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|Bartholomew of Constantinople|
Address to the Conference on peace and tolerance
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Thank you, Rabbi Arthur Schneier, for the great impetus you provided for this conference, and for all your work to make it come to pass. Your efforts to promote peace, tolerance, and intergroup understanding are deeply appreciated. May God bless you.
Although we will focus our remarks on problems in Central Asia and the Caucasus, let us keep in mind that no member of the human family has a monopoly on malice -- we are all sinners and stand in desperate need of God's grace in our quest for a better world. But while some have pointed to a modern "clash of civilizations" as inevitable, the representatives of many of those civilizations have gathered here today in a spirit of brotherhood and harmony. May our Heavenly Father grant us the strength to maintain that fraternal spirit in the years to come.
Since the beginning of recorded history, Eastern Europe has been a great crossroads of cultures and civilizations -- a vast meeting ground for many different tribes, faiths, and peoples. Sometimes it seems as if our only constants have been conflict and conquest.
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