Patriarch John X's Speech At the Balamand Alumni…


Patriarch John X's Speech

At the Balamand Alumni Ceremony, Theater Dubai Hotel

November 27, 2021


Your Highness Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Tolerance and Coexistence,

Your Grace, Bishop Gregorios Khoury,

Venerable fathers,

The family and alumni of the University of Balamand,

Dear brethren and sisters,

Cordial greetings to the Emirates that I am honored to visit for the third time. From Balamand, the Church of Antioch, peace to the Arabian Gulf, to everyone who loves Balamand, to its alumni, the ambassadors of this university regardless of the destination, and to all of you, my brothers and dear ones present.

I come to you carrying the fragrance of the Antiochian Church. I bring its historical sense of tolerance, openness, authenticity, encounter, and bridges of communication and dialogue. When I mention these values, I explain the foundations on which this country, the UAE, was built. Firstly, we thank the Almighty God, Who brought us together as one, to please Him regardless of our religion. Many thanks to Their Highnesses Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the State, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, and Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai. As for the founding father, Sheikh Zayed, may God rest his soul, history is preserving his dear memory and hearts are remembering him with gratitude and appreciation.

And you, dear brother, the generous Sheikh Nahyan. You have embraced the name of Balamand in the Emirates since its first inception. You are a bridge of love connecting Balamand and the Emirates. You have strived for our university to obtain official recognition for the degrees in the United Arab Emirates. Thus, you are a bridge of encounter, and for this precise reason, we awarded you, the day before last, in the name of the University of Balamand, as a deserving honorary doctorate.

We built the civilization of this East as Muslims and Christians. We will always remain together on a covenant of brotherhood that we have written with the ink of our union and our love to please the Highest, Who willed and was content to reveal His glory through the harmony and empathy among His different servants.

From the principle of encounter and dialogue, I am glad to appear before you you in an era where the means of communication are abundant, but the latter has considerably decreased. I am glad to appear before you in a country that chose to be the address of the other’s meeting and chose to extract different components from different civilizations, to offer the world the uniqueness of the Emirates. From the same encounter that sums up the mission and role of the Antiochian Chruch, I am glad to meet and address you at the Balamand Alumni Ceremony:  Balamand is the address of the encounter.

From the University of Balamand, which was launched in 1988 when the bells of war were ringing, Orthodox Antioch wanted to plant the banners of peace and urbanization. From Balamand, which derives from its sea comfort and openness, from the neighboring cedar, solidit, and nobility, and from the whiteness of the Lebanese mountains, purity of the heart. From Balamand, the witness to coexistence in Lebanon, I am pleased to appear before its alumni, who represent the diverse components of coexistence.

I appear before you from Dubai, brethren, members of the Balamand family from the heart of the Emirates, which was and will remain the habitat of the encounter in its utmost splendid form. It is the encounter of the East and the West, the sea and the land, the tradition and modernity, as well as the past with the splendid present and promising future.

The “love of wisdom” or philosophy is the underpinning and the mother of all sciences. The “head of wisdom” is the fear of God, as stated in the Bible. The love of God, Whom we fear with reverence and fascination before His greatness, is in the heart of each one of us. Today’s human civilization needs to humble itself before the creativity of the Creator, to take His presence as a support, and to form a basis from fear of Almighty God. Hence, the civilization will be cleansed by His spirit, and will become a righteous and blessed civilization.

God bless you all. Long live the Emirates! Long live the University of Balamand.