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Syndesmos Meeting

 SyndesmosMarch7Middle East Syndesmos Celebrations


The World Day of Orthodox Youth
Our Lady of Balamand Patriarchal Monastery

Sunday, March 7, 1999

Syndesmos Middle East convened on the beautiful holy hill of Balamand to celebrate the World Day of Orthodox Youth. The meeting was attended by 150 representatives of the Antiochian, Armenian, Coptic, and Syrian Orthodox Church Youth Movements from Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and Egypt. SYNDESMOS VicePresident Mr. Emmanuil Koumbarelis represented Syndesmos Executive committee. Middle East Region Representative Dr. Fadi Abou Mrad coordinated the meeting. After their lunch and a period of fellowship together, participants started their meeting with a prayer for the youth repeated in all the languages of the participants. Archimandrite Paul Yazigi opened the meeting by welcoming all in Balamand (see the welcoming homily below).   Then everyone listened to a series of speakers which included Mr. Koumbarelis, who spoke about the  future, effective role of the Orthodox youth. After a period of discussion, everyone participated in singing the hymn of the Syndesmos Middle East Branch, sung by the famous chanter Dimitri Koutia and a choir of chanters and singers.



The Welcoming Message of the Monastery Abbot
Archimandrite Paul Yazigi

In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

First I would like to welcome you in Balamand. This place is your home, and I must say you are the one who welcomes us here in your home. Balamand Monastery is pleased that you chose to meet here, and welcomes all meetings that serve the Church of the Lord Jesus. Balamand is not a Monastery that welcomes you just today, but always asks for your presence among us. Your meeting here brings us joy. So once again, "Welcome!"

What we can truly bring to you in Balamand is the blessing of His Beatitude, Patriarch Ignatius IV. This monastery was his home for many years. During his presence here, life in the Monastery was revitalized. I am pleased to relay to you his prayers and best wishes for a fruitful and successful meeting.

In the next few moments, I would like to briefly meditate with you about the youth and the unity of the church.

The youth is always accused of being too young and immature. This is true, with the exception of the faithful Christian youth. The young man is "young," thus having no experience, but the Book of Psalms (118:10) says: "I understand more than the elders, because I keep thy precepts." This prophecy was fulfilled in the young Christ when, at age 12, he taught the elders in the Temple. Every time we renew the image of Christ in our youth, the saying of the Apostle Paul to the young Timothy, "Let no one despise your youth," applies to us.

If wisdom is attributed to old age, then youth is attributed to wisdom. Wisdom in youth is seed in good soil yielding a hundred-fold. The committed and faithful youth is a great treasure to the Church.

As for the issue of Unity, it is always going to be in our prayers. Along with many other people, we will always pray for the unity of the churches. The variety of ethnic cultures and the differences in expression, and even disagreements, must all be a cause for love and dialogue, in the purpose of revealing the truth and expressing the faith in the best definitions and clarity of expressions.

Saint Dorotheos of Gaza likens the relationship between God and man with the center of a circle and its periphery. God is the center and the points that make up the periphery are the people. The more people get closer to God, the more they get closer to each other, and their bond gets strengthened.

Since we seek the unity of the churches, it is beautiful to see the hands of the youth working together for this unity. Hope is renewed with your presence. We always hope that every generation in church life is more active than the preceding one.

Here, we would like to thank Syndesmos for the important role it plays in the purpose of unity. We wish Syndesmos success in its service.

A word of thankfulness goes to Mr. Fadi Abou Mrad and to all the people who organized this meeting and chose Balamand as its place.

Finally, I wish you a fruitful stay, and may God bless your works.

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