Syrian Archbishop: “We expect Christians in the West to help us. They do not”
ICC Note: The Archbishop of Aleppo, Jean-Clement Jeanbart, has spent the last four plus years trying to help his congregation, along with all the residents of Aleppo, survive. For Christians they are facing incredible hardships living in a warzone where they face dangers from any side. In this context, Jeanbart has shared how the Syrian Christian community has been hoping for aid from their brothers and sisters in the West, but far too little is actually arriving.
05/04/2015 Syria (RNS) Archbishop Jean-Clement Jeanbart of Aleppo is returning to the front line of the real war on Christians, which he calls home — that is, Aleppo in war-torn Syria, where his ancient church faces the threat of extinction.
I wrote here about Jeanbart, who was in the U.S. last week in an effort to raise awareness about the plight of Christians in Syria — they include his Eastern-rite Melkite Catholics as well or Eastern Orthodox and other churches — and to raise money for their survival.
The archbishop is a remarkable figure, facing the personal danger while trying to protect an entire community and tradition and way of life. He had controversial things to say (at least in the U.S. political context) about supporting Syrian president Assad; when faced with ISIS as the alternative, you understand his “devil-you-know” choice.
But Assad may be at risk of falling. Americans are not likely to shed a tear for him, and many have been pushing the administration to aid the Islamist rebels, who could wind up slaughtering what’s left of the Christians in Aleppo and elsewhere.
And American Christians know so little about their fellow believers in the region, or even that such Christians exist, that Middle East church leaders like Jeanbart face an uphill battle:
“We expect Christians in the West to help us. They do not,” as Jeanbart told Cardinal Timothy Dolan during the New York archbishop’s weekly radio show.