The murder and uprooting suffered by Christians in the Middle East has been highlighted as a topic of concern by the Secretary General of the National Council of Churches in Australia.
Meeting with His Beatitude Mar Meelis Zaia, Metropolitan of Australia, New Zealand and Lebanon at St Hurmizd Cathedral in Sydney, Reverend Tara Curlewis voiced her concerns about the risks to Christians in Iraq, following a spate of terrorists attacks in recent months.
Rev. Curlewis expressed the desire of the Council to search for ways to find appropriate solutions to help Iraqi Christians by aiding the governments of Iraq and Australia with a viable solution.
The discussion dealt with the ordeals of the Iraqi Christian refugees stranded in neighbouring countries (ie: Syria, Jordan and Lebanon) without means of getting back to their homeland.
Acknowledged was the necessity for the Council of Churches to provide separate humanitarian care for refugees by activating the Council’s role to make an impact in this regard.
His Beatitude suggested that a visit to Iraq be made by a delegation of the National Council of Churches in Australia, and particularly visit the areas where a heavy presence of Christian families exist to look closely and deal directly with their circumstances by interacting and drawing from their actual state of affairs.
His Beatitude then discussed the modern curriculum in private Christian schools, where he emphasised the need for the religious education curricula to transcend the theological and ideological differences among the churches, and to adopt the spirit of unity instead of promoting discrimination.
His Beatitude stressed that, given the worsening plight of the Middle East’s Christians, it is undeserving to create divisions in a time where the size of the current challenges require further integration and harmony.
Following discussions, Rev. Tara visited the St Hurmizd Cathedral where His Beatitude presented an explanation of the symbolic meanings of the structure and the Church Sacraments. She then visited St Hurmizd Assyrian Primary School, the educational institution adopted by the Assyrian Church of the East in Sydney several years ago, and explored the current ongoing projects in progress updating the school sections.
The Assyrian Church of the East is an active member of the National Council of Churches in Australia which was established in 1994, and includes 19 different churches from the Catholic, Orthodox and Protestant demoninations. The Council is a Member of the Christian Conference of Asia and works to synchronise the Official Ecumenical Councils, in conjunction with the World Council of Churches.[nggallery id=107]