John X: The corrupt do corruption and the good do good
(This article is an excerpt from a translation of an Arabic speech.)
The Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch and all the East, John X, participated in Sunday Mass at the Patriarchal Monastery of Our Lady of Balamand.
At the end of the Mass, he addressed the faithful by saying: “My dears, regarding the event that took place yesterday here in Balamand, and by it, I mean the graduation ceremony for our students at the university, we must dwell on it because it is not a simple event, for us in our Orthodox Church and in Lebanon.
Around 1830, the monastery was the seminary, and it was the place where those who want to become priests were prepared and educated. That school closed its doors during the World Wars for known reasons, and reopened several times, until the Theological Institute was established, in 1970, during the days of Patriarch Elias IV. He was the first dean at the time, our master Ignatius (Hazeem, of the French and English branches.
In 1988, Patriarch Ignatius IV obtained an official license to establish a university and three faculties were launched: Alba, the Institute of St. John of Damascus, and the Faculty of Letters and Human Sciences, where we are today.
I remember perfectly, the graduation of the first batch; there were 33 students, and we thank the Lord that this university has grown strongly. In this academic year (2020-21), 1450 students graduated.
“This is a very important indicator, as it proves that in our educational institutions, we are creating a new generation in terms of personality, science, education, culture and languages. We are all aware that the issue of education, i.e., upbringing, is fundamental. Hence the issue of the family comes first because it is the first school in which every person grows up.
“We stress the preservation of the Christian family, and this is what the last Holy Synod gave great care to; how to preserve our Christian families, from the upbringing of children to facing the challenges of the age.”
He added: “In looking at the situation that our country has reached, in terms of politics - we all pray and hope that a government will be formed in coming days, for the good of Lebanon and the Lebanese. In terms of living, financial and economic aspects, we have reached a critical situation. “Every citizen faces serious challenges, especially every head of a family in terms of securing his livelihood and the ability to continue and educate his children.
“In the face of great challenges, we thank the Lord because with wisdom and proper management and the proper interaction between the administration, parents, staff and students, this academic year was accomplished, during which we were able to provide a great service to our children, especially since the university offered university scholarships to students in very large sums.
“Is the problem with the loss of gasoline and diesel? Each person, according to his literature, morals, and upbringing, draws on a certain history and creates certain problems. When old men grow up, they learn to transcend their personal interests, and to work for others and build it; this directly leads to finding solutions to the problems that we face in Lebanon.
“We pray for stability in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and in Palestine -- the entire Middle East region -- which suffers and faces many difficulties today.
“We pray and work to develop the spirit of citizenship, and the respect of each person for his fellow human being. This is the role played by the school, university, and home; it is also the role of the church in bringing up a generation that adopts these concepts, values and morals, and deals in all political, social, educational, philosophical and financial matters with morals and ethics filled with honesty and integrity.
“We get to the issue of corruption; how did corruption spread? There are corrupt people who do corruption and there are good people who do good. I reiterate the importance of education in building nations.”