Introductory message to the report of the VIIth SYNDESMOS

ألبير لحام Sunday July 21, 1968 193

Introductory message to the report of the VIIth SYNDESMOS General Assembly

Rattvik, Sweden, 21-27 July 1968

Albert Laham

Albert Laham from Lebanon played a role in the first contacts between the Orthodox youth movement MJO of Antioch and youth movements in Europe from 1946. Between 1964 and 1977 he served as the President of SYNDESMOS, and he has remained a faithful friend of the Fellowship ever since.

“I have come to cast fire upon the earth, and I wish that it were already burning.[1]

Jesus Christ claims that his mission is to cast fire upon the earth. This fire has come and it is burning. It is the fire of the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of grace and truth, of peace and joy, of justice and all embracing love. This Spirit has come. And where He breathes, there is freedom. “For where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.[2]

The organisation SYNDESMOS exists to be a “bond” which binds together many men and movements in the single unity of the one divine Spirit, in the single burning flame of the one divine Fire. As a World Fellowship of Orthodox Youth, SYNDESMOS takes its name from the apostolic words: “be eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond — syndesmos — of peace.[3]


The world is not in peace. Neither is it in unity. The spirit of this world, which burns from the black ghettoes of Chicago to the streets of Paris, from the Holy Land in the Middle East to the jungles of Africa[4], this spirit is not the Spirit of unity and peace. It is not a bond which can pacify and unite. It is a barrier which can only divide and destroy.

But the firm belief of SYNDESMOS, and its only reason for existence, is that there is a Spirit, not as this world gives, which is a power, a unity and a peace. There is a Spirit which can burn in men and movments and can empower them to go beyond every spirit of this world. This is the Spirit which Christ gives, the fire which He has cast upon the earth. And SYNDESMOS desires, as its only consuming desire, to be alive and burning with this spiritual fire.

We ask everyone who reads these pages to pray for us and to help us and to join us, the Orthodox youth, that we all might be not merely eager, but successful, to maintain our unity in the bond of peace and to bring through our work, and in communion with all Christians, this unity and peace to all mankind.

And the hope of SYNDESMOS, the goal to which it strives, is that it may become the instrument of that Spirit to bring together the Orthodox youth of the world for a common witness of love, unity and peace. (…)


[1] Luke 12,49

[2] 2 Cor. 3:17

[3] Eph. 4:3

[4] The 1968 Assembly took place shortly after the events of May 1968 in Paris and the United States.