Metropolitan Tikhon attends Papal gathering at NYC’s 9/11 Memorial

Met Tikhon
Metropolitan Tikhon with Antiochian Metropolitan Joseph and Coptic Bishop David.

His Beatitude, Metropolitan Tikhon represented the Orthodox Church in America at the “Multi-Religious Gathering with Pope Francis” at the Museum of the National 9/11 Memorial at in lower Manhattan on Friday, September 25, 2015.

According to Archpriest John Jillions, OCA Chancellor, hierarchs of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America, and the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA, together with representatives of the Oriental Churches—Armenian, Coptic, Syrian and Indian—also were present.  In addition to other Christian traditions, the Hindu, Buddhist, Sikh, Muslim, Jewish and other religious communities also were represented at the gathering.

“Leaders representing each of the major faith communities read brief meditations on peace from their tradition in their respective ‘sacred tongues,’ followed by a translation in English,” Father John said.  “His Eminence, Archbishop Demetrios of the Greek Archdiocese read the Beatitudes in Greek.

“In his reflection Pope Francis called on people of faith to promote dialogue and understanding based on respect, and to resist the forces that promote religious prejudice, intolerance and hatred,” Father John continued.  “Pope Francis spoke of how ‘this place of death became a place of life too, a place of saved lives, a hymn to the triumph of life over the prophets of destruction and death, to goodness over evil, to reconciliation and unity over hatred and division.’  Calling his meeting with the leaders of New York’s faith communities ‘a source of great hope in this place of sorrow and remembrance,’ he observed that ‘our presence together will be a powerful sign of our shared desire to be a force of reconciliation, peace and justice in this community and throughout the world.  For all our differences and disagreements, we can live in a world of peace. In opposing every attempt to create a rigid uniformity, we can and must build unity on the basis of our diversity of languages, cultures and religions, and lift our voices against everything which would stand in the way of such unity.  Together we are called to say no to every attempt to impose uniformity and yes to a diversity accepted and reconciled.  This can only happen if we uproot from our hearts all feelings of hatred, vengeance and resentment.  We know that that is only possible as a gift from heaven.’”

In closing, Pope Francis called on the gathered religious leaders to observe a moment of silence to pray for peace.  “Here, in this place of remembrance, I would ask everyone together, each in his or her own way, to spend a moment in silence and prayer,” he said.  “Let us implore from on high the gift of commitment to the cause of peace.  Peace in our homes, our families, our schools and our communities.  Peace in all those places where war never seems to end.  Peace for those faces which have known nothing but pain.  Peace throughout this world which God has given us as the home of all and a home for all.  Simply PEACE.”

The program ended with the Young People’s Chorus of New York City singing “Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me,” followed by the exchange of a sign of peace among the attendees.

A photo gallery can be viewed on the OCA website and Facebook page.