His Holiness Aram I met Friday with the President of Brazil–Luiz Incio "Lula" da Silva–while in Brazil to chair the 9th assembly of the World Council of Churches (WCC). The General Secretary of the WCC Rev. Dr. Samuel Kobia–accompanied His Holiness during the meeting. The ministers of education and executive reform of Brazil also attended the meeting.
During the meeting–they discussed the social and economic reforms being carried out in Brazil–the church-state relations in the country–and the role of WCC.
His Holiness–the President–and their delegations then moved into the plenary hall where the WCC 9th Assembly is being held. Speaking in front of about 2000 participants–His Holiness Aram I said: "It is a great honor for me to greet you on behalf of the more than 350 churches represented here."
"Many years ago Brazil only meant football–the forests of Amazon–and carnivals–that is music and dance. The world sees different values in Brazil today. Democracy–the fight against violence and corruption–social and economic reform are greeted with special praise today," he continued.
Addressing the President of Brazil His Holiness said: "You come from the ran’s of common people and thus you know what poverty and deprivation mean through your life experience. You come from the labor union and therefore know the essential role of labor unions. You are called to develop such a state apparatus that is directed towards the people."
"Porto Alegre–where we are gathered today–means door to happiness in Portuguese. If new cities were to be constructed in Brazil–I would have wished them to be named Porto Esperanza that is door to hope–Porto Vida that is door to life. It is my expectation that you lead the people of Brazil towards a bright future filled with hope–life and happiness," concluded His Holiness.
President Lula then spoke in detail about the various reforms in the economic–social–educational fields and democracy related issues as President of Brazil.