A friend of
mine, a Melkite priest, in fact, alerted his friends that a cousin of his in
Aleppo was abducted by terrorists and days later released. A tense time no
doubt. We are grateful to the Lord the young man’s return.
Of concern, too, is the assassination of a Greek Orthodox priest near
Damascus. Father Fadi Jamil Haddad, 43, pastor of St. Elias Church in Qatana,
outside Damascus, found slain on October 26, shot in head, in the Jaramana district
of the capital. Vatican news people report that an “unidentified armed group” was responsible. $715,000 was
demanded. Further details are really unclear.
Of the Christian minority in
Syria, the Greek Orthodox is known as the largest; Christians represent perhaps
10% of the population. Make no mistake, Christians have long been resident in
Syria now a majority Muslim.
The recent civil war in Syria has caused many tensions within the Christian community. While the Christians are caught in the middle of a hegemonic situation, some Christians have joined the rebellion calling for Assad to step down. Syrian Christians, however, have backed Assad, because his government administration has been tolerant of religious minorities even with political dissent. President Assad has traditionally protected the Christian minority because he and his clan hail from a Muslim minority. Hence, minority protects minority. There are Christian leaders who are urging their followers to remain neutral in the conflict. With conflict we confusion.
This situation ought to send familiar because it echoes the same that was under Saddam Hussein in Iraq who was particularly happy with Christians but embodied the political policy that protected Christians to maintain a certain amount of peace when he persecuted the Muslims who opposed him.
Most Holy Theotokos, pray for the Christians in Syria.
Saint Ephrem, pray for Christians in Syria.