On Saturday 30th March 2013, the evening before Easter Sunday, the Austrian chapter of WFWP organized a charity concert for Syria in the Syrian-Orthodox Church of Vienna. The Chorepiskopos (bishop), Prof. Dr. Emanuel Aydin, has been one of the first public figures who received the UPF Peace Ambassador’s plaque in 2005. Also, even prior to that, in the 1980-ties and 90-ties he had already supported interreligious dialogue meetings of the Unification Movement in Austria .
In recent years he deepened the contact with the Unification movement by working together with Dr. Dietrich Seidel at the International University of Vienna. Dr. Seidel is a UTS graduate and has worked at UTS a s a professor before he returned to Vienna. Through Dr. Seidel’s and his wife Elisabeth´s efforts, this concert could take place with more than 200 guests attending.
At the beginning of the program bishop Aydin explained the difficult situation of the Christians in Syria due to the ongoing war, which was demonstrated by a slide show afterwards. Then the choir of the Syrian-Orthodox Church sang a few traditional songs.
The main program of the concert was done by Mrs. Seiko Lee who had come to Vienna for that occasion. Songs like “Frühling in Wien” (Spring in Vienna), “Ave Maria”, “Serenade” by Schubert and many other songs melted the hearts of the audience. She also explained about her work for peace by showing a video about her worldwide activities.
Finally, Mrs. Renate Amesbauer, WFWP President of Austria, handed over Peace Ambassadors’ Awards to twelve families of the Syrian-Orthodox community. The families had been chosen in advance by the leadership of the Church.
The Syrian-Orthodox leaders expressed their gratitude for the WFWP’s efforts and expressed their desire to continue the cooperation with WFWP. Nobody else had made such an effort to help them before. The amount of the donations collected was remarkable as well: € 1.850.-
Not only members of the Syrian-orthodox Church attended the concert, but local VIPs like the priest from the Catholic Church, Head of the Coptic church in Vienna the neighborhood, representatives of the three major political parties and the local major were present as well.
WFWP has been able to open doors for a beautiful interreligious cooperation!
Elisabeth Cook & Renate Amesbauer