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September 8 2015 19:30 | International Center of Culture (Piazza della Piramide)



Women and Men of different religions, we have gathered at the invitation of the Community of Sant’Egidio, of the Orthodox Authocephalous Church and the Episcopal Conference of Albania, in Tirana, capital of a Country that is a symbol of coexistence among religions, after experiencing the arrogance of evil, which banned God and freedom from the life of the Albanian nation. We thank the authorities and people of Albania for the splendid hospitality of these days.

The world today is quickly changing. Perhaps we have been unable to give a soul to its growth and transformation. This world of ours runs the risk of losing awareness of its limitations and feeling almighty, while faceless powers grow, which experiment with the destiny of nations.

We are aware of the suffering caused by the idolatry of power and money, by corruption, by an increasing distance from God in the name of the ego, by the unrestrained and unsustained consumption of creation, by the dominion of man over man, by the insane plan of a world without the other, by the sorrow of infinite wars, contagious and out of control.

70 years after the nuclear massacre and the end of World War II, humanity seems to have forgotten that war is an adventure with no turning back. Indeed, wars seem to have become normal and many people are attracted by the dreadful appeal of violence. The power of evil todays strikes against millions of children, women, elderly people, families; it generates fighters imprisoned by an insane and violent mind-set. Tens of millions of refugees are crowding over Asia, on the borders of Europe, and in other areas of the world.

Our 21st Century is at a crossroads: between hopelessness and a future of hope, between indifference and solidarity. We need to globalize solidarity. We need to open up the doors of our hearts, of our countries, because there are no walls or barbed wires that can stop a person’s need to live and guarantee a future to his or her children. To religions we say: let us help the world find a human response to war, to the world migrations, to the environmental crisis, to the numerous forms of poverty and to the quest for meaning of many people.

As leaders of different religions and cultures, we feel the moral imperative to help the world not to self destruct, not to allow its human feelings to die out.

To the rulers we say: war is not overcome by war: it is a fraud! War always gets out of hand. Do not be deceived! War makes entire peoples inhuman. Let us start afresh from dialogue, which is a unique art, an irreplaceable medicine that brings reconciliation among peoples.

To our religions we recall: war is never holy, the elimination and oppression of the other in the name of God is always blasphemous. The elimination and oppression of others and of their history, while exploiting the name of God, is a horror.

Let a movement grow, of nations for peace and of resistance to terrorism and violence. May the spirit of Assisi guide us, to be more audacious and brave in the search for peace, and in the construction of societies where living together among different people is peaceful and positive.

Peace comes from God; we therefore implore for the indivisible gift of peace. It is the language of the future. Let us learn over again, all of us, the language of dialogue and peace.

Peace is always possible. Therefore we must build it together, all of us, believers and non believers. Let us build peace! With God’s help, we shall transform this era into a time of peace. Because nothing is impossible to God.

Tirana, 8th September 2015



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