في كنيسة الصليب المقدس التي اقيمت فيها حفلة الوداع بمناسبة انتهاء خدمات
Bishop John Hind of Chichester مساء يوم السبت 28 نيسان 2012، شارك نيافة راعي الأبرشية مار غريغوريوس يوحنا ابراهيم صديقه المحتفى به وممثلي الأبرشية الذين حضروا الاحتفال وخلالها القى نيافته الكلمة التالية بالانكليزية:
Words of Farewell for Bishop John Hind Bishop of Chichester
Mar Gregorios of Aleppo
It is my great pleasure to be with you at Holy Cross Church, Ukfield, Chichester today and have the opportunity to say few words of Farewell on this occasion.
Thanks be to God, I managed to come all the way from Aleppo, Syria to Chichester in spite of the flight sanctions imposed on Syria today.
I came to greet you all and present my wishes and regards to my dear brother and friend the Right Revd Lord Bishop John Hind.
I shall not be very long, therefore I will deal with three short topics.
Let’s start from my country Syria. Today, we are challenged with a socio-political impasse, an unprecedented predicament of a magnitude that we have not witnessed in our modern history.
Biblically speaking, when the Arab Spring emerged in Tunisia and before it started to spread into neighbouring countries, it sprang to my mind the words of Jesus to Nicodemuse in one dark night in Jerusalem:
“The wind blows where it wills, and you hear the sound thereof, but cannot tell from where it came, and where it goes.”
The uncertainty and challenges descended on us with a limitless direction and consequences.
Therefore, no one can predict the scale of suffering of Syrian people today and how it will develop and evolve. Helplessly and hopelessly, all what we can, at the end of each day is to take stock of the number of Syrian martyrs, (some may refer to it, in cool blood, as body counts). Needless, to flip the coin and look at the other side. The distractions of the national economy, infrastructure, forced immigration, the loss of our values, erosion of confidence, hope and passion.
What we desire today from all those who have an interest in the propagation of such spring is to be realistic and believe in God, behave as human beings, and endeavour to protect the integrity of His creation, environment and humanity.
To you all my dear brothers and sisters, I plead and with you I pray fervently that decision makers in this blessed country will join us as peacemakers, to bring about a peaceful outcome not only in Syria but in the whole region.
Secondly, I came to know Lord Bishop John Hind in a very Christian milieu. We were both, for many years, members of the Central Committee and the Board of the Faith and Order of the World Council of Churches. Post 1948, Geneva became a unique ecumenical platform for Christians. It was not only to organise and attend, assemblies, conferences, meetings …etc. but to build bridges between member churches.
This was the first vital and necessary step to heal the wounds of the church after many centuries of inter-Church division, vendettas and dissension we established a constructive dialogue to bring about all the churches together again to live the real unity as was described in John 17: 20-22.
“My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me.”
Do you think, for a moment, it is a simple task to carry our luggage (old and new) and travel in all directions to meet and attend such ecumenical gatherings, having in mind that we are delegated by our churches to fulfil the wishes of our Lord Jesus Christ?
Again I may pose another question: since you are the people of God, is it easy to demolish and remove stubborn walls erected and accumulated since the fifth century?
However, I am not here to give a lecture on Church history and its anguish, ecumenism in a troubled world or a lesson on dogmatic theology. I am here to share with you the good news that great many positive and encouraging achievements and steps forward were made throughout our long ecumenical cammino.
Let us count our blessings and praise the Lord that one of the visible fruits of unity is my among you right now.
Thirdly: Let me here give you my testimony about Lord Bishop John Hind. When he was in charge of the Anglican Communion outside England, Tur Abdin was included in his diocese. You may ask what is Tur Abdin and how did an Anglican Bishop come to have this under his jurisdiction of a far corner of Asia Minor?
Tur Abdin to us is the second Jerusalem of the Syrian Orthodox Church. It is the birthplace of many saints, Church fathers, Church leaders, Patriarchs Catholicoi, Metropolitans, Archbishops, Bishops and other clergies. It is the land of different theological centres, schools and monasteries. The 4th century school of Nisibis, Mor Gabriel Monastery are witnessing the spiritual richness of this region of the world. I would like to mention here one that we have in common St. Ephrem the Syrian who is considered one of the universal church fathers.
This region was attacked morally and physically several times through its ancient and contemporary history. However, since the First World War, Tur Abdin witnessed a steady demographic erosion and uprooting of its indigenous inhabitants.
I am aware that the diocese of Chichester formed its own Friends of Tur Abdin organisation.
But I have to witness that Lord Bishop John Hind did not spare an opportunity of advocacy for the rights and plight of the innocent people of Tur Abdin and their ancient Holy places, whether here in the House of Lords, or internationally in other ecumenical circles, as well as privately.
I add here that before and after the perilous troubles in Syria, Lord Bishop John Hind continued his mission by advocating Christians generally and the Syrian Orthodox in particular. Bishop John led several pilgrimages to the region. Recently, he visited Syria and continued to share with me and other church leaders the suffering of our people.
On behalf of the Syrian Orthodox Church everywhere and especially in Syria and Tur Abdin, Mor Polycarpose of Holland and I, would like to express our appreciations, admirations and love to you, to Janet and your loved ones.
I would like to thank the diocese of Chichester for their endeavours to keep Tur Abdin in their prayers, and wish that your successor will continue your mission and maintain the same level of relations between this beloved and blessed Diocese and Tur Abdin.
I will conclude with two Aramaic Syriac sentences:
Abun M’alyo. Tawdi Sagi, Fush Bashlomo, Moryo Netel lokh Haylo o Hulmono.
[Syriac for: Your Grace, Thank you very much, God be with you, protect you, and give you strength and health.]