On Saturday 1 December, His Grace Bishop Haigazoun Najarian, accompanied by Diocesan Councillor Mr and Mrs Kevork and Marina Tchaprazian, and Chancellor Nishan Basmajian, attended the Parramatta Mission Peace Dinner by the invitation of the President of the Mission and Minister of the local Uniting Church Dr Manas Ghosh, who has hosted this inter-religious dinner annually for the past 15 years. More than 100 attended the function, representing 14 various religions, raising united prayers for peace. The keynote speaker this year was our own Primate. Dr Ghosh introduced the Bishop by reading his biography and commending the Armenian Church’s presence within the ecumenical movement. He stated the opening ceremony of the First World War exhibition in Burwood was officiated by the Primate with the Diocese contributing its part in the success of the centennial commemoration.

In his address, Bishop Najarian defined the meaning of the word ‘peace’ and reflected on the passage from the Prophet Isaiah 11:6-7 analysing what Isaiah viewed in heaven, the co-existence of man and beast, a most beautiful definition of peace.

With the entry into the 20th century, the most horrendous of wars was the slaughter of millions of soldiers, due to starvation; millions died as a result of epidemics; the first genocide of the 20th century resulted in the annihilation of Armenian, Assyrian and Pontic Greeks. He posed how in the past, we put barriers between ourselves and other societies, viewing ourselves as civilised peoples and others as barbarians, worthy of annihilation. Is the situation any different today? We, as Christian peoples, should set the standard for the preservation of future generations as the limitless options are wasted at the hands of dictators such as Hitler, Mussolini and Stalin. Bishop concluded by stating “the walls which separate us should be lifted, the mistrust should be reconsidered and it is only then that we will see in others a brother, a sister or a friend, it is only then that personal or a collective peace can be realised, it is then that world harmony will be established.”

Click here to read Bishop Najarian’s Message of Peace.