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Overcoming violence is an ecumenical task for which spirituality is a resource, Kobia tells US audience

01 November 2005

See WCC press release PR-05-65 of 19 October 2005

"Violence does not recognize differences between Protestant, Catholic, Orthodox or Pentecostal. Violence is our common plague, and non-violent love, peace, justice and reconciliation are our common calling," Rev. Dr Samuel Kobia told participants in a 27-29 October international conference in Boston, USA.

Sponsored by the Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology in cooperation with the WCC and the Boston Theological Institute, the conference focused on "Violence and Christian spirituality".

Setting out reasons why overcoming violence is "an eminently ecumenical task," the World Council of Churches (WCC) general secretary observed that the Council's goal in declaring the 2001-2010 Decade to Overcome Violence" (DOV) has been "not so much to eradicate violence as to overcome the spirit, the logic and the practice of violence by actively seeking reconciliation and peace".

Referring to various faces of violence, from global terrorism and the war on terrorism, political conflict and war to interpersonal and domestic violence, Kobia went on to focus on resources for peace.

One such resource is inter-religious dialogue, Kobia said. He cautioned, however, that "Dialogue is not and can never serve as an ambulance in a sudden crisis or conflict. It is more like a prophylactic medicine, which when often and regularly used, will sustain health even in difficult situations."

For Kobia, an equally powerful resource for peace is a spirituality that "inspires and shapes our individual and joint actions". Believing "that prayer and contemplation together form the foremost discipline for overcoming violence," he emphasized that "the Orthodox traditions have much to offer" in this area.

"There is the deeply rooted and long-standing vision in Orthodox faith and life for a spirituality of holistic peace, integrating creation, human life and the Trinity, working together for salvation and reconciliation," Kobia concluded.

The full text of Samuel Kobia's speech is available on the Decade to Overcome Violence website at:

www.overcomingviolence.org