ANTELIAS (Armenpress)–Catholicos of Great House of Cilicia Aram I–based in Antelias–Lebanon–has recently attended and addressed two major inter-religious conferences.
The first was organized by the European Commission with the collaboration of the Ecumenical Patriarchate on December 19-21–2001 in Brussels–Belgium. The second meeting was a consultation called by Tony Blair–Prime Minister of United Kingdom–with the collaboration of Archbishop of Canterbury on January 18-19–2002 in London–UK.
Upon the proposal of religious leaders and high ranking politicians–His Holiness Aram I has presented his views on organizing similar dialogues–which will continue in the coming years.
In his message–His Holiness stressed the crucial urgency of dialogues and said: "Christian-Muslim dialogue should not be formal and academic as it is now–it must develop a clear focus well defined agenda and direction at all levels from religious leaders–scholars to ordinary citizens.
"Christian-Muslim dialogue has been exclusively theological in nature. Future dialogues must concentrate less on the intellectual exchange of ideas and more on the living encounter of people."
His Holiness added that dialogues should be organized by both Christians and Muslims–as equal partners. "Thus far Christians have taken initiatives for organizing Christian-Muslim dialogues," he said.