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ICC Note: As Christians across Syria face incredible risks in the midst of a violent civil war that not only is tearing the country apart, but is also specifically targeting religious minorities, many are looking to flee. Church leaders are calling for Christians, especially young people, to choose to stay, but much must be done to stem the “tsunami of emigration.”

09/02/2015 Syria (Catholic Herald) ‘Tsunami’ of emigration threatens the future of the Church there
One of Syria’s most senior Catholic leaders has issued an impassioned plea to young people, begging them to stay, describing it as a “tsunami”.

Melkite Greek Catholic Patriarch Gregorios III said the exodus, “an almost communal wave of youth emigration”, raised questions about the future of the Church in Syria.

In an open letter, a copy of which was sent to Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need, the patriarch said: “The almost communal wave of youth emigration, especially in Syria, but also in Lebanon and Iraq breaks my heart, wounding me deeply and dealing me a deadly blow.

“Given this tsunami of emigration… what future is left for the Church? What will become of our homeland? What will become of our parishes and institutions?”

Recognising the many problems of life in Syria today, the Patriarch said he wanted to “implore” young people to remain.

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