18. Okt 10 - 22. Okt 10

Orthodox Contribution to a Theology of Just Peace. Developing the principles of a Just Peace

Saidnaya, Syria

 

In collaboration with the Institute for Theology and Peace, the Decade to Overcome Violence programme of the World Council of Churches (Geneva) and the Institute for Peace Studies in Eastern Christianity (Boston).

2nd Consultation on Orthodox Peace Ethics at the St. Christophoros Patriarchal Monastery at the Antiochian Conventions Center in Saydnaya (near Damascus)

Syria, 18-22 October 2010

 

The first consultation on Orthodox Peace Ethics in Bucharest ( July 2009 ) has given insight into the rich tradition of the Orthodox theology on peace as well as the relevance of historical circumstances for the formulation of ethical positions that need further reflection and development in the 21st century.

 

In the same manner the Inter-Orthodox Consultation that took place on the Greek island Leros (September 15 – 18, 2009) raised important perspectives that call for research. The challenges of globalisation as well as the reality of war call upon Christians and Churches to voice the peace message of Christ. Churches around the world have committed themselves to contribute to the International Ecumenical Peace Convocation from their respective traditions. Orthodox Churches and theologies are invited to bring together the best of their traditions for the development of a Just Peace as theological and ethical foundation of a peaceful international society in the 21st century.

 

Peace is a divine gift. As Christians we confess Christ as the Alpha and Omega of our desire for a peaceful world. Peace is a gift and a blessing at the same time that enables and demands the creation of just living conditions at personal, interpersonal and social levels. Christian ethics orientate human life not only to the avoidance of sin but also to the overcoming of all those results of unbalanced or malicious human actions. Therefore, wishing peace to our neighbour challenges us at the same time to refuse violence and injustices in our daily life as much as in the global world. The confession “Christ is our peace” challenges Christians to work for a more peaceful world.

 

Praying, working and contributing to a peaceful world in the Orthodox Tradition are most of all a confession of faith rather than activism or participation in civic movements. It is the peacemakers that “shall be called children of God” (Mt 5:9) and it is the vision and the promise of a Just New World, the Kingdom of God, that has been given to Christians and shaped the perception of human and social life in patristic theology and the Orthodox Tradition in general.  A plurality of references to Peace and Justice can be found in the works of the Church Fathers, the hagiographies, the academic theology and the living experience of the Ecclesia as Corpus Christi.

 

Although Eastern and Oriental Churches generally agree that peace and justice should be inalienable and indivisible conditions of human life –as humans understand God’s will - crucial questions need to be fac

  • What are the key principles that might function as foundations for a peaceful world?
  • What is the role of Orthodox communities around the globe as agents of peace?
  • What are the basic theses of the Orthodox Churches and communities towards ambivalent peace challenges of our times, such as intervention actions - prevention initiatives, peacemaking ethics - peacekeeping dilemmas - sovereignty rights – solidarity responsibilities - responsible prevention- legitimate protection?   
  • If peace cannot be understood in the absence of justice, then what does “just peace” mean?

 

The outcome document of the consultation can be downloaded here.