PEREGRINATIONS - Canadian Catholic Perspectives and Reflections by members of the PERSONAL ORDINARIATE OF THE CHAIR OF ST. PETER
Wednesday, 24 June 2015
Christians flee Syria and Lebanon
The CATHOLIC HERALD reports that Catholic and Melkite Catholic bishops plead for peace and for help to Syrian and Iraqui Christians:
Melkite Catholic Patriarch Gregoire III Laham, who was born in Syria, presided over the Melkite synod last week at the patriarchal summer residence in Ain-Traz, Lebanon. He pointed to “the miseries and dangers that destroy our people and cause paralysis of Christian spirituality”.
Melkite Patriarch Gregoire III Laham
“We appeal to all: Stop the war. The war in Syria and the war against Syria is a real genocide,” Patriarch Laham said in the final statement. “This is a third world war whose price is largely paid by the Syrian people in all its components and … confessions.”
“We call, loud and clear – upon neighboring states, Arab countries, the European Union, the USA, Russia, China, Latin America and all world states – begging them to work seriously to put an end to this war,” he said.
In his opening address, the patriarch cited Pope Francis’s December letter to Middle East Christians, whom the pope described as serving |as a roadmap for us Christians to remain united and remain united, too, as Christians and Muslims”.
The Melkite patriarch expressed his concern about the “bleeding| caused by Christian emigration.
“It is terribly sad to see how the crises that the Middle East is going through are driving an exponential growth in Eastern Christian emigration,| he said, citing a survey indicating that 60 percent of Lebanese have decided to leave the country, with 35 percent awaiting visas. “Most of them are Christian,” he said.
“If that is the case with Lebanon, what then can be the situation and outlook for less-stable countries, torn by war and ruled by chaos?” Patriarch Laham asked. “It is necessary to operate in every way possible to try to stop this bleeding.”
. . . . Maronite bishops urged political powers to overcome their disputes and work toward filling the vacancy in Lebanon’s presidency.
. . . . Cardinal Angelo Scola of Milan was a special guest at the synod Cardinal Scola and Cardinal Rai traveled from Beirut to Irbil, Iraq, for a one-day visit June 19 to show their support and solidarity to tens of thousands of Christians uprooted by the Islamic State last summer.