'Destroy this Temple, and in three days I will raise it up.' (John 2/19)
With the prophetic Words of Jesus, proclaiming His Death and Resurrection, I would like to greet you, placing before me the truth of the Temple, the New Temple I would say, which is Jesus Himself, the Son of Man and Son of God who was incarnated, who "died and was buried, and on the third day He rose again from the dead." The Temple, therefore, is He Himself, the Temple is all of us with Him, members and head. He is the head of the new humanity, a humanity that was redeemed, a humanity that was regenerated in life, a humanity which was called to destroy every type of hatred, evil and sin so that it gives birth to a new world, a world of love, a world of brotherhood and peace.
The monastic life is nothing else than to die and live every day with Jesus Christ. It is a call to him or her, who with great courage take the decision to abandon everything aside and follow Jesus, to carry his cross, to die and make die in him/her every hatred, every evil, every sin, every pride, each type of the old Adam in order to revive with Jesus - Love, Jesus - Peace, Jesus - Reconciliation, who embraces all and brings them close to the heart of the Father.
The testimony of Prophet Elias Monastery which was the first missionary dimension of the Lebanese Maronite Order, bears witness to this reality: the presence of monks who wanted to share the love of Jesus and the love for their neighbors. To this effect, they would sacrifice themselves in order to live with Him and for Him. From generation to generation, the monks are in the living memory of the people, and are recalled by the Maronite community, in the villages, the parishes, in the life of the community. The Charisma of the monastery and every monastery must involve a dynamic presence, a missionary presence, a presence of the monastic prayer and a presence of witness.
This exhibition of photos and paintings, although it depicts the hard facts and moments that the island lived, and can be noted through destruction and damage, it hides however behind it, a history, an offering; there are sacrifices, there are values of spiritual, monastic and pastoral life. Behind it and at the level of the Island, they hide the culture of coexistence, of multiculturism. It is a challenging picture that describes Cyprus through its history, its current role as a meeting place and a human dialogue. The photos talk to everyone and give the message that the house of God, it means every house of worship must be open to all in order to become a space of forgiveness, a deep symbolic and spiritual space in which the relationship between people, friends, communities must be renewed for the benefit of all contributing in the promotion of values and stability in the human societies. These photos show all the reality they bear, pushing all people of good will to believe in the power of life, the power of love.
I greet and welcome the Lebanese Maronite Order through the distinguish presence of the Most Rev. General Superior Abbot Tannous Nehme and the delegation that accompanies him and I wish them all the best and every success. I would like to say that the Maronite Church greatly appreciates this history and this witness.
I greet and congratulate the Rev. Father Joseph Lakkotrypis Michaelides who is of a very remarkable musical academic standard; I thank him for all effort he did for organizing this activity; I greet the Mayor of Strovolos Mr Lazaros Savvides who is the co-organizer and sponsor of the event.
May the Saints and martyr monks, through the intercession of Mar Maroun, Mar Sharbel, Mar Neammtalla and St. Rebecca give us the strength to go always ahead in the project of life witnessing the love of our Lord Jesus Christ in the world.
Nicosia, 3 November, 2012
Maronite Archbishop of Cyprus