Ecumenical Patriarch: Sincere dialogue can change the flow of history

Interfaith cooperation can provide the ground to build peace and normalcy in the East Mediterranean and the Middle East, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew told the second international conference on “Religious and Cultural Pluralism and Peaceful Coexistence in the Middle East” on Monday in Athens.

In the first day of the two-day conference, the ecumenical patriarch warned that even if peace is achieved in the region, “the remaining problems will require time and a lot of hard work, as well as joint responsibility, synergy, and collaboration.” The wars in Middle East have “created large-scale destruction in the human, natural, cultural and religious environments,” and interfaith collaboration is vital to handle the continuing religious crisis and heal peoples’ emotional traumas, he said.

“Wherever people turn away from or interrupt dialogue,” he said, “what takes over is rigid ideologies, totalitarian regimes, brutal demagoguery, and finally weapons – destruction and death.” The ecumenical patriarch said the alternative was sincere dialogue in a loving spirit. “Sincere dialogue has the power to change the flow of history,” Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew said.