by Laura Badaracco for Romasette
November 25, 2010
A series of meetings with experts at the Cultural Centre of via della Greca, with the object of promoting interreligious and intercultural dialogue
A series of conferences to raise awareness of the Eastern Christian heritage, called The Churches of the Middle East: identity, testimony and dialogue, a series of meetings, with free entry and on a monthly basis, – will be held at the headquarters of the Cultural Centre Bocca della Verità, at 3 via della Greca starting this afternoon, November 25. “Various scholars and experts will be describing a journey into the rich heritage of ecclesiastical traditions of the East,” anticipates Naman Tarcha, manager of the Centre, opened in the monumental complex of the Basilica of Santa Maria in Cosmedin.
“Our main objective is the promotion of interreligious and intercultural dialogue,” underlines Archim. Mtanios Haddad, director of the Centre. “In this context, we have decided to promote knowledge of Arab culture, protecting and enhancing the cultural, artistic and historical heritage of the Middle East, making it alive in relation to the changes and challenges of the present, focusing at all levels on the formation and development of the person.”
In a series of meetings and in its other cultural initiatives, the Centre “seeks to be a bridge between the two shores of the Mediterranean, for the rediscovery of a world that often seems so close but far away, where every stone has a story to tell, but especially where the dialogue between peoples is based on mutual respect, justice and peace,” notes Tarcha. He adds: “We would like to tell people about this rich, colourful mosaic of the Middle East, where peoples, ethnicities and religions have lived together forever.”
The series of conferences, therefore, is accompanied by a full programme of activities: courses in Arabic and Italian language and culture, Byzantine choral chant (from 27 November, every Saturday afternoon from 4p.m – 5p.m.) and individual violin, mosaics and iconography.
The lecture series begins today at 5. 30.m., with “The Ethiopian Church,” described by Fr. Groum Tesfaye, S. J., of the Philosophical and Theological Institute in Addis Ababa. On 16 December, at 5p.m., the reality of the Chaldean Church will be illustrated by Msgr. Pierre Yousif, of the Parisian Centre Eglise d’Orient, while Don George Jahola, of the Roman College of St. Ephrem will present the Syro-Antiochian Church on January 20, 2011 at the same hour.
A month later, on February 20, Fr. Augustin Mouhanna – of the Université Saint-Esprit of Kaslik, Lebanon – will reveal the characteristics of the Maronite Church, while to explain the spread of the Syro-Malabar and Syro-Malankara Church there will be Fr. Jacov Kulić, of the Pontifical Oriental Institute in Rome, speaking on March 17, followed on 31 by Fr. Germano Marani, S. J., a lecturer at the same university, talking about the Byzantine Church.
On April 14, Msgr. Mtanios Haddad, Apocrisary in Rome of H. B. Patriarch Gregorios III Laham, will give a talk about the Melkite Greek Catholic Church. The last two meetings will be confined to May – 5 and 19 respectively: the first, on the Coptic Church, will be led by Fr. Mamdouh Chehab Bassilios, friar and professor at the Centre Franciscain d’Etudes orientales chrétiennes in Cairo; the second will be led by Fr. Boghos Zekiyan, from the Venetian University Ca ‘Cappello, Venice, on the topic of the Armenian Church. To complete the cycle, there will be a concert of sacred music of the Christian East, with the participation of choirs formed from the different Eastern churches present in the capital.
Translated from the Italian – V.C.