Monday, October 14, 2013

Syrian Christians flee enclave

The story below is from the British Newspaper, The Tablet. The under-reported side of the civil war in Syria is that it is, in large measure, a war of persecution against Christians. The majority of Christians in Syria are members of the Melkite Catholic Church. The Church in Syria has been decimated, with martyrs dying for their refusal to deny Jesus Christ, and many others fleeing. This side of the story is seldom heard.

Syrian Christians flee enclave
13 September 2013

Almost all the Christians living in the ancient Syrian village of Maaloula, which has been under siege by rebels for more than a week, have fled, according to a senior church leader.

The Damascus-based Greek Melkite Patriarch Gregory Laham III told Vatican Radio that witnesses told him that when the rebels moved into Maaloula they threatened some Christians with death unless they converted to Islam.

The Patriarch on Wednesday celebrated funeral Masses for three Greek Catholics who were shot in Maaloula, where Aramaic, the langauge of Christ, is still spoken and studied.

Some Christians who fled wrote to the United States Congress to alert them of the horror of the attack. They said that members of the Islamist Al-Nusra Front, looted "monasteries and churches, removing sacred images as they went on, ordering residents to abandon their religion, to convert to Islam to save their life".

"I saw people wearing Al-Nusra headbands who started shooting at crosses," one resident said to the AFP news agency. One insurgent "put a pistol to the head of my neighbour and forced him to convert to Islam by obliging him to repeat ‘there is no God but [Allah].' Afterwards they joked, ‘He's one of ours now.'"

Septemebr 17, 2013
Rev. Msgr. William J. King

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