Giving hope to persecuted Christians since 1995
Select Page

ICC Note:

A bishop from Latakia, Syria is leading mass at four country churches in the US this week, where he will share more information about the plights of Christians in his community and ask for prayer support for his congregants. A number of pastors, including from Latakia, have prayed for a revival long before the Syria War. The war has led to a number of Muslims converting to Christianity, including in Latakia. A number of pastors from Latakia have reported that they are amazed at the church growth. Even so, the church has struggled with survival as the country continues to grapple with violence.

12/12/2016 Syria (Watertown Daily Times)  –  To celebrate the “twin” relationship between his own diocese and the Catholic Diocese of Ogdensburg, a bishop from Latakia, Syria, will lead Mass at four north country churches this week.

Parishioners will be able to meet Bishop Antoine Chbeir following masses in Watertown, Ogdensburg, and Plattsburgh this week.

The twin relationship is meant to help north country Catholics to support Christians in Syria. About 10 percent of Syria’s population is Christian, which includes Maronite Catholics the bishop represents.

Bishop Chbeir’s diocese is based in Latakia, on the Mediterranean coast, and serves 40,000 parishioners. Latakia is about 100 miles southwest of Aleppo, the most hard-hit city in the Syrian Civil War. All Syrians have suffered as a result of the war, and thousands of Christians there have fled the country out of fear of extremist violence.

“We want to support each other with prayer, but we also have tangible needs,” the bishop said. “We need relief, but also education and medical care.”

Much of the area around Latakia is rural, something that Ogdensburg Bishop Terry R. LaValley said first inspired a Brooklyn-based Maronite bishop to connect him with Mr. Chbeir.

Bishop LaValley said that between the horror of the Syrian Civil War he had seen on the evening news, and meeting with Middle Eastern bishops, he felt compelled to help.

“After hearing about all the conflict on the news, you want to do something, but you also feel kind of helpless.”

Bishop Chbeir said he was warmed by Bishop LaValley’s contact with him.

“When someone from so far away wants to meet you, and get to know about you, and your diocese and its needs, you feel you have moral and spiritual support,” he said.

(Full Story)