Catholicosate of Cilicia
Antelias - Lebanon
7 September 2016. On Wednesday noon the Heads of Churches of the Middle East met with His Royal Highness King Abdullah of Jordan at his palace. After a brief formal reception, the Patriarchs were the guests for lunch of the King. In his welcoming speech, King Abdullah spoke of the significance of holding the Middle East Council of Churches (MECC) Assembly in Jordan, emphasized the importance of Christian presence in the Middle East and called for them to remain. Five Patriarchs addressed the King and spoke of the difficulties of Christians in Syria and Lebanon and expressed their concern regarding the emigration of Christians.
In his address, His Holiness Aram I described the current political landscape in the Middle East as critical not only for Christians but for everyone in the region. He warned that radicalism is challenging the peaceful coexistence between religions not only in the Middle East, but across the world. He concluded that governments, religious institutions and nongovernmental organizations must join a united effort to overcome violence as a global threat by addressing its root causes. He then described the MECC Assembly in Jordan as a three-fold message to the world: It affirms that Christians belong to the Middle East, they are determined to remain irrespective of difficulties, and they are committed to the idea that pluralistic societies, in which people of different faiths live together, are a source of enrichment.
The King thanked the Patriarchs and responded to each of the concerns they had raised. During the Assembly, Prince Ghazi, the cousin of King Abdullah also met the Patriarchs during an official dinner organized by the Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem.