UPDATED (July 3rd, 2017):
In honour of the repose of our chief shepherd on July 1st, 2017.
Back in February 2017 we started building our second version of the ACOY website. Whilst planning we decided that the very first post to should come from His Eminence Metropolitan Paul Saliba who has always supported our initiatives unconditonally! We knew the website would take a while and so we planned to allow plenty of time for Sayedna to find a place in his calendar to write us a message. Within the space of 48 hours, he had provided us with his own words. It took us another 2 months to create a page to put it via soft-launch.
In his repose, we want to share his words of love and to remember his love and empowerment of the young. May his memory be eternal. [DJD]
MAY 10, 2017, His Eminence Archbishop Paul Saliba (Of Thrice Blessed Memory)
Christian faith (in the sense of believing that Jesus is God and Man) is held by a minority. And the same minority is splintered and dwindling.
Our young are exposed to many non-religious influences, and few religious ones- if there are any at all. They have become commercialised and reduced to a rather general concept rather than admit that one is a Christian.
Our entire culture has become divorced from religion and all impressions of spirituality. In the life of an average, modern, and young person they are exposed, both at home and school, too many sources of media, books, advertisements, etc. One would be hard-put to find any Christian content or Christian understanding of life values.
The principles of man’s freedom under God have gained great importance in recent times. It is this concept (of true freedom) that distinguishes our youth’s worldview from modern, anti-Christian, and dictatorial philosophies.
The act of Christian faith is a free act. We cannot tell our young “you must believe thus…” and “because I say so…”. Rather we must say: “I believe because the Church teaches” and “it is written in the Bible.”
Our young are facing some very critical responsibility:
- Are they willing to study, live and carry the teachings of their Church to the Country they are living with?
- Are they willing to carry their Lord’s command to be his light in the darkness of this world? To be His disciples?
The Antiochian Archdiocese is working hard to prepare and provide the facilities, the means, and the specialists to work with our young to prepare them for their mission. We have acquired the Antiochian Village, a place our young, family, and children can go and spend as many days as required- praying, studying, socialising etc. We have many planned “RETREATS” for our young and their parents from all over this Country.
The educational work of the Church has to be three-dimensional including:
- Building up a full Liturgical Life in the Parish;
- Teaching the young generation and their homes
- and instructing the children.
Any one of these aspects cannot exist and grow by itself. This total task is what the ACOY Members are called to carry on, and to glorify the Name of their Lord.
Metropolitan Archbishop Paul
Primate of Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia and New Zealand And the Philippines