The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


His Beatitude Mesrob II, Armenian Orthodox Patriarch of Istanbul and all Turkey, speaks against war

“Our perspective is in agreement with the World Council of Churches (see WCC statement).....

“We think this war has not been justified yet. ... We think this has something to do with oil and water in the region, because Iraq has the largest water reserves in the region. There has always been uneasiness that the next major war would be about water reserves in the region.

“We think the Iraqi people have a right to get rid of this tyranny by themselves. ... They have a right to self-determination. This should be done by the Iraqis themselves. This cannot be done by other people or [the changes in the nation] will not be on a good foundation.

“Many of the Muslim people regard this action as a Christian crusade against Islam. [With the WCC, we] have tried to convince Muslim people that this was not so, that we are interested in dialogue with them. We have been teaching [in our churches] that we have to live together in an interfaith world. This is a major blow to that.

“Local churches have now to do something for refugees. We already have a committee working. The real refugee assistance should be near the southeast border of Turkey [and our church will work with other nongovernmental organizations in the relief effort].”


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