Bulgarian Pentecostal riddle…

April 25, 2019 by  
Filed under Events, Featured, Missions, News

Five kings with five crowns
Four bishops and castle in the middle
Who will blow the whistle
and who will play the fiddle?
A Bulgarian Pentecostal riddle…

Alive, alive, alive forevermore…

April 20, 2019 by  
Filed under Featured, News

baba-dida-v-dialog-s-baba-djenka1Rev. Dony K. Donev, D. Min.

“When I call to remembrance the unfeigned faith that is in thee, which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and thy mother Eunice; and I am persuaded that in thee also.”

2 Timothy 1:5

My Grandma, Todorka Mindova, was one of the first Sunday school teachers in the Bulgarian Pentecostal Union. After successfully graduating from a training course in the city of Sliven led by Donka Kinareva and personally organized by Dr. Nicolas Nikolov, she was allowed to minister in the denomination. But for grandma, the faith was more than teaching or a sermon. It was life. Many Bulgarian Pentecostal ministers can testify to the effectiveness of her ministry. And for her constant fasting and thousands of answered prayers I could write a book.

But far more interesting for me as a child was the fact that being a Sunday school teacher, Grandma never tried to preach to me. In the hardest moments of life she would only confess these words, which I have remembered from my childhood: “We serve a living God.” More was not needed. For Grandma preached with her life. Read more

Evangelical Education in Bulgaria is at Halt

April 15, 2019 by  
Filed under Events, Featured, Missions, News

With the new Bill on Religion in Bulgaria, the Muslim community has been given amnesty on some $4,500,000 of public debt, while granted another $3 million in annual government subsidies. As a result, the monthly salary of Muslim clergy (imams) has already increased with 20% and a new Islamic school is being opened in one of the historically oldest Christian places in Bulgaria, the city of Sliven. All while, the evangelical protestant communities are not receiving financial support under the new law and their schools remain without proper government legalization via the Bulgarian Ministry of Education. 

Though this legal precedent follows the Russian Law on Religion that has already effectively closed the evangelical seminaries in Moscow, it is manifesting a political agenda undergoing in Bulgaria for over a decade. What remains unsaid with the recent changes in the Law of Religion in Bulgaria is the ultimate halt of evangelical education in the country. The Bulgarian Evangelical Theological Institute has been functioning at its operational minimum for years now. Students are trained mainly online or via small local groups spread in various cities. They are called to the school departments only for graduation or occasionally lectures by visiting scholars. Even after years of waiting, the Institute was never granted official accreditation through Bulgaria’s Ministry of Education and most of the students preferred getting their degrees from other accredited and licensed institutions. Less than 1% of the students who were not in ministry at the time of their enrollment entered the ministry post graduation. And even fewer of them remain in ministry today; which ultimately ensures the lack of adequately trained ministers for placement in the evangelical churches of Bulgaria.

The last Bulgarian to graduate from the Church of God Theological Seminary did so over a decade ago, and 2009 was the last class of the Bulgarian Theological College (seminary). One of the greatest mistakes made was closing the college in 2009, thus leaving the movement with virtually no higher ministry training for the last decade.

We were present at the national meeting of elders on September 10, 2009 in Sofia when the final decision to close the Church of God Theological College was voted. Only a few others along with us disagreed with the vote and pleaded with the assembly to make everything possible and keep the school open. At the final vote, it came down to a few thousand dollars due in annual membership fees and the school was closed.

Five years prior to these events in 2004, we published an article on evangelical education in Bulgaria with some warnings. The article proposed a change of the evangelical educational paradigm in anticipation of new legal changes and the prolonged waiting for a governmental accreditation. In fact, the same issues addressed in our proposal repeated themselves in 2016 upon Russia changing its own legislation on religion and religious education thus effectively illegalizing evangelical seminaries and overall missionary work. Today, similar legal measures are put in place by the Bulgarian government as well.

The final of our 10-point proposed plan in 2004 included the following observation:

  1. Naturally, the well-educated graduates have chosen not to occupy themselves with denominational politics both to avoid confrontation and to express their disagreement. This dynamic has been partially ignored by leadership remaining from the period of the underground church when religious education was virtually nonexistent and lacking a complete realization of the power of education. This unnoticed trend, however, endangers Bulgarian Evangelism creating a lack of continuity within the leadership and preparing the context for the emerging leadership crises.                                                                                                                              

With the new Bill on Religion in Bulgaria closely following the effective closure of evangelical seminaries in Moscow, the opportunity for a government recognized ministerial training in Bulgaria may be legally impossible to regain. In the light of those resent changes, our 2004 proposal for a legal ministry training alternative was successfully implemented and used for our Master of Chaplaincy Ministry graduates since 2009 providing a single valid alternative for evangelical education in Bulgaria.

30 Years Ago He Prophesied the Fall of Communism

April 10, 2019 by  
Filed under Featured, Missions, News

Johny Noer in Bulgaria (1989) Джони НОЕР в БЪЛГАРИЯ

bulgaria2015The Fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 did not take believers in the Eastern Block by surprise. They had been fervently praying for God to intervene and He did. Perhaps the greatest miracle of the 20th century was Communism falling on its own. If suffering with the Regime had been an eschatological expectation, the fall of the Regime was an eschatological celebration. And through all these times, the search for deep, biblical holiness after the heart of God never stopped. For the people of God, that search was always miraculous and prophetic.

IДжони Ноер в БЪЛГАРИЯ 10n the spring of 1989, a Danish journalist by the name of Johny Noer came to Bulgaria with a prophetic message. For years he had lived and travelled in many countries with his family and coworkers in a convoy of several trailers. They met the start of 1989 with a seven-day fast on the island of Pathmos where God told them to travel to Eastern Europe and proclaim the fall of the Regime. The Convoy did so through many difficulties paying a high price to minster in Bulgaria for the next three months.

The last service they conducted before being extradited by the authorities was on Easter morning at the Black Sea port city of Varna. Thousands of believers arrived from all over the country. The use of an auditorium was not allowed so they gathered outside the small Pentecostal church at the cities outskirts. They were surrounded by a dense police cordon of several hundred K9 patrols. Under these circumstances, the sermon could only be short and simple. In fact, it contained the exact words the Communist Police forbade Pastor Noer to say: “Let My People Go!” A prophecy was given that Communism will soon fall. It was fulfilled exactly seven months later on November 10, 1989.

Джони Ноер в БЪЛГАРИЯ 2But there was something else that happened at that memorable Easter morning. Two large scrolls were brought into the church. There, over 5,000 men and women signed their names as a testimony of their dedication to God and preaching the Gospel until revival breaks through in Bulgaria. Beside a petition to the government for religious freedom, this national declaration affirmed the search for holiness, which even Communism had not been able to stop in Bulgaria.

In the fall of 2014 our ministry invited Pastor Johny Noer to Bulgaria again. His second visit marked exactly 25 years since the Fall of the Berlin Wall. After a week long crusade in a dozen of Bulgarian cities, several thousand Christians gathered again in Varna and signed two new scrolls containing the Second Varna Declaration. The event was just like a quarter of a century ago and made clear that revival cycles take place on increments of 25 years – a period where two generations overlap. It also proved that the search for holiness has not stopped in Bulgaria.

NEW Prophetic Word for Bulgaria in 2014 (video)

Read Also:

BibleTech meets in Washington

April 5, 2019 by  
Filed under Featured, News

The Saga with the Bulgarian Bill on Religion

April 1, 2019 by  
Filed under Featured, News

The saga with the Bulgarian Bill on religions is over. For now!

It began about a year ago, when new corrections were proposed to the 2002 similar legislation. The 2002 bill has been in operation for 17 years as seen as democratic replacement of the 1944 law on religions enforced by the Communist Regime. The 2018 corrections to the 2002 bill first included:

  1. preaching limited to Bulgarian language only
  2. no church sponsorship outside of Bulgaria
  3. heavy restrictions on foreign preachers and missionaries
  4. minimum 3,000 members for the registration of a religious confession

The tensions increased in the fall of 2018 when the new legislation was accepted by Parliament with no corrections and proceeded to its second and final vote of the floor. Meanwhile, the parliamentarian discussions eliminated the 3,000 limit and foreign sponsorship restrictions and moved toward a more administrative moderation on religions. It included government subsidy for the religious groups as the larger ones (Eastern Orthodox, Muslim) would receive government salaries, while the smaller groups (Protestant evangelicals, Catholics, Jewish, etc.) would be granted smaller amounts (under or about 100,000) via the Directorate of Religious Affairs.

This final correction was voted in on the last working day of 2018, however on January 31, 2019 new corrections were offered in Parliament. They involved a one time financial amnesty of public debts owed by all religious groups. The total estimate was roughly $8.2 million of which $8.1 was owed by the Muslim confession. As the proposal brought much tension, it was reduced to a 10 year extension for all confessions to pay back their public debt. It was dully noted that the said $8.1 million amount owed by the Muslim confession will reach a statue of limitation around 2024 and will perhaps not be paid in full for the said 10 year period.

With these corrections, the New Bill of Religions in Bulgaria is now voted and finalized. As it stands in its final form, it still demands:

  1. open registry for all religious buildings and religious workers of all denominations (in some cases involving both clergy and employed laity)
  2. registration of ALL foreign guest speakers (it is not defined if this involves preachers, missionaries, short-term groups etc.)
  3. restriction on open air evangelism and otherwise open air events to days of national holidays only and in most cases with prior notification and officially granted administrative permission

A final restriction, perhaps most essential for evangelistic ministry, is the general ban of sound systems during outside meetings. Though some use is allowed during holidays upon a special permit, for a ministry like ours it proposes a major limitation.

For more than 20 years now our ministry in Bulgaria has been outside of the four walls of the church. Though we have spent much of our resources in renting auditoriums through the years, our most successful meetings reaching larger crowds have been outside, open air, tent revivals or youth camps. On most of these occasions due to the large audience we have been renting professional sound equipment and at times partnering with sound companies who specialize in large concerts and open air events. To limit the sound of the voice in such events is basically to limit the freedom of speech. Sure, you can still speak, but who can hear?

We’ve dealt with similar limitations in prior years by live streaming and releasing recordings of the events on the internet. There are multiple technical workarounds that could be implemented and we’ve tried most of them before. A personal cell phone, which nowadays everyone owns, could be used to communicate and broadcast live events, without disturbing the surrounding neighborhood, but it certainly takes away from live communication, speaker interaction and audience response. Finding a remote location is also an option, but it puts much strain on people travelling and attending.

These new restrictions are particularly concerning to our ministry close to the Turkish border areas where most of the Muslim population lives and many foreign migrant camps are located. Even without the current legislation, it has been difficult to carry sound equipment to the area and pass through various check points and municipal governmental requirements. Without proper sound equipment open air meetings or showing of the Jesus film will be simply impossible. And with that, access of our evangelistic ministry to those areas of Bulgaria where it is needed the most may be soon restricted for good.

After over 20 years of open air evangelism, this new legislation is directing us into a search for a ministry building where we can concentrate our work in Bulgaria without risking complications. Only time will show if this approach would be acceptable and efficient, but one thing is for sure – we need to do everything possible to keep communicating the Truth of the Gospel while even the least freedom to do so is still available in the region.

NEW elections in BULGARIA (2019)

March 30, 2019 by  
Filed under Events, Featured, News

Government Elections in Bulgaria (2005-2019):

elections 20132005 Parliamentary Elections
2006 Presidential Elections
2007 Municipal Elections
2009 Parliamentary Elections
2009 European Parliament elections
2011 Presidential Elections
2011 Local Elections
2013 Early parliamentary elections
2014 Early Parliamentary Elections
2015 Municipal Elections
2016 Presidential election
2017 Parliamentary elections
2019 European Parliament election (23-26 May)
2019 Bulgarian local elections

Cup & Cross featured in The Politics of Language and Nationalism in Modern Central Europe

March 30, 2019 by  
Filed under Books, Featured, News

Decade of Destiny for Divine Connections

March 25, 2019 by  
Filed under Featured, News

Almost exactly a decade ago, the year 2009 was monumental for this Decade of Destiny.

Upon the invitation of Logos Bible Software, we traveled to their annual BibleTech Conference in San Jose, California to present the more clear approach to Bible translation and its implementation in our new Bulgarian Bible Interlinear.

Our first stop to the conference was a very fruitful meeting with Dr. Albert Wardin at the Billy Graham Archives. This meeting became the reason to further direct our research on Ivan Voronaev and the roots of Bulgarian Pentecostalism to a new archive location in route to Berkeley University.

The trip was strategically planned to visit Bulgarian congregations on the way in

  1. Nashville,
  2. Chicago,
  3. Minneapolis/St. Paul,
  4. Tahoe,
  5. Seattle,
  6. San Francisco,
  7. Los Angeles,
  8. Las Vegas,
  9. Phoenix,
  10. Houston,
  11. Dallas,
  12. Florida
  13. and Atlanta.

These short but blessed visits consecutively materialized into the 2020 Vision for Bulgarian Churches in North America. Most memorable among all was our meeting in El Cerrito, which happened to be just a few miles from our research location in Berkeley and not far from the ministry center for the Bulgarian Slavic diaspora in Concord. It was at this meeting that our missional strategy for San Francisco and Phoenix was born and later finalized in ministry with the Bulgarian church in Las Vegas.

Perhaps more needs to be said later about the Berkeley connection and the vision of the Arizona quarters in detail. Especially in part of the divine connection broadcasts that became an essential part of our own Bibliata.TV. But most importantly, now the 2020 Vision is almost completed as a Decade of Destiny, what follows is a strongly proven paradigm for church growth and revitalization. And as such, it has effectively spread to so many Bulgarian churches abroad – from a simple vision for 20 churches into 20 different countries.

Pope and GRAND Imam Declaration on ONE WORLD RELIGION

March 15, 2019 by  
Filed under Featured, Missions, News

APOSTOLIC JOURNEY OF HIS HOLINESS POPE FRANCIS
TO THE UNITED ARAB EMIRATES

(3-5 FEBRUARY 2019)

A DOCUMENT ON

HUMAN FRATERNITY

FOR WORLD PEACE AND LIVING TOGETHER

[Multimedia]


 

INTRODUCTION

Faith leads a believer to see in the other a brother or sister to be supported and loved. Through faith in God, who has created the universe, creatures and all human beings (equal on account of his mercy), believers are called to express this human fraternity by safeguarding creation and the entire universe and supporting all persons, especially the poorest and those most in need.

This transcendental value served as the starting point for several meetings characterized by a friendly and fraternal atmosphere where we shared the joys, sorrows and problems of our contemporary world. We did this by considering scientific and technical progress, therapeutic achievements, the digital era, the mass media and communications. We reflected also on the level of poverty, conflict and suffering of so many brothers and sisters in different parts of the world as a consequence of the arms race, social injustice, corruption, inequality, moral decline, terrorism, discrimination, extremism and many other causes.

From our fraternal and open discussions, and from the meeting that expressed profound hope in a bright future for all human beings, the idea of this Document on Human Fraternity was conceived. It is a text that has been given honest and serious thought so as to be a joint declaration of good and heartfelt aspirations. It is a document that invites all persons who have faith in God and faith in human fraternity to unite and work together so that it may serve as a guide for future generations to advance a culture of mutual respect in the awareness of the great divine grace that makes all human beings brothers and
sisters.

 

DOCUMENT

In the name of God who has created all human beings equal in rights, duties and dignity, and who has called them to live together as brothers and sisters, to fill the earth and make known the values of goodness, love and peace;

In the name of innocent human life that God has forbidden to kill, affirming that whoever kills a person is like one who kills the whole of humanity, and that whoever saves a person is like one who saves the whole of humanity;

In the name of the poor, the destitute, the marginalized and those most in need whom God has commanded us to help as a duty required of all persons, especially the wealthy and of means;

In the name of orphans, widows, refugees and those exiled from their homes and their countries; in the name of all victims of wars, persecution and injustice; in the name of the weak, those who live in fear, prisoners of war and those tortured in any part of the world, without distinction;

In the name of peoples who have lost their security, peace, and the possibility of living together, becoming victims of destruction, calamity and war;

In the name of human fraternity that embraces all human beings, unites them and renders them equal;

In the name of this fraternity torn apart by policies of extremism and division, by systems of unrestrained profit or by hateful ideological tendencies that manipulate the actions and the future of men and women;

In the name of freedom, that God has given to all human beings creating them free and distinguishing them by this gift;

In the name of justice and mercy, the foundations of prosperity and the cornerstone of faith;

In the name of all persons of good will present in every part of the world;

In the name of God and of everything stated thus far; Al-Azhar al-Sharif and the Muslims of the East and West, together with the Catholic Church and the Catholics of the East and West, declare the adoption of a culture of dialogue as the path; mutual cooperation as the code of conduct; reciprocal understanding as the method and standard.

We, who believe in God and in the final meeting with Him and His judgment, on the basis of our religious and moral responsibility, and through this Document, call upon ourselves, upon the leaders of the world as well as the architects of international policy and world economy, to work strenuously to spread the culture of tolerance and of living together in peace; to intervene at the earliest opportunity to stop the shedding of innocent blood and bring an end to wars, conflicts, environmental decay and the moral and cultural decline that the world is presently experiencing.

We call upon intellectuals, philosophers, religious figures, artists, media professionals and men and women of culture in every part of the world, to rediscover the values of peace, justice, goodness, beauty, human fraternity and coexistence in order to confirm the importance of these values as anchors of salvation for all, and to promote them everywhere.

This Declaration, setting out from a profound consideration of our contemporary reality, valuing its successes and in solidarity with its suffering, disasters and calamities, believes firmly that among the most important causes of the crises of the modern world are a desensitized human conscience, a distancing from religious values and a prevailing individualism accompanied by materialistic philosophies that deify the human person and introduce worldly and material values in place of supreme and transcendental principles.

While recognizing the positive steps taken by our modern civilization in the fields of science, technology, medicine, industry and welfare, especially in developed countries, we wish to emphasize that, associated with such historic advancements, great and valued as they are, there exists both a moral deterioration that influences international action and a weakening of spiritual values and responsibility. All this contributes to a general feeling of frustration, isolation and desperation leading many to fall either into a vortex of atheistic, agnostic or religious extremism, or into blind and fanatic extremism, which ultimately encourage forms of dependency and individual or collective self-destruction.

History shows that religious extremism, national extremism and also intolerance have produced in the world, be it in the East or West, what might be referred to as signs of a “third world war being fought piecemeal”. In several parts of the world and in many tragic circumstances these signs have begun to be painfully apparent, as in those situations where the precise number of victims, widows and orphans is unknown. We see, in addition, other regions preparing to become theatres of new conflicts, with outbreaks of tension and a build-up of arms and ammunition, and all this in a global context overshadowed by uncertainty, disillusionment, fear of the future, and controlled by narrow-minded economic interests.

We likewise affirm that major political crises, situations of injustice and lack of equitable distribution of natural resources – which only a rich minority benefit from, to the detriment of the majority of the peoples of the earth – have generated, and continue to generate, vast numbers of poor, infirm and deceased persons. This leads to catastrophic crises that various countries have fallen victim to despite their natural resources and the resourcefulness of young people which characterize these nations. In the face of such crises that result in the deaths of millions of children – wasted away from poverty and hunger – there is an unacceptable silence on the international level.

It is clear in this context how the family as the fundamental nucleus of society and humanity is essential in bringing children into the world, raising them, educating them, and providing them with solid moral formation and domestic security. To attack the institution of the family, to regard it with contempt or to doubt its important role, is one of the most threatening evils of our era.

We affirm also the importance of awakening religious awareness and the need to revive this awareness in the hearts of new generations through sound education and an adherence to moral values and upright religious teachings. In this way we can confront tendencies that are individualistic, selfish, conflicting, and also address radicalism and blind extremism in all its forms and expressions.

The first and most important aim of religions is to believe in God, to honour Him and to invite all men and women to believe that this universe depends on a God who governs it. He is the Creator who has formed us with His divine wisdom and has granted us the gift of life to protect it. It is a gift that no one has the right to take away, threaten or manipulate to suit oneself. Indeed, everyone must safeguard this gift of life from its beginning up to its natural end. We therefore condemn all those practices that are a threat to life such as genocide, acts of terrorism, forced displacement, human trafficking, abortion and euthanasia. We likewise condemn the policies that promote these practices.

Moreover, we resolutely declare that religions must never incite war, hateful attitudes, hostility and extremism, nor must they incite violence or the shedding of blood. These tragic realities are the consequence of a deviation from religious teachings. They result from a political manipulation of religions and from interpretations made by religious groups who, in the course of history, have taken advantage of the power of religious sentiment in the hearts of men and women in order to make them act in a way that has nothing to do with the truth of religion. This is done for the purpose of achieving objectives that are political, economic, worldly and short-sighted. We thus call upon all concerned to stop using religions to incite hatred, violence, extremism and blind fanaticism, and to refrain from using the name of God to justify acts of murder, exile, terrorism and oppression. We ask this on the basis of our common belief in God who did not create men and women to be killed or to fight one another, nor to be tortured or humiliated in their lives and circumstances. God, the Almighty, has no need to be defended by anyone and does not want His name to be used to terrorize people.

This Document, in accordance with previous International Documents that have emphasized the importance of the role of religions in the construction of world peace, upholds the following:

– The firm conviction that authentic teachings of religions invite us to remain rooted in the values of peace; to defend the values of mutual understanding, human fraternity and harmonious coexistence; to re-establish wisdom, justice and love; and to reawaken religious awareness among young people so that future generations may be protected from the realm of materialistic thinking and from dangerous policies of unbridled greed and indifference that are based on the law of force and not on the force of law;

– Freedom is a right of every person: each individual enjoys the freedom of belief, thought, expression and action. The pluralism and the diversity of religions, colour, sex, race and language are willed by God in His wisdom, through which He created human beings. This divine wisdom is the source from which the right to freedom of belief and the freedom to be different derives. Therefore, the fact that people are forced to adhere to a certain religion or culture must be rejected, as too the imposition of a cultural way of life that others do not accept;

– Justice based on mercy is the path to follow in order to achieve a dignified life to which every human being has a right;

– Dialogue, understanding and the widespread promotion of a culture of tolerance, acceptance of others and of living together peacefully would contribute significantly to reducing many economic, social, political and environmental problems that weigh so heavily on a large part of humanity;

– Dialogue among believers means coming together in the vast space of spiritual, human and shared social values and, from here, transmitting the highest moral virtues that religions aim for. It also means avoiding unproductive discussions;

– The protection of places of worship – synagogues, churches and mosques – is a duty guaranteed by religions, human values, laws and international agreements. Every attempt to attack places of worship or threaten them by violent assaults, bombings or destruction, is a deviation from the teachings of religions as well as a clear violation of international law;

– Terrorism is deplorable and threatens the security of people, be they in the East or the West, the North or the South, and disseminates panic, terror and pessimism, but this is not due to religion, even when terrorists instrumentalize it. It is due, rather, to an accumulation of incorrect interpretations of religious texts and to policies linked to hunger, poverty, injustice, oppression and pride. This is why it is so necessary to stop supporting terrorist movements fuelled by financing, the provision of weapons and strategy, and by attempts to justify these movements even using the media. All these must be regarded as international crimes that threaten security and world peace. Such terrorism must be condemned in all its forms and expressions;

– The concept of citizenship is based on the equality of rights and duties, under which all enjoy justice. It is therefore crucial to establish in our societies the concept of full citizenship and reject the discriminatory use of the term minorities which engenders feelings of isolation and inferiority. Its misuse paves the way for hostility and discord; it undoes any successes and takes away the religious and civil rights of some citizens who are thus discriminated against;

– Good relations between East and West are indisputably necessary for both. They must not be neglected, so that each can be enriched by the other’s culture through fruitful exchange and dialogue. The West can discover in the East remedies for those spiritual and religious maladies that are caused by a prevailing materialism. And the East can find in the West many elements that can help free it from weakness, division, conflict and scientific, technical and cultural decline. It is important to pay attention to religious, cultural and historical differences that are a vital component in shaping the character, culture and civilization of the East. It is likewise important to reinforce the bond of fundamental human rights in order to help ensure a dignified life for all the men and women of East and West, avoiding the politics of double standards;

– It is an essential requirement to recognize the right of women to education and employment, and to recognize their freedom to exercise their own political rights. Moreover, efforts must be made to free women from historical and social conditioning that runs contrary to the principles of their faith and dignity. It is also necessary to protect women from sexual exploitation and from being treated as merchandise or objects of pleasure or financial gain. Accordingly, an end must be brought to all those inhuman and vulgar practices that denigrate the dignity of women. Efforts must be made to modify those laws that prevent women from fully enjoying their rights;

– The protection of the fundamental rights of children to grow up in a family environment, to receive nutrition, education and support, are duties of the family and society. Such duties must be guaranteed and protected so that they are not overlooked or denied to any child in any part of the world. All those practices that violate the dignity and rights of children must be denounced. It is equally important to be vigilant against the dangers that they are exposed to, particularly in the digital world, and to consider as a crime the trafficking of their innocence and all violations of their youth;

– The protection of the rights of the elderly, the weak, the disabled, and the oppressed is a religious and social obligation that must be guaranteed and defended through strict legislation and the implementation of the relevant international agreements.

To this end, by mutual cooperation, the Catholic Church and Al-Azhar announce and pledge to convey this Document to authorities, influential leaders, persons of religion all over the world, appropriate regional and international organizations, organizations within civil society, religious institutions and leading thinkers. They further pledge to make known the principles contained in this Declaration at all regional and international levels, while requesting that these principles be translated into policies, decisions, legislative texts, courses of study and materials to be circulated.

Al-Azhar and the Catholic Church ask that this Document become the object of research and reflection in all schools, universities and institutes of formation, thus helping to educate new generations to bring goodness and peace to others, and to be defenders everywhere of the rights of the oppressed and of the least of our brothers and sisters.

In conclusion, our aspiration is that:

this Declaration may constitute an invitation to reconciliation and fraternity among all believers, indeed among believers and non-believers, and among all people of good will;

this Declaration may be an appeal to every upright conscience that rejects deplorable violence and blind extremism; an appeal to those who cherish the values of tolerance and fraternity that are promoted and encouraged by religions;

this Declaration may be a witness to the greatness of faith in God that unites divided hearts and elevates the human soul;

this Declaration may be a sign of the closeness between East and West, between North and South, and between all who believe that God has created us to understand one another, cooperate with one another and live as brothers and sisters who love one another.

This is what we hope and seek to achieve with the aim of finding a universal peace that all can enjoy in this life.

Abu Dhabi, 4 february 2019

 

His Holiness
Pope Francis
The Grand Imam of Al-Azhar
Ahmad Al-Tayyeb

« Previous PageNext Page »