds, “We have analyzed and explained the mystery of redemption according to our personal will and concept, but we have forgotten its purpose, which is salvation.”

The light of Bethlehem

Many people have worked hard and insistently for unity, observes Patriarch Raphael Bedros XXI, but sometimes with the aim of bringing others closer to their own principles. “Just as the Roman soldiers did under the cross for the garment of Jesus, we also fight for the garment of Christ,” he says, adding that Christ “was not born and crucified for a certain group , for an elite, but for all nations”. , for the salvation of all humanity.” Patriarch Raphael Bedros XXI says that we must focus on the light of Bethlehem, the origins of the news of salvation to the shepherds, to the Magi. This message has “come down to us , baptized and confirmed in his belonging to Christ the Saviour, the Christ who is born daily and in each Church in the mystery of the Eucharist”, which is “the same in all the rites and in all the Churches”.

The power of prayer

Faced with divisions, Patriarch Raphael Bedros XXI says that we must return to the power of prayer. It is the “prayer recited together and carried out with concrete actions, the prayer which leads us to tell ourselves that there is no disagreement in the sacrament of baptism, that there is no disagreement in the sacrament of the Eucharist, that there is no disagreement disagreement to pray together in all the Churches, Catholic and Orthodox, and also in all the other Churches”.

Moving forward together towards unity

He then points out that given the traditions and heritages of the different Churches, “all together we are part of a beautiful harmonious symphony which must glorify the Creator”, adding that it is our duty “to begin a new strengthened life through love and solidarity, keeping us apart from the problems that separate us from each other and from our Savior, who gave his life for us, but who remained and remains in the mystery of the Eucharist .” And if there are Catholics who refuse communion with the Orthodox and Orthodox who refuse communion with the Catholics, the Catholic Christ is not different from the Orthodox Christ, just as the sacrament of Baptism is not different, since all the sacraments of the Church have been established directly by Christ.

He then concludes that disputes are therefore human, caused by selfishness and sectarianism and far from any spiritual and Christian principle. And he expressed his hopes to move towards unity among Christians without conditions or restrictions.

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