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Antiochian Patriarch calls for peaceful coexistence of religions in Syria

January 02, 2014, 2:26 UTC+3 BEIRUT
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BEIRUT, January 02, ITAR-TASS/. Syria should remain a country where minarets stand side by side with the bell-towers of Christian churches, the Eastern Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch and all the East, John X Yazigi, said at a festive liturgy in the Mariamite Cathedral of Dormition of the Virgin Mary in Damascus.

The supreme hierarch of the Church founded by the Apostles Peter and Paul said a withdrawal from the crisis that had swept Syria could only be a peaceful one and it required political settlement and dialogue free of any preconditions.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, who met with a group of Syrian and Lebanese clerics two days before that, called on the Moslem theologians to counteract the spread of Wahhabi teachings, which he said promulgated religious intolerance.

The Wahhabi doctrine nurtures terror and is therefore alien to Syria’s tolerant society, Assad said.

On the New Year’s night, militants of the irreconcilable opposition propped up by the West delivered gunfire at the Christian districts of Damascus. One of the shells fell near the School of St John the Damascene and the Church of Exaltation of the Holy Cross in Qasaa district, killing a peaceful civilian and leaving another two persons wounded.

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