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Patriarch Gregory III to Obama: “Great Leaders are Those Who Know How to Make Peace”

Jonathan Colman

Agenzia Fides - published on 09/12/13 - updated on 06/08/17

The Melkite Patriarch of Damascus expresses relief over the seeming roll back of military intervention in Syria and comments to all political leaders the importance of peace.

"The greatness of a leader is to seek peace and make peace, not to wage war and create destruction. A superpower is such if it is a power of peace."

With these words, the Melkite Patriarch (Greek-Catholic) of Damascus, Gregory III Laham comments with relief the present moment, after U.S. President Barack Obama’s speech to the nation, which seems to roll back the specter of a military intervention in Syria.

"The logic of violence is never the logic of wise people," he says. "We call on all political leaders of the world to return to the Word of Jesus in the Gospel: this is enough to build a world of civilization, liberty, dignity, love and mercy."

"Syria," Gregory III explains to Fides, "is fully linked with neighboring countries. And if a tree in a forest burns, the entire forest will burn", he adds with a metaphor, warning against the risk of a regional war that would produce thousands of new victims.

The Patriarch, appreciating the diplomatic efforts and calling for a political solution to the ongoing conflict in Syria, renews "the invitation to renounce violence and not to resort to an attack of any kind," as the leaders of the Christian Churches of the Middle East said, who met recently in Jordan.

"We also renew the invitation to all the faithful to continue to pray, as requested by the Pope, for peace in Syria and in the world," he concludes.

Originally published by Agenzia Fides on 11 September 2013.

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