–His Holiness Aram I–Moderator of the World Council of Churches (WCC) together with Dr. Samuel Kobia–the General Secretary of the WCC–forwarded the following message to churches in South-East Asia–after the massive devastation and tragic loss of human life caused by the tsunamis there.
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
On behalf of the entire fellowship of the World Council of Churches we send you sincere condolences and express our sorrow at the loss of more than 125,000 thousand lives in one of the deadliest natural catastrophes that has faced the people of South East Asia and regions surrounding the Indian Ocean.
We are also aware that the devastating earthquake followed by the tsunami has left more than five million people homeless who are in dire need of immediate humanitarian aid as well as psychological and spiritual accompaniment.
With our deepest sympathy we pray and think of those who have lost their loved ones. We are greatly encouraged by the exemplary efforts of our member Churches in responding even with meager resources to bandage the wounded and bond with the sorrowful. In prayer–we yearn to God that we may all overcome this cosmic anguish together with all peoples of faith in the region. The WCC together with our partners in ecumenical disaster and emergency management will continue to reach out with the resources available at our disposal to prevent more human’suffering and bring about relief to those in this great affliction. Please let us know in what other ways you would wish the global ecumenical community to be in solidarity with you as you try to come to terms with this unprecedented catastrophe.
During this holy season we have witnessed through liturgy and the sacred narratives of the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ that even in the face of so many contradictions in life God is still part of our broken world. The miracle of the incarnation reminds us in the most profound way of the dwelling presence of God that transforms even probabilities of annihilation into new possibilities of life in history. And now we must reach out to one another–and not only weep with those in anguish but also make a new place for those seeking shelter as we struggle to find lasting solutions to future tragedies in this world. One lesson to learn from this tsunami tragedy is the need for the international community and the religious communities to unite in one spirit and reinvent the capacity for preparedness to face such tragedies together. It is also a moment to be re-awakened to our God given responsibility to care not only for one another but for the health of the creation as well.
On the eve of the new year may God’s grace be with you–comfort you–and give you peace in 2005 and beyond.
Yours in Christ,
HH Catholicos Aram I
Rev Dr. Samuel Kobia