Article from Vatican Insider a news blog of La Stampa the Italian daily newspaper
The Armenian Catholic Archbishop of Aleppo, Boutros Maryayati has said that if there is another ceasefire in Syria all Christians will think about is fleeing.
“Christians have not received one reassuring sign from the various groups that make up the rebel militia or from Islamist fundamentalists. So if there is a ceasefire, all Christians will think about doing is fleeing.” This is how the Armenian Catholic Archbishop of Aleppo, Boutros Maryayati described the prevailing fears and sentiment among the Christians of Aleppo, the northern Syrian city which has been isolated for months as anti-Assad forces have been holding the city under siege.
According to Marayati, the attack on the town of Maalula is also symbolic. And the question is, why didn’t they carry out the attack before?” The prospect of a U.S. – led military attack “gave everyone further reasons to be afraid. Think what may happen if a missile hits a warehouse with chemical weapons… This idea now seems to have been scrapped but everything still appears bleak: this war has destroyed Syria not just its buildings but the hearts of its people. There is no longer any hope of bringing back the peaceful co-existence that existed before.”
Remembering the late Sr. Rima
Sister Rima Nasri, 40, from Aleppo, was a member of the Teaching Sisters of St Dorothy of the Sacred Hearts. Together with an Italian-born fellow sister, she was involved in the local youth mission, running a female boarding school near Aleppo University. On the 15th of January while on her way back from pastoral work in the community she stopped to chat to the gardener of the nearby Carmelite convent, which is also not far from the University, while speaking with the gardener they were both hit by a wall of fire as massif bomb blasts went off at the nearby university. When the Gardner regained consciousness he saw nothing but rubble around him. Sr. Rima’s body was found two days later amidst the ruins. In total 87 people at the university lost their lives with many more wounded. An al-Qaeda extremist group claimed responsibility for the attack.
Aleppo’s Churches joined Francis in his prayer vigil for peace, holding their own vigils on Friday 6 September, a day before the Pope’s. Those who could, watched the international vigil in St. Peter’s Square on 7 September and many heard the powerful words pronounced by the Bishop of Rome at the Sunday Angelus, when he spoke of “commercial wars” fomented by arms trafficking. “The Pope spoke out loud and clear and said what he had to say,” Marayati remarked. “But those who hold the fate of the war in the palms of their hands prefer not to listen. The general feeling is that we are involved in a game that is bigger than any one of us. We walk in the shadows. We have no idea how all this will end. And we continue to pray.” Original article here
Above image top left and top right: Metropolitan Yohanna Ibrahim, Syriac Orthodox Archbishop of Aleppo, and Metropolitan Paul Yazigi, Antiochian Orthodox Archbishop of Aleppo both of whom were kidnapped when the car they were travelling in was stopped by terrorist rebels in northern Aleppo province close to the Turkish border on 22nd of April last. The driver of the car, Deacon Fathallah Kabud was killed by the terrorists during the course of the kidnapping. The whereabouts of the archbishops remains unknown.
Above image lower left and lower right: Fr. Michael Kayal, Armenian Catholic Church and Fr. Maher Isaac Mahfouz, Antiochian Orthodox Church both of whom were kidnapped when the bus they were travelling on near Aleppo was stopped by terrorist rebels on 9th of February last. The whereabouts of the priests remains unknown.
There is much speculation as to whether the clergy have been killed or are still held in captivity. Many within the church both in Syria and the wider region have questioned the Western media’s relative silence with regard to these and so many other crimes committed by Western backed rebels.