Bishops meet with Iranian president

The Episcopal News Service has a report on an important meeting between Anglican bishops and the leadership of Iran:

The former president of Iran, Mohammad Khatami, met August 9 with the newly installed Bishop in Iran, Azad Marshall, along with Church of England Bishop Michael Nazir Ali of Rochester and Presiding Bishop Mouneer Anis of the Province of Jerusalem and the Middle East. Marshall was installed as Bishop of the Anglican Diocese of Iran during an August 5 service at St. Paul’s Church in Tehran.

…Bishop Michael Nazir Ali expressed appreciation for Dr. Khatami’s focus in inter-faith dialogue on Stewardship of the Creation, the Dialogue of Civilisations and the Theology of Dialogue and hoped this could be developed. They also exchanged reflections on Persian poetry.

…The former president noted that Nietzche had proclaimed that God is dead, by which he meant that the thought of God is dead in the modern world. The new civilization has brought many achievements for humanity, but in it the thought of God has been forgotten. In its place has been put the super-man, the will to power. This has been expressed in the face of Hitler. Hitler is dead, but his spirit exists in war, terrorism and violation of people.

He continued that we dare to say that God is alive. It is our duty to vitalize the thought of God among humanity. We are sure that Christianity and Islam are trying to address the absence of the thought of God among us. The great task for all of us is to fill the gap, a task in which we can all be together though we have differences in detail.

The most important dialogue in the dialogue of civilizations is the dialogue among religions.

Dr. Khatami closed by saying “Emphatically I wish success to Bishop Azad. Bishop Azad, this is your home.”

On behalf of the province of Jerusalem and the Middle East and the diocese of Iran we express our profound gratitude to Dr. Khatami for his words and his welcome.

Bishop Chane of the Diocese of Washington DC has also visited in the past with Khatami when he was in the United States. That meeting though was the occasion for a great deal of criticism.

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