Iraqi Patriarch Delly: World has forgotten Iraqi Christians
In the aftermath of the murder of the priest Paulos Eskandar, the Chaldean patriarch denounced the indifference of the international community which, coupled with persecution, threatens to empty the Middle East of its Christian communities.
Beirut (AsiaNews) Outside interference in Iraq as well as in Syria and Lebanon , coupled with the international communitys apparent indifference about the fate of the Christians in these countries, are concretely endangering the very existence of Christians in the Middle East . This was the view expressed by the Patriarch of the Chaldean Church , Emmanuel III Delly, the day after the murder of the Iraqi Syrian-Orthodox priest, Paulos Eskandar.
Delly called for reflection on the forced exodus of many Christians because of persecution and the international communitys indifference. There is the danger that the Middle East, the blessed land of God , will be emptied of its Christian presence, he said. Already 80% have gone away, he continued, appealing for immediate aid to protect this minority suffering because of the fratricidal war that has afflicted the country for many years. Their departure is a big loss not only for Iraq but for the cause of humankind, and it will have serious consequences for Muslims too. Therefore, let us defend the Christian presence in Iraq despite the high price demanded of them by enemies of tolerance, forgiveness and welcome.
Emmanuel III Delly, Patriarch of the Chaldean Church for more than two years, pointed to the need to keep the flame of the Christian presence burning in the land of Abraham , exhorting Christians not to abandon the fertile land of Iraq . Delly recalled the commitment of the Holy See, which did not leave a single stone unturned in its efforts for a pacific Christian presence, with several missions undertaken by papal envoys since the start of the war.
In Dellys words, there is continual violence in todays Iraq , which does not spare civilians, women and children, and which is destroying the land and innocent men. This makes the recently murdered priest, Fr Paulos Eskandar, all the more worthy of admiration as he refused to leave his flock despite all the threats he received. He showed the strength of his faith in Christ, Lord of History, also refusing to deny his faith. By his example, Christians may learn to forgive and to persevere despite threats and challenges.