The Mecc met for two days at the end of November in Lebanon focusing on the future of the new generations. The plan for a special conference on kidnappings marking a decade since the two bishops of Aleppo were abducted. The invitation to continue dialogue for a common date on Easter. 

Beirut (AsiaNews) – Prayer for an end to the wars in the world, from the Middle East to Ukraine; aid for the Syrian people by preparing a support plan for the return of displaced persons; a “special” conference on the theme of kidnappings and forced disappearances, to coincide with the 10th anniversary of the kidnapping of the two bishops of Aleppo: the Greek Orthodox Boulos Yazigi and the Syrian Orthodox Yohanna Ibrahim.

These are some of the programmatic points outlined in the final communiqué, sent to AsiaNews, by the Executive Committee of the Middle East Council of Churches (Mecc), which met at the end of November in Lebanon, in Bkennaya, at the monastery of Notre-Dame du Puits.

The Christian leaders also made a strong appeal to young people, urging them to remain “faithful to their land” and shun the “trap” of “emigration” that ends up causing them to lose their “identity” by impoverishing the “social fabric”.

During the two days of work, the delegates analysed the outcome of the 12th General Assembly of the Council, held in Egypt last May, and the results of the four-year event. At the same time, the election of the Central Committee of the Palestinian Refugee Service Department took place, with the appointment of a commission to follow the work of the Council’s 50th jubilee, which will fall in 2024. 

One of the main focal points was the attention paid by Christian leaders to the new generations. This is why the meeting was attended by a group of young people from Lebanon, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Palestine and Syria, representing the various Churches and youth movements in the region.

During a session of dialogue and discussion, the boys and girls present expressed their concerns and aspirations, presenting proposals that could guarantee a better future and greater relevance for Christians in the Middle East. 

The Council, founded in 1974 in Nicosia (Cyprus) and now based in Lebanon, is made up of the Catholic, Orthodox, Eastern Orthodox and Evangelical Churches. The seven-point final document contains provisions, recommendations and exhortations aimed at illuminating the ‘future path’ of the Christian communities in the Middle East, at a time of bloody conflicts, poverty, confessional violence and divisions.

The first point is the invitation to pray for an end to wars and for a return to dialogue, the only ‘language’ capable of overcoming divisions and violence. From Syria to Lebanon, there are many emergency situations and it is precisely to the leaders of the Land of the Cedars that the Christian leaders ask to “speed up” the election of a president of the Republic who is a guarantor of sovereignty and a guarantee of democratic life.

Then there is the appeal for peace in Syria, solidarity with Iraq and support for the Palestinian people, implementing international resolutions and protecting “the various social and religious components” of the Holy Land, especially the Christian ones. 

To young people, the “light of the world and the salt of the earth”, is addressed the invitation to “not fall into the trap of migration”, which “makes them lose their identity”. And to Church leaders the task of listening to their “concerns and aspirations” while guaranteeing a “role” in the present and future of the Church’s life.

Finally, the document recalls the “need” to “move forward in dialogue to try to unify the date for the celebration of Easter, a pressing need of the various parishes and Churches in the Middle East”. A choice that certainly does not want to deny “the richness” of the diversity of rites and ecclesial traditions.