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Bishop Antoine-Charbel Tarabay (centre) with dignitaries at the Annunciation gathering on April 21 (Maronite Eparchy of Australia)

Maronite Bishop Antoine-Charbel Tarabay has stressed the responsibility of religious leaders to “work together to keep building peace and security” during a time of anxiety and conflict in the world and close to home. Source: The Catholic Weekly.

Celebrating together the feast of the Annunciation of Mary for the 13th time in as many years, Bishop Tarabay hosted the Interfaith Gathering on April 21 and opened his Parramatta home to Christian and Islamic faith leaders to break bread and discuss the impending need for unity locally and internationally.

In his address, Bishop Tarabay highlighted the common theme of peace and respect between Christianity and Islam and the need for dialogue in order to maintain it, while condemning violence in the wake of recent tragedies in the Sydney suburbs of Bondi and Wakeley.

“While our faiths differ in many respects, they are similar in that we celebrate the Annunciation to Mary, a moment of reflection, peace and unity,” Bishop Tarabay said.

“Tolerance is the only way to live together and jointly contribute to this extraordinary Australian society, so generous, so prosperous and so welcoming.

“Mary had trust, and she had faith. With these, she rose above her fears of the unknown, and like her we are called today to overcome fears and to transcend friction and divisions.

“Therefore, I call on all Christians to create more opportunities of encounter and dialogue. And I also call upon our Muslim brothers and sisters to build more bridges that bring people closer to one another.”

Religious leaders across Eastern Christian and Islamic communities came together, including Coptic Orthodox Bishop Anba Daniel, apostolic visitor for the Syriac Catholic church, Bishop Basilios Georges, representative of the mufti of Lebanon, Sheikh Malek Zeidan, and representative of the Sheikhdom Akl of the Druze Unitarian Community, Sheikh Mounir Al Hakim.


Annunciation unites Christians and Muslims (By George Al-Akiki, The Catholic Weekly)