Makoto Watabe NCC Moderator
The Christmas season has arrived. The most significant theme of Christmas is that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, came to the world in human form. Moreover, that he loved the world, us as much as to give his life.
I visited Armenia for a business of the United Bible Society (UBS) in October this year. Along with the Orthodox Church (Orthodoxy) and the Orient Orthodox Church, it was a signing ceremony to support the work of Bible translation through the Bible Society.
In 301, the Kingdom of Armenia established Christianity as the state religion, ahead of the world. The Armenian Orthodox Church is an entirely different Oriental Orthodox from the East Orthodox Church which was divided from the Roman Catholic Church in the West. Of course, both the Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Church coexist in Armenia. Countries such as Armenia, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Turkey, Iran and others around the Caucasus have always weaved history in a variety of ethnic, religious and political conflicts. Recently, under the influence of the Russian Orthodox Church and the Greek Orthodox Church, division riots occurred in the East Orthodox Church in neighboring countries. In Armenia with this old history, Armenians who were ethnic minorities in the Ottoman territory were killed systematically since 1900, and the number of the victims summed up to 2 million. It was a genocide before Nazi Hitler appeared. More than half of the people became refugees and scattered all over the world.
I visited the genocide memorial hall and devoted my heartfelt condolences to the deceased people. Where does brutality such as treating people like livestock originate from? Islam against Christianity, Christianity against Christianity. Our faith should not create divisions but mutual peace. Also, to love is to forgive and to bring about the gospel of peace and reconciliation. For this Christmas season, I pray from the bottom of my heart the blessings of Christ.