ACCEPTING FORMALLY THE TITLE OF
“DEFENDER OF THE FAITH” January 21, 1965
Venerable and Holy Fathers, in listening to the profound spiritual message conveyed by your closing addresses, and appreciating the happy outcome of your sustained efforts, our hearts have been touched by profound gladness. It should therefore be clear to the whole world from the result of your work that Your Holiness has been guided and inspired by the Holy Spirit to accomplish your task in love and unity.
The great common tasks accomplished by this Conference in unison bestow on the true faith and true order of the Oriental Orthodox Church the admiration of the whole world.
As Solomon says, physical distance cannot be a barrier to love. Likewise, the distances among your respective countries have been abolished by the proximity of your hearts. You have thus been able to speak a single tongue and think with a single mind. We thank Almighty God for enabling us to witness the realization of Our dream in the successful outcome of this historic Conference.
We are therefore happy to express to you Our readiness, fortified by the results of this Conference, to invite you and the Eastern Orthodox Churches, and also other churches at a later date. We ardently hope that we shall meet once again in the not too distant future.
As we stated at the inauguration of this Conference, to meet together, to take council with one another, and to act in mutual cooperation, have proved a most fruitful method both in the secular and spiritual fields. Henceforth the way is open for you to follow this fruitful path, and to this end Our help and assistance will always be forthcoming, since we support your efforts, and ideas out of an unshakable conviction that it is our spiritual duty to do so.
We are gratified in particular to note that the work of this Conference has been concerned purely with religious spiritual matters free from extraneous political considerations. This is only fine and proper, for the church, as a symbol of peace, must follow the path of peace in all parts of the world. In this connection we are glad to note that your evangelistic mission in the world has received due emphasis in your deliberations, together with the recognition of the Christian duty to pray for the rights of man and the peace of the world. For world peace can only be made abiding by the Grace of God, through the prayers of the Holy Fathers. The truth of this cardinal fact is evident to all mankind.
We ardently hope that Almighty God shall bless the implementation of your important resolutions and decisions, just as He has made possible the successful convening and conclusion of this historic Conference.
Holy Fathers, we have welcomed the title you have given us, Defender of the Faith, with great honour. May Almighty God grace your name. May God welcome you. We have received this title given us by you holy fathers, with religious reverence. May your prayers help us in our effort to fulfill the task entrusted to us.