ASIA/LEBANON - Syrian Orthodox Church: international protection for Christians in the Nineveh Plain is needed

Thursday, 13 November 2014

Beirut (Agenzia Fides) - The international community must take charge of the return and protection of Christians in the Nineveh Plain, the area of northern Iraq where many cities have suffered the predominantly Christian ethnic-religious cleansing carried out by the jihadists of the Islamic State. This is what the Bishops of the Syrian Orthodox Church said on 11 and 12 November in a synodal assembly in Lebanon, under the chairmanship of Patriarch Mar Ignatius Aphrem II. During their meeting, held at the monastery of Mar Gabriel in Ajaltoun, 24 km north of Beirut, the Syrian Orthodox Bishops also assessed the ability to create an ad hoc Commission of lay people and clergy, responsible for collecting concrete information on the fate of the two Bishops of Aleppo - the Syrian Orthodox Mar Gregorios Yohanna Ibrahim and the Greek-Orthodox Boulos al-Yazigi - kidnapped in April 2013, in the hope of reaching their liberation.
In the final declaration issued at the end of the Synod, sent to Fides, it is reported that the Commission is allowed to move and make contacts in all directions, both at a regional and international level, to break the deadlock and seek solutions for the case of the two Bishops abducted.
During the synodal assembly what was also discussed was the calendar of events to commemorate the centenary of the so-called Assyrian Genocide, which indicates the deportations and massacres of which Christian Assyrians, Syriacs and Chaldeans were victims, carried out by the young Turks in 1915-1916. Regarding the confusing political situation in Lebanon, the Syrian Orthodox Bishops have called the political parties to urgently elect a new President as soon as possible and to approve a new electoral law, to prevent the current political and institutional paralysis to plunge the Country in chaos. (GV) (Agenzia Fides 13/11/2014)