PALESTINIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH
ARCHDIOCESE OF PENNSYLVANIA
OFFICE OF THE ARCHBISHOP
The Honorable President Obama
1600Pennsylvania Avenue NW.
Washington, DC 20500
Dear Mr.President Obama
It gives me, great joy to write this letter to you as the Archbishop Metropolitan of the Palestinian Orthodox Church. I extend to you, Mrs. Obama and your two precious daughters my apostolic blessings in the spirit of this Holy Christmas season.
Mr. President, during this season of Christmas we pray for peace in the world, especially most needed in Palestine, Lebanon and Syria. This is the peace which the angels proclaimed on that Holy Night “Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace, goodwill toward men” (Luke 2:14).
Mr. President, as a Palestinian Orthodox Archbishop, I am proud to be a citizen of this great nation of the United States of America! The United States and the international community have important grave moral obligations: to protect the common good against any threats to peace and to do so in a way that conforms with fundamental moral norms.
How many more innocent people in the Middle East have suffer and die, or be left without homes, without basic necessities or without work and food to eat? Would the United States and the international community commit to the, long-term task of ensuring a just peace or would the terrorist continue to be plagued by civil conflict and repression, and continue to serve as a destabilizing force in the Middle East?
Would the use of military force lead to wider conflict and instability? Would war against the Middle East detract from our responsibility to help build a just and stable order in all the Middle East and undermine the broader coalition against terrorism?
My two brothers Archbishops Boulos Yazigi and Youhanna Ibrahim are still in captivity in northern Syria with no news about them since their abduction. We do not know whether they are alive or dead.
Mr. President, about two weeks ago, twelve Orthodox nuns were abducted from the convent of St. Thekla of Maaloula, Syria. These nuns have not committed any harm and are innocent women who care for orphans in the convent. These peaceful nuns do not have arms and do not fight but pray for peace every day and night.
I raise these troubling questions to contribute to the vital national debate about ends and means, risks and choices reflecting my responsibility as Archbishop, pastor and teacher. My assessment of these questions leads me to urge you to pursue persist in the very frustrating and difficult challenges of building broad international support for a new, more constructive and effective approach to press the end of terrorism and attacks on incent people.
Mr. President, I wish to meet with you at your Office to commend you and support you in all your efforts to help my people! Anything that, you can do as the leader of the land of the free to stop the bloodshed and destruction in Syria, Lebanon and Palestine will be very deeply appreciated.
May the peace of Christmas which this world does not understand dwell in your heart and in the hearts of your family forever!
His Eminence Archbishop Melchisedeck
++ His Eminence Archbishop Melchideck, D.D. Ph. D.