بمناسبة عيد مار مارون ويوبيل الخمسين سنة على تأسيس رعية اداليد سنة ١٩٧٢.ترأس راعي الأبرشية المارونية في أستراليا المطران أنطوان شربل طربيه قداساً في كنيسة مار مارون في مدينة ادليد عاونه فيه خادم الرعية المونسنيور عمانوئيل ضقر وعدد من الكهنة.
حضرالفداس رئيس الوزراء سكوت موريسون ووزير الهجرة أليكس هوك ووزيرة خدمات المهاجرين راشيل سويفت وجدد من السياسيين.
واحتفل الحضور بتبريك وازاحة الستار عن تمثال القديس مارون الذي نحته الفنان نايف علوان والذي تم استقدامه من لبنان منذ ثلاثة أشهروقطع كل من طربيه وموريسون شريط ازاحة الستار عن التمثال وسط حديقة اقيمت خصيصاً في المكان.
والقى موريسون كلمة بالمناسبة جاء فيها:»
هل يمكنني أن أبدأ بالقول كم هو رائع أن تكون في مجتمع الإيمان الجميل هذا
من أكثر التجارب المؤثرة في حياتي الروحية ، كانت الزيارة التي قمت بها الى بينان للمشاركة بسيامة المطران انطوان طربيه.
لقد كان وقتا رائعا. كان وقت الاحتفال والفرح.
وبينما كان لدي العديد من التجارب مع المجتمع الماروني هنا في أستراليا ، لم يكن لدي مثل ما وجدت في لبنان
وعلى وجه الخصوص عندما وصلنا إلى بلدة تنورين مسقط رأس المطران.
ثم في حردين وبشري و في العديد من قرى شمال لبنان ،
ما أدهشني هو الإيمان الراسخ للقرى.
الطائفة المارونية التي تنبثق بالطبع من الإيمان العظيم للقديس مارون نفسه
وهذا هو الإيمان الذي كان عليه أن يتحمل 1500 عام ، من خلال المجاعة ، من خلال الحرب ، من خلال الاضطهاد ، من خلال الدول الفاشلة ، والدول المعاد إنشاؤها ، والاضطرابات السياسية.
لكن الشيء الوحيد الذي بقي ثابتًا على مدى حياة الطائفة المارونية ، سواء في الأوقات العصيبة اليوم في لبنان أو تلك التي مضى عليها أكثر من ألف سنة ، وثبات
الإيمان والأشياء البسيطة التي احتفلتم بها هنا هذا الصباح
عندما كنت في حردين ، اصطحبوني لزيارة كنيسة صغيرة جدًا ، وشرحوا لي أن أبواب الكنيسة كانت منخفضة ، منخفضة جدًا.
وقلت، لماذا كان هذا؟ هل كان الناس أقصر في ذلك الوقت؟ لا
كان الهدف هو منع أولئك الذين يأتون على ظهور الجياد للدخول إلى الكنيسة وقتل جميع المصلين.
وبعد ذلك عندما ذهبت الى أنقاض كنيسة إلى أخرى ، كنت أرى نفس الشيء.
وفي إحدى الكنائس ، أتذكر ، حيث كان هناك أب ناسك رائع ، لم يستطع التحدث بكلمة واحدة باللغة الإنجليزية ، لكننا تواصلنا كثيرًا.
وشرح لنا بالإيماءات
ازدهرت الكنيسة في جميع أنحاء العالم عندما كانت تحت الاضطهاد. واليوم الكنيسة ، بغض النظر عن الطائفة التي قد تشترك فيها من الإيمان المسيحي ، تتعرض للاضطهاد هذا في جميع أنحاء العالم.
ونفكر ونصلي من أجل أولئك الذين لا يستطيعون التجمع مثلنا بحرية هذا لممارسة عقيدتنا
لذلك لدي الكثير من الأشياء المشتركة مع المجتمع الماروني.
أنا أؤمن بالمعجزات ، وبالفعل جمع مار مارون الناس واجتذبهم
وقد جئت إلى هنا اليوم لأقدم بعض التشجيع.
كنا أنا وسيدنا في هذه المسيرة معًا لفترة طويلة ، وهو يعلم أن الكثير من شغفي بالسعي لحماية الأستراليين في العقيدة الدينية من التمييز ، متجذر في تقديري العميق للطائفة المارونية .
العديد من الديانات الأرثوذكسية الشرقية أيضًا ، والجماعات القبطية ، والطوائف الأرثوذكسية اليونانية والعديد من الذين عرفوا الاضطهاد في أوطانهم وقد جاؤوا إلى هذا البلد بحثًا عن هذه الحرية.
وأنا أشارك آراء سيدنا بأن هناك العديد من الأشياء غير اللطيفة التي قيلت عن الأشخاص ذوي الإيمان الديني في هذا البلد لأنني أعرف أن تجربتهم مع المجتمع مختلفة تمامًا.
وأسترالياا هي المكان الذي وجدوا فيه الدعم والرعاية والحب والرحمة ، ويستمر ذلك حتى يومنا هذا.
يوجد الآن العديد من الخدمات الرائعة ، بما في ذلك تلك التي تقدمها حكومتي ، ، ونحن نعمل معًا بشكل وثيق.
ولذا فمن المخيب للآمال أن محاولة توفير حماية إضافية قد تم تقويضها من قبل أولئك الذين يسعون لتقويض المؤسسات الدينية ذاتها التي يعتمد عليها الكثير من المجتمع المسيحي ، خاصة في مدارسنا.
REMARKS, ST MAROUN’S CHURCH
WESTBOURNE PARK, SOUTH AUSTRALIA
SUNDAY 13 FEBRUARY 2022
PRIME MINISTER: Can I start by saying how wonderful it is to be in this beautiful community of faith. I am joined, of course, by Minister Hawke, and Dr Rachel Swift, the Liberal candidate for Boothby. I’m especially pleased to be here with my dear friend Saydna, Bishop Tarabay. Can I extend a very warm greeting, Monsignor, Fathers, most of all the tremendous faith community that I’ve been able to enjoy this wonderful mass here this morning.
One of the most impactful experiences of my spiritual life, which began as a child, was when I had the great fortune to be able to accompany many Australians to Lebanon for the ordination of Bishop Tarabay. It was a wonderful time. It was a time of celebration, of joy. And while having had many experiences with the Maronite community here in Australia, I’ve never had one quite like that before. And in particular when we got to the Bishop’s home village of Tannourine. What really came home to me during the course of that visit, whether it was in Tannourine or whether it was Hardine, whether it was in Bcharreh or so many of the villages in the north of Lebanon, what struck me was the enduring faith of the Maronite community, which stems, of course, from the great faith of Saint Maroun himself. And this is a faith that had to endure 1,500 years, through famine, through war, through persecution, through failed states, re-created states, political upheaval, in all of these things. But yet the one thing that has remained constant over the life of the Maronite community, whether even in the troubled times today in Lebanon or those over a thousand years ago, the constancy of faith and the very simple things that you have celebrated here this morning.
When I was in Hardine, I was shown to a very small little church, and it was explained to me that the doorways of the church were lowered, very low. And I thought, what was this for? Were people shorter back then? No. It was to stop those who would come on horseback to charge into the church and slay everybody in the congregation. And then when I would go from one ruin of a church to another, I would see the same thing. And in one church, I remember, where there was a wonderful hermit Father who was there, couldn’t speak a word of English, but we communicated quite a lot. And he explained this to me with gestures. There was not only the entrance into the main area of the church, but then there was another one to one side where even that first entry would be not enough to protect them and they went into another secret place where they would practice their faith under incredible persecution. You know, the church all around the world has flourished most when it has been under persecution. And the church today, whatever denomination you may subscribe to of the Christian faith, is under persecution this day all around the world. And we think and we pray for those who cannot gather together as we have so freely this morning to practice our faith.
So I have much in common with the Maronite community. I do believe in miracles, as all you do, and indeed St Maroun did and drew people, but it was much more than that. It was much more than that. And I’ve come here today to give some encouragement. I too Saydna,was as you know, as we spoke during the week, devastated. Saydna and I have been on this march together for a long time, and he knows that so much of my passion for seeking to protect Australians of religious faith from discrimination, is rooted in my deep appreciation of the Maronite community, but just not the Maronite community, many of the Eastern Orthodox faiths as well, Coptic communities, the Greek Orthodox communities and so many who have known persecution in their homelands and they’ve come here to this country seeking that freedom. And indeed that freedom is here. But we sought to add to those protections and we were unsuccessful. And that is a bitter disappointment. But I do not regret bringing that forward. And I share Saydna’s views that there were many unkind things said about people of religious faith in this country because I know their experience of community is completely different. It’s a community, as you said Saydna, and particularly for so many migrant communities in this country, where was the first place they came in the 1950s, in the 1960s or indeed in the 1890s? They came to fellowships like this. And that’s where they found fellowship, support, care, love, compassion, connection, community, and that continues to this day. Now there are many more wonderful services, including those provided by my own Government, that assists all of that, that we work closely together. And so it is disappointing that the very attempt to provide additional protections was undermined by those who would seek to undermine the very religious institutions upon which so much of Christian community depends, whether in our schools, our charitable organisations or the many things that are done indeed even in the communities like we share in today. And as I had to make a very important decision Saydna, I felt very much like the woman before Solomon. You will know the story. Solomon, known for his great wisdom and the two women came and they were arguing over whose child was theirs. And one of their children had died during the night. One of the women had rolled over, I assume, and the woman’s child died. And she rose earlier, and she took her deceased child and put it under the other woman, and she took the alive child and took her, her or him, not sure what it was, over to her breast. And so they go before Solomon and Solomon wisely says, OK, why don’t we cut the child in half. And the woman whose child it was said, no, the other woman can have my child. And at that moment, Solomon knew who the mother was. So, I would rather lay down our attempt to secure those additional protections, than see them compromised or undermined. And I’m sure that communities of faith all around this country, you all understand that. I share your disappointment, but I have not forgotten upon which everything else rests, and that is not something that I would forsake. So there will be those who will say that I have been humiliated and all of those things, but happy to suffer those things in a cause that I believe strongly in and that I know you share. We will see where this goes in the future. But we don’t rely as Christians or indeed those of other faiths, but certainly as Christians, we do not rely on governments or laws or any of these things to uphold our faith. And no community understands that better than the Maronite community who has suffered under all sorts of prejudice and governments and political systems and wars and famines.
So I bring you a couple of encouragements, and forgive me Saydna for speaking at this length, but I have three verses I’d like to share with you, which have meant a great deal to me. Because I know that our Christian faith rests on a strong foundation. And in Psalm 18, verses 1-3, it speaks of that. It says, “I love you, oh Lord, my strength. The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer. My God, my rock in whom I take refuge. My shield and the wall of my salvation, my stronghold. I call upon the Lord who is worthy to be praised and I am saved from my enemies.” That is a prayer I’m sure every Maronite Christian has prayed for 1,500 years and will continue to. But then we are reminded of the source of that strength that comes. And I go to Jeremiah chapter 17, verses 7 and 8. And on my office wall in Canberra, there is a painting of a gum tree right next to a river, which I saw when I walked into an art gallery up in Burke and I immediately bought it because it reminded me of this verse. “Blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord and whose trust is the Lord. For they will be like a tree planted by the water that extends its roots by a stream and does not fear when the heat comes, but its leaves will be green and it will not be anxious in a year of drought, nor cease to yield fruit.” So we have that encouragement that He will always be our source of strength in our faith. And thirdly, this is one I shared with my own Christian parish, denomination. And it’s from Isaiah, chapter 40 verses 28-31. And indeed, there is another picture on my wall in my study back in Sydney of an eagle with its wings outstretched. And I’m sure you will know the verses I’m referring to. It says in Isaiah 40:28-31, “Do you not know? Have you not heard? The everlasting God, the Lord, the creator of the ends of the Earth, does not become weary or tired. His understanding is unsearchable. He gives strength to the weary and, to the one who lacks might, He increases power. Though youths grow weary and tired, and vigorous young men stumble badly, yet those who wait for the Lord will gain new strength. They will mount up with wings like eagles. They will run and they will not grow tired, and they will walk and they will not grow weary”.
And so that is my encouragement to you today. Those who like me, so many others, Alex who was there with me in the chamber the other night, Ben and others. We share your disappointment, but we know that what we believe extends well beyond any chamber, or any place, or anything on this earth. And we are encouraged in our foundation and the source of our strength, but mainly we are also encouraged in the journey that we continue to walk on in His strength. And in that last verse I am reminded always that there is not just the encouragement that God will be there for us, but to not grow weary you have to walk. To rise up with wings like eagles you have to spread your wings. To run is what we’re asked to do. So we will continue to do that and we will do it in fellowship, we will do it in love. Because that is what I’m sure St Maroun would want us to do, and I have no doubt that’s what Jesus would have us do. Thank you so much for allowing me to be with you today and share these few words with you. And thank you for your faithfulness. Thank you for your prayers. I know the Maronite community prays for me and Jenny and my family every day, I certainly know Saydna does. I’m very grateful for those and my family is grateful for them also. And in the months ahead I thank you so much for those prayers as well. God bless you.