Christian Unity Can Overcome Humanity’s Challenges – Message of Peace from Ecumenical Service
A powerful message of peace emerged from an ecumenical service which took place in Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin, on Saturday evening (December 2). The service was organised by the Dublin & Glendalough Council for Mission and Dublin Council of Churches to mark the visit of the Archbishop of Jerusalem, the Most Revd Suheil Dawani and his Chaplain, Canon David Longe, to the dioceses.
The service also welcomed members of the Armenian Community in Ireland and wreaths were laid at the Khachkar, a memorial to those who died in the Armenian Genocide in 1915, which is located in the cathedral’s grounds.
During the service a reflection was given by Archbishop Dawani and a message was read from Bishop Hovakim Manukyan, Primate of the Armenian Apostolic Church of the UK and Ireland, who was unable to attend due to illness. Both spoke of the importance of Christian unity and prayed for peace in Jerusalem and the region.
Bishop Manukyan (whose message was read by Ayda Lundon, Chairperson of the Armenian Parish Council in Ireland) highlighted the Armenian Church’s connection to Jerusalem. He prayed for the people of Syrian who were in need of help, shelter and peace and said that Church leaders had a role to play in expressing the prophetic voice of the Church to stop conflict all over the world.
“Once, the Church was a small unity of a few enthusiasts and believers who spread the word throughout kingdoms after the crucifixion, death, burial and resurrection of their teacher. Now it is our turn to preach the message of the Resurrected Lord to the world so that “all may be one” and “so that the world may believe”, as I strongly believe that this true and authentic faith is the only thing that will unite us and allow us to overcome the challenges that humanity is facing, not only in the Middle East but the entire world,” he said.
In his reflection, Archbishop Dawani outlined the excellent relationships between the 13 Churches recognised in Jerusalem. He said ecumenism in Jerusalem was more than just friendship it was deep fellowship with shared concerns and a shared desire to follow the Mission of Christ in the Holy Land. He said the Christian community in the Holy Land is shrinking yet they had an important voice and message.
“It is a message that is not about place; but about people, about hearts, and about the hope and love that the message of Jesus Christ brings. When we read in Revelation the image of the holy city Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God, we heard the metaphor for what Jerusalem is, what heaven is. The city of Jerusalem is indeed beautiful, it is precious; but the Christian message about Jerusalem is about that beauty and that precious being in our hearts like a rare jewel, like jasper, clear as crystal. When the church works together as one body, when it unites and puts its differences to one side it too sparkles like that rare jewel, reflecting not only the beauty of each of our traditions but the joy that radiates from each Christians’ heart through the knowledge and the love of our Lord Jesus Christ,” he said.
The service was sung by the Christ Church Cathedral Choir and the Armenian Choir sang ‘How Great Thou Art’ in Armenian, Arabic and English. Bringing the service to a close the Archbishop of Dublin, the Most Revd Dr Michael Jackson, spoke of Jerusalem as a City of Peace and said that Christians must be peace makers, peace keepers and peace sharers. He and Archbishop Dawani lit candles as a symbol of peace. The light was shared throughout the congregation who then proceeded out of the cathedral to the Armenian Khachkar.
Top – Archbishop Michael Jackson and Archbishop Suheil Dawani light candles during the ecumenical service.
Bottom – Prayers were said and wreaths laid at the Armenian Khachkar after the service.
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