At the University of California, Los Angeles
LOS ANGELES, ANTELIAS – On Saturday 15 October His Holiness Aram I spoke at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) on the topic, “The future of Christianity in the Middle East.” The presentation was attended by faculty members, students, representatives of local communities and organizations and the public at large.
Catholicos Aram I stated that regime change will have a positive impact on the lives of Christians only when democratic states are established and the rights of Christian communities are fully recognized and respected. Otherwise, he continued, “Christians will continue to emigrate.”
In the second part of his speech, His Holiness spoke about the challenges faced by the churches in the region. He stated that they must redefine their self-understanding and reassess their witness in this region which is in turmoil and transition because the church is a God-given vocation and not simply an institution.
After sharing his view on the way the churches in the Middle East should respond, Catholicos Aram I concluded: “Christians in the West should not consider the churches of the Middle East as the remnants of Christian history or mission lands, but as genuine partners; they should assist them to remain in the Middle East, in their own lands. Judaism, Christianity, and Islam must assume their prophetic roles at this critical moment of history, and endeavor together to build a culture of life which promotes reconciled diversities and a quality of life sustained by dignity, freedom, justice and peace, as well as by tolerance and mutual trust. Especially at this time, when the region is oscillating between uncertainty and promise, fear and hope, the three monotheistic religions are called to respond to this challenge.”