ANTELIAS–His Holiness Aram I–Catholicos of the Holy See of Cilicia received a delegation of the World Council of Churches in Antelias–Lebanon on February 11 who brought Him greetings from the WCC General Secretary Dr. Konrad Raiser.
Genevieve Jacques–Director of the WCC Cluster on Relations and Salpy Eskidjian–Program Executive in the WCC International Relations–responsible for the Council’s portfolio on Peace building–Disarmament & Middle East Affairs–were members of the two member delegation–who were in Beirut for one day to attend the first Tripartite Committee meeting of the WCC–Middle East Council of Churches (MECC) and the Heads of Churches in Jerusalem in order to develop a new ecumenical coordination center in Jerusalem.
The meeting of the newly formed Tripartite Committee followed a process that begun in August 2001 at the ecumenical consultation on the situation in the Occupied Palestinian territories–convened by the WCC in Geneva and moderated by Aram I–where member churches of the WCC–the MECC and ecumenical organizations in working relationship with the WCC agreed to work together to develop an ecumenical–coordinated and focused response to end the illegal occupation of Palestine.
Discussions with the Armenian Catholicos Aram I were mainly focused on the political–social and economic situation in the Middle East–especially the developmen’s inside the Occupied Palestinian Territories and the role and responsibility of the WCC in this regard. In addition there was a rich exchange of views around current international affairs–including WCC’s upcoming Executive Committee in Copenhagen.
In their encounter with Catholicos Aram I–Moderator of the WCC Central and Executive Committees–the WCC delegation also shared the successful results of the recent WCC working group meeting held in Geneva–which developed the framework and scope of the newly formed Ecumenical Accompaniment Program in Palestine and Israel (EAPPI)–unanimously requested by the WCC Executive Committee. The EAPPI’s mission will be to accompany Palestinians and Israelis in non-violent actions and concerted advocacy efforts to end the Israeli occupation.