Ambassador Housam Al-Din Alaa presented credentials to His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI as the Ambassador of the Syrian Arab Republic to the Vatican.
The Pope highlighted in a discourse on this occasion that ”Syria is a place dear and meaningful to Christians, from the origins of the Church. Since the meeting of the Risen Christ on the road to Damascus, Paul became the Apostle of Nations, many great saints who have shaped the religious history of your country.
Many are also archaeological evidence of churches, monasteries, mosaics of the early centuries of the Christian era that connect us to the origins of the Church.”
His Holiness added that ”Syria has traditionally been an example of tolerance, coexistence and harmonious relations between Christians and Muslims, and today’s ecumenical and interfaith relations are good” expressing his hope that friendship between all cultural and religious components of the Nation would continue and expand to the greater good of all, strengthening unity based on justice and solidarity.
The Pope underlined the need for advancing a comprehensive peace in the Middle East.
On his part, Ambassador Alaa spoke of the meanings of Syria’s tolerance, coexistence and harmonious life asserting that the meanings of National Unity has additional value in light of what the region faces of schemes to dismember it, spread confusion and extremism, and destabilize it.
The Ambassador also spoke of the outcomes of last year’s Damascus-convened international conference about the Islamic-Christian Fraternity, which welcomed the call by the Assembly for the Middle East of the Synod of Bishops for the achievement of just peace in the Middle East, implementation of UN Security Council resolutions, and for the taking of necessary legal measures as to end the Israeli occupation of the Arab Land, rejecting bids to change the demographic situation in the occupied Jerusalem.