Christians living in Syria remain threatened by the extremism and insecurity that has swept across the Middle Eastern country since the beginning of the civil war. Many Christians remain anxious in the wake of last month’s kidnapping of two Christian bishops. The whereabouts of these two bishops is still unknown and the people responsible for the disappearances have yet to come forward. Will Christianity in Syria survive the country’s civil war?
5/23/2013 Syria (Christian Post) – Syriac Catholic Bishop Gregoire Melki said the current situation in Syria is very sad and has left people very anxious, and fears the same thing that happened to Christians in Iraq will happen to Christians in Syria.
“Growing extremism in Syria could jeopardize the safety of all Christians,” Melki told the Assyrian International News Agency. “Those who can, escape … For more than two years there has not been a solution (to the violence) we have to pray.”
Though the situation in Syria is grim for all, it is even worse for minorities, such as Christians.
“It is always the minority which is attacked first,” Bishop Melki noted, adding that he hoped this would not mark the beginning of the end of Syria’s Christian community.
“The church in Syria continues to be a victim of the total chaos and war,” Bishop Melki said to a large crowd during the 10th prayer service for reconciliation, unity and peace at the Syriac Catholic Church, attended by the heads of Christian churches in Israel.
Church leaders in attendance participated in the special Syriac blessing of the water ceremony recited over small bottles of water, later distributed to the worshippers, AINA reported.
“We pray fervently day and night for (Christian) unity and peace, especially in Syria, and for the two bishops who have been kidnapped and their release and for others kidnapped elsewhere in the Middle East,” Bishop Melki said to the audience.
Syriac Orthodox Bishop Swerios Malki Murad of Jerusalem also helped lead the prayer service.
“We, both bishops, and all churches here in Jerusalem, are concerned about the civil war in Syria and the terrible impact it is having on the population and also of course on the Christians,” Bishop Melki said.
While the congregation prayed for peace, two members held up a large banner displaying a picture of the two Aleppo archbishops, kidnapped by unknown assailants on April 22.