by His Grace Bishop Angaelos, General Bishop of the Coptic Orthodox Church in the United Kingdom (Wednesday, December 31, 2014) 2014 has been a challenging year, demanding greater humanitarian assistance and advocacy for a variety of people across the world, and in many instances this has generated an immensely positive response from individuals and society as a whole. For that reason, while reflecting on the darkness of the tragedies that have been unfolding, we must also remember to give thanks for the light shining through the good works of faithful people in their response to them, some of whom have sadly paid the ultimate price. Through these occurrences the world has experienced an extremist narrative seeking the destruction of centuries-old communities. In response to this alarming development however, there have been greater unified efforts across the ecumenical and inter-religious spectrums to express solidarity with, advocate on behalf of, and provide much needed aid to, those suffering. Religious and civic leaders have been challenged to speak out against violations of basic human rights, and in many cases have responded to that call with a greater sense of responsibility and commitment. This response however, is still disproportionate to the suffering, destruction and devastation that has been experienced, and much remains to be done. It is increasingly difficult to provide hope with the backdrop of those who continue to suffer gross violations of their rights, and yet we are reminded, particularly at this time of the year, that through the Incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ, the whole of humanity has been freely gifted with respect, love and peace through the message of Salvation. The global community is founded upon the safeguarding of fundamental principles of God-given freedom, liberty, and equality, and while many around the world are denied these rights, we who are free to enjoy them must advocate and do all we can to protect those same rights for them. We have an individual and collective responsibility towards our brothers and sisters, regardless of their religious affiliation, as every individual is entitled to live in peace, and with the freedom to choose and live his or her faith, as long as that does not impede on the choices of others. Our Lord Jesus Christ was born into adversity and poverty, and at an early age fled to, and sought asylum in, Egypt. His family fled from oppressive persecution, and He continued to live His life facing immense challenges and struggles in order that we may find comfort in His example and His victory over all that seeks to overcome us. Our Lord warned us that “in the world you will have tribulation,” but then immediately reassures us with His powerfully comforting words “but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). When considering oppression on a global scale, or closer to home, we must remember that God bestowed basic human rights upon the whole of humanity, and where those rights are violated we must act, because we are reminded that “faith [in this principle] without works is dead” (James 2:26). We should take the opportunity at the beginning of this New Year to consider how we as individuals and communities can positively impact the lives of those around us, beginning with correcting those things within ourselves that may cause pain to others. I wish you all the blessings of the Feast of the holy Nativity, and a New Year filled with good health, success and joy in all that it is dear. +Angaelos General Bishop Coptic Orthodox Church United Kingdom
We the members of the Knights Templar OSMTH welcome and embrace the message of HG Bishop Angaelos as we did his outstanding presentation made in the fall of 2014 in Washington, DC. It is our sincere plan to continue to support him and the historic Coptic Christians throughout the world. I trust that in 2015 we will develop new ways to strengthen our ecumenical mission to His Grace. Very best for a Happy & Healthy New Year, Patrick Rea Brigadier General—US Army (Ret) Grand Master, OSMTH
Work is under way in Jordan to kick off an initiative to promote mutual respect among religions and disseminate a culture of dialogue and tolerance across the region, organisers said. RELATED ARTICLES • Jordan's Muslims, Christians unite against extremism • Jordan teaches tolerance at Islamic summer schools • Social networking websites leaving imprint on Jordanian society Organised by the Jordanian Interfaith Coexistence Research Centre -- a group founded by government representatives and Christian and Muslim leaders to call for peace and coexistence -- the Karama (Dignity) initiative is set to start in January, they said. Karama "seeks to confront hatred, strengthen the culture of dialogue and the Christian-Arab presence, and emphasise the importance of the religious pulpit in this regard", Rev. Nabil Haddad, the centre's executive director and founder, said at a press conference in mid-October. "The pulpit is one of the most successful means to entrench dialogue, religious coexistence and acceptance of others among people of the same society," he said. The initiative, which will bring in representatives from across the Arab world and a slew of religious and cultural institutions including Al-Azhar, will feature lectures, seminars and workshops by religious scholars and academics. It will kick off with a two-day conference in January and include activities such as sit-ins and gatherings to promote peace and interfaith dialogue. Rev. Haddad said it was crucial to confront extremist ideologies in the region via collective action and by rewarding the voices of moderation and coexistence. "Jordan is a leader and engine of [moderation and coexistence] owing to its distinguished record which affirms its respect for all components of society," he said. Combating extremism Jordanian Ministry of Endowments and Islamic Affairs spokesman Ahmed Ezzat said his ministry backs the Karama initiative, which focuses on promoting the noble values of each religion. The ministry constantly works to support such efforts as well as educational campaigns conducted at Qur'an learning centres that raise awareness about the principles of moderation, he told Al-Shorfa. Hassan Karirah, director of preaching and guidance at the ministry, described Karama and the ministry's support for the centre and other similar activities as crucial. The ministry supports efforts to "promote the values of tolerance and introduce the Amman Message" -- a message released by King Abdullah in 2004 calling for peace and tolerance in the Muslim world, he said. This message affirms the true image of Islam, which calls for moderation and acceptance of others, he added. The ministry, in collaboration with churches and other religious centres, also has begun preparing for numerous events to celebrate World Interfaith Harmony Week, which is scheduled for February, he said. Karirah said the ministry, in the context of its support for the Karama initiative, is guiding imams to focus in their sermons on the true image of Islam, on promoting moderation, and on rejecting extremism, fanaticism and terrorism. Academic and sociologist Hussein Khuzaie said Jordan has distinguished itself in the region in terms of religious coexistence among Muslims and Christians. Implementing this initiative helps increase awareness among members of the community and stresses rejection of extremism and terrorism, he told Al-Shorfa. There is a pressing need for such initiatives, Khuzaie said, particularly in light of the current situation in the region and emergence of groups that could draw youth to extremist views.
Statement from Ordo Supremus Militaris Templi Hierosolymitani (OSMTH) on the bombing of school in Potiskum Nigeria. (–New York, United States of America and Geneva, Switzerland, November 11, 2014 )
Brigadier General Patrick Rea, the Grand Master of OSMTH, speaking on behalf of OSMTH’s 23 member nations has expressed condemnation of the November 10th bombing attack against innocent school children in the north-eastern Nigerian town of Potiskum.
Col Dr Marcel de Picciotto, Grand Commander of OSMTH and chief of Mission at the United Nations in Geneva, indicated that the world’s leaders and humanitarian organizations must heighten their attention and support towards ending this violence directed against Nigeria’s most vulnerable. He further emphasises that targeting children never serves any cause and is a direct violation both of human rights and of the word of God.
OSMTH works with and through other Chivalric Orders, the senior leadership of different nations, and with other Non-Governmental Organizations [NGO] in order to provide humanitarian aid and other involvement in resolution of serious humanitarian needs or conflict.
Almighty God from whom all thought of truth and peace proceed: Kindle, we pray thee, in the hearts of all people the true love of peace, and guide with your pure and peaceable wisdom those who take counsel for the nations of the earth; We pray for the United Nations Organization; National Leaders, The International Peace Bureau, and all whose work it is to give leadership in the world: Fill their minds with the knowledge of your peace; Give them courage and strength to move forward to deal with terrorism, conflict, anger, war and all that breaks down the harmony and love in the relationships of nations and people. Lord, let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me. Amen And we pray for all whose lives are affected by war and conflict; People whose lives and livelihood are at risk; Refugees, those made homeless, those living in the midst of battle; our Armed Forces and their families; families separated from each other; the wounded and the oppressed and those who have lost loved ones; the medical people and care givers; and Lord, we pray for ourselves that we may do our part; Lord, let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me. Amen
GENEVA SWITZERLAND (15 SEPTEMBER 2014)
The Third Phase of the World Programme for Human Rights Education and the UN Declaration on Human Rights Education and Training Delivered at The UN Human Rights Council 27th session (8 - 26 September, 2014) Under Agenda Item 3: Promotion and protection of all human rights, civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights, including the right to development Read the report.
OSMTH cosigned this report.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE ORDO SUPREMUS MILITARIS TEMPLI HIEROSOLYMITANI (OSMTH) APPLAUDS THE STATEMENT AND ACTIONS TAKEN TODAY BY FRENCH MUSLIM LEADERS IN THE DEFENSE OF CHRISTIANS IN THE MIDDLE EAST. Among the cosignatories, are Dalil BOUBAKEUR, Rector of the Paris Grand Mosque and President of the French Council of Muslims (an officially recognized representative organisation) and Patrick KARAM President of the Coordination of Christians in danger in the Middle East. It states the leaders "denounce without ambiguity the terrorist acts constituting crimes against humanity and solemnly declare that these groups, their supports and their recruits cannot quote Islam". The statement further says " Barbarians are perpetuating the worst crimes against humanity and currently threaten the populations as well as stability and peace between peoples in all the region". Read the full statement OSMTH wishes to extend its gratitude and support to these enlightened leaders of one of the sister religions of The Book. Col. Dr. Marcel de Picciotto International Grand Commander V OSMTH (Sovereign Military Order of the Temple of Jerusalem) A United Nations Non-Governmental Organisation in Special Consultative Status A Member of the International Peace Bureau
Use this link to read the CoNGO E-Newsletter August 2014
Almighty God, the Creator of all, we, of the Sovereign Military Order of the Temple of Jerusalem, remind ourselves daily that the Psalmist of old bids us to “PRAY FOR THE PEACE OF JERUSALEM AND THE PROSPERITY OF ALL PEOPLE” With broken hearts, bruised bodies and wounded souls, we come before you praying for peace to reign in the hearts and minds of all people. Remembering, that we are Born of God, Redeemed by Jesus Christ, and filled with the Holy Spirit. Help all nations and peoples to put away the crimes of war, the battles of bitterness and cruelty one person to another. Help us to see all people as the great family of God; in a fellowship of peace with love one for another in the dignity of your created form. Lord Jesus, you died in the midst of crisis on Calvary’s Hill. You were laid in the Sepulchre of Jerusalem and rose above it all to free us from sin and death. Let us now as Children of God, Sons of Abraham, People of Faith be dead unto the sin of warfare and alive in a new life of peace and unity. This prayer we offer through Jesus Christ the Prince of Peace and the author of our salvation. And to that we say Amen, Amen and Amen.
By Bishop Munib Younan Almighty and eternal God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, we glorify and praise you. You are our only refuge in this troubled world. We glorify and praise you, our God. Merciful God, in the birth of your Son Jesus Christ, in Bethlehem you became one of us, sharing and understanding our humanity, our suffering and problems. We glorify and praise you, our God. We thank you that you took refuge to Egypt, identifying yourself with all who are refugees and victims of the political power. We thank you, our God. We thank you that you grew up in Nazareth and ministered to the people in Galilee, and spread your kingdom in a new way. We thank you, our God. We thank you that you were crucified in Jerusalem, identifying yourself with every person who suffers and lives under occupation and injustice. On the cross you carried the sin and the suffering of all human beings and reconciled us with you and with our fellow human beings. We thank you, our God. Our Heavenly Father, we come before you with all the troubles and pains we are experiencing here in the Middle East: Lord, have mercy on us. We pray for all the victims of the injustices and violence in present situation. We pray also for those who are responsible for injustices and all forms of violence. Lord, have mercy on us. We pray for our laborers who cannot enter to their places of work. We pray for our youth who are loosing their hope for the future. Lord, have mercy on us. We pray for our mothers who are fed up with bloodshed, killing and the use of arms. We pray for the bereaved families, who lost their dear ones. We pray for the quick recovery of the injured. We especially pray for the those who have to live with permanent disability. Lord, have mercy on us. Jesus, our Savior, our eyes look to you, our only help in these troubled times: Lord, hear our prayer. We pray, that you open the eyes of the world and of Israelis and Palestinians for justice and reconciliation. Help us all to see that the security and freedom of the one people is depending on the security and freedom of the other. Lord, hear our prayer. We pray for the politicians, that they may realize that the security and peace we all long for will not come by the use of arms and force, but by having justice done so that the two peoples can reconcile and together work out an equitable coexistence for the future. Lord, hear our prayer. Lord Jesus, you have called us to be your followers. Give us your love for our fellow human beings. Free us, and our children, from hatred, bitterness, and the denying of the rights of others; and fill us with love, truth, justice, so that we can recognize and respect the dignity and the rights of one another. Lord, hear our prayer. Lord Jesus, you have shown us that forgiveness is not forgetting ones rights but asserting them. We know that forgiving is to see Christ in our enemies, and to love them as our neighbors. Help us Palestinians to see you in the Israelis, and help the Israelis to see you in us. Lead us all to affirm and respect that our humanity is a gift from you, as we are all created in your image, and give us courage to mutually recognize each other’s human, religious, civil and political rights. Lord, hear our prayer. Holy Spirit , giver of life and new beginnings, help us to faithfully respond to God’s call to be ministers of reconciliation. Come, Holy Spirit, renew us all. Help us to find ways of encouraging people to open their hearts and confess their part in the past injustices and find ways to build a just and secure future for our children. Give us wisdom and courage in this difficult task. When the pressures of the situation make us despair, come with your Holy Spirit and renew our strength and hope. Come, Holy Spirit, renew us all. Sustain with your power those, who in the midst of all difficulties quietly are building the culture of reconciliation, justice and peace. They may not be many right now, but we remember that the work for God’s kingdom among us, started with only a handful faithful and committed people. Come, Holy Spirit, renew us all. Come, Healing Spirit , and change us and open ways for us to change others. Remove all injustice and fill our land with just peace. Remove all hatred and fill us all with true love. Come, Holy Spirit, renew us all. Remove all insecurity and bring in real security. Remove all occupation and bring in freedom for all. Come, Holy Spirit, renew us all. Merciful God, accept our prayer and yearning. You are the only strength we have. No one can take the power of prayer away from us. In the name of Jesus – our Liberator and Redeemer – we pray. Amen
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