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Message of His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I for the Beginning of Ramadan(01/09/2008).

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It is with feelings of great joy and love that we greet, from the Ecumenical Throne of Orthodoxy, all Muslims in the world on the occasion of the beginning of the month of Ramadan. As a duty and obligation to humanity, we consider this a suitable moment to address a message appropriate to this period of fasting and prayer for the faithful of Islam as we continue to promote the peaceful coexistence of the two religious traditions.

Furthermore, the beginning of Ramadan coincides with the first day of September, the Feast of Indiction, which is the first day of the ecclesiastical year of the Orthodox Church and also the day of protection of the natural environment with prayers and supplications for all creation to be offered by this holy Center of Orthodoxy. This day serves as an invitation to all to remain faithful to a natural use of all God’s creation, “offering thanks to the God, who created the world and granted everything to us.”

In light of the spiritual and moral dimension of the environmental problem and the times of an exceedingly deep and multifaceted crisis in spiritual values, the faithful of our two religions are called to the higher level of spiritual development and life, transcending human failings and the accompanying lapses into ways of life lower than divine will.

Our respective religious traditions have inexhaustible spiritual reserves which can contribute to the realisation of values of peace, social justice and human rights in relations between individuals and peoples, irrespective of religious, national, racial, social or other differences. Common practices of our spiritual traditions include fasting, prayer, philanthropy, almsgiving and charity. Furthermore, in our love of the One God and the love of neighbor, we are able to enhance dialogue and understanding for the sake of the Peace of God in the world. For this reason, always believing in the possibility of peaceful coexistence and cooperation between faithful and all citizens of good will we must find practical ways to optimize mutual understanding, respect and cooperation.

With these thoughts in mind and with feelings of profound affection for all faithful of Islam, we would like to express the wish that Ramadan will help bring peoples and nations together to attain the meaning of life and the hope of immortality and for the propagation of peace and goodwill on earth, especially in the regions suffering from war, and with the hope of salvation for all people.

May the grace and infinite mercy of the one, sole God, Creator of all things, be always with you.
Yours sincerely in God’s love,


+BARTHOLOMEW
Archbishop of Constantinople,
New Rome and Ecumenical Patriarch