Fostering Interfaith Harmony: Let’s Meet Around Mary | Antonine University

  • Fostering Interfaith Harmony: Let’s Meet Around Mary

    03 April 2024

    In a splendid display of promoting holistic well-being and nurturing spirituality, the Vice Rectorate for Integral Human Development (VRIHD) at Antonine University (UA) organized an extraordinary Islamic-Christian gathering titled “Let’s Meet Around Mary” or "لنلتقِ حول مريم" on March 26, 2024, to commemorate the Feast of the Annunciation, embracing the essence of unity and profound spirituality.

    Under the patronage of UA’s Rector, Fr. Michel Saghbiny, the gathering commenced with a delightful address that delved into the significance of Mary, the profound essence of Islamic-Christian relations, and personal anecdotes shared by Fr. Saghbiny that intertwined these invaluable themes.

    The event showcased enlightening reflections on a sacred biblical text, graciously shared by Fr. Ayoub Shahwan of the Lebanese Maronite Order (OLM), along with captivating interpretations of a Quranic passage, presented by His Eminence Sheikh Muhammad Naqri. These profound insights aimed to bridge the spiritual traditions and foster a sense of shared reverence.

    Moreover, the occasion featured heartfelt life testimonials delivered by individuals who have experienced the transformative power of Islamic-Christian dialogue in their lives. Ms. Rasha Otabashi, Fr. Nehme Saliba, Br. Nabil Adwan, and Ms. Maha Khalaf shared their personal journeys, touching the hearts of the audience and reinforcing the significance of unity and understanding.

    The air was filled with celestial melodies as UA’s Classical Arabic Music Ensemble graced the stage. Guided by Prof. Nidaa Abou Mrad on violin, the enchanting chants by Ms. Rafka Rizk, the melodic Tajwid recitation by Ahmad Amro, and the ethereal notes of the qānūn, played by Dr. Ghassan Sahhab, transported the audience to a realm of serenity and awe.

    At the heart of this remarkable spiritual event lay a noble objective: to create a unique and transformative space where participants could cultivate deep understanding and profound respect between the Islamic and Christian communities. Through their shared veneration for Mary, this blessed gathering aimed to nurture interfaith harmony and foster a spirit of cooperation. It served as a poignant reminder that, despite religious differences, the values of love, compassion, and unity are universal.