While the Geneva 2 Syria peace talk started yesterday (22 January 2014) with a welter of stark rhetoric on all siders, churches from around the world continued to focus on visible actions to be taken to put an end to the conflict in Syria, leading the way towards justice, peace and stability.
The increasing number of appeals from world churches are adding to statements over the past week made by the World Council of Churches (WCC) and Vatican calling for an end to the violence.
“Today the world expects from you decisive actions aimed at settling by peaceful means the sanguinary conflict in Syria,” said Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia, head of the Russian Orthodox Church, in a message issued by the church on 21 January.
“On behalf of the Russian Orthodox Church, I call upon you to exert every possible effort to end the hostilities immediately and unconditionally, so that dialogue could begin, with all Syrian political forces and the civil society taking part in it,” added Patriarch Kirill.
“I am praying today so that the seeds of peace, which the participants of the conference are called to plant, may bring good fruit for every Syrian citizen,” he said.
Similar concerns were echoed by the Standing Synod of the Church of Greece, another WCC member church in a communiqué issued on 13 January in Athens.
“We appeal to every organisation and agency, to all those in power on earth, to face up to their historical responsibilities to mankind, even at this ultimate moment, and to put an end to this inhuman and absurd ‘theatre of death’ which has been unfolding in Syria since 2011,” states the communiqué.
“These gaping wounds in Syria must be healed as soon as possible,” it reads.
The General Secretaries of the World Evangelical Alliance (WEA) and the Conference of European Churches (CEC) joined the call of the WCC, praying and urging concrete actions for justice and peace be taken at the Geneva 2 talks.
These appeals from the churches endorse a statement produced by the WCC last week, stressing the need for “immediate cessation of all armed confrontation and hostility within Syria”, ensuring that “all vulnerable communities in Syria and refugees in neighbouring countries receive appropriate humanitarian assistance” and that “a comprehensive and inclusive process toward establishing a just peace and rebuilding Syria” should be developed.
* WCC: http://www.oikoumene.org/en
* More on Syria from Ekklesia: http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/syria