Pray for Peace in Syria

Like in the days of dirty war in Vietnam, millions of prayers, who belong to different religions, protest against the US plans to start war in Syria. They all join together in pray asking for peace in this country.

On September 7 over 100 thousand people filled St. Peter’s Square for a Syria peace vigil answering Pope Francis’ call for a grassroots to pray for peace. During his speech he issued a heartfelt plea denouncing those who are «captivated by the idols of dominion and power» and destroy God’s creation through war.

The Catholic pontiffs throughout the whole world joined the Pontific, including the Pope’s homeland – Argentina.

People pray in Saint Peter square at the Vatican on September 7, 2013.
People pray in Saint Peter square at the Vatican on September 7, 2013.

Greek Catholic Patriarch Gregorios III Laham of Antioch and All East (Archieparchia Damascena Graecorum Melkitarum) addressed the believers in Damascus saying most countries supported a political solution to the crisis in Syria and few wanted military action. «This is the start of the victory,» he told the Damascus faithful. «No to war. Yes for peace».

On September 7 Ahmad Badr Al-Din Hassoun, the Grand Mufti of Syria, the spiritual Sunni leader known as a staunch supporter of President Bashar Assad, prayed for peace in the Umayyad Mosque, also known as the Great Mosque of Damascus.

The US Orthodox believers have also joined in pray against war. According to Metropolitan Philip Saliba, the Archbishop of New York and Metropolitan of All North America, US strikes against Syria could result in elimination of Christianity in the Middle East. On September 5 Metropolitan Philip called on faithful to contact Congress on Syria vote. He said, «As those of us with deep roots in that land already know more bombs and destabilization of the country will only lead to further bloodshed and devastation». According to him, «The results of such a bombing would be yet another step in the extermination of our Christian presence in the Middle East, a presence that dates to the dawn of Christianity». The Archbishop urged all American Orthodox «to contact their respective senators and congress people to urge them to vote NO to any unilateral military action by the United States».

On September 6 the Antiochian Orthodox Church website published an open letter of Metropolitan Phillip of Syria addressed to the President of the United States. It is devoted to the recent news of the attack on the ancient Christian city of Maaloula in Syria by the rebel forces. The letter says, «This attack by the rebel forces, who are supported by the U.S. government, is an unspeakable act of terror, and speaks volumes to the viciousness of those rebel forces who seek to overthrow the Syrian government»…

Metropolitan Philip of Syria
Metropolitan Philip of Syria

Metropolitan Philip (Saliba Abdallah) was born in 1931 to an Arab Christian family living in Lebanon. He graduated from Orthodox Seminary, near Tripoli, Lebanon and subsequently attended and was graduated from the Orthodox Secondary School in Homs, Syria, and the Assiyeh Orthodox College in Damascus, Syria. In March of 1966 he was nominated as Archbishop of New York and Metropolitan of all North America. His open letter to Obama carries a heavy weight. As is well known, Metropolitan Philip has a keen interest in Middle Eastern affairs and is recognized as an expert in this field. He was a member of the Committee on American Policy in the Near East. He has met with United States Presidents, Eisenhower, Johnson, Ford, Carter and Reagan, as well as with Pope Paul VI and Pope John Paul, II and many other world leaders on behalf of a just and durable peace in the Middle East. At present, he serves as chairman of the Standing Conference of American-Middle Eastern Christian and Moslem Leaders which represents the two million Americans of Arabic heritage… Today the Arab Christian addresses President Barack Obama raising his voice in protest against the «unspeakable act of terror» perpetrated by those whom the administration supports. Will his voice be heard?

The threat of war in Syria gave a powerful impulse to interreligious dialogue.

On September 3-4 in Amman, the Jordan’s capital, Abdullah II ibn Al-Hussein, the king of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan hosted the international interreligious conference to protect persecuted Middle East Christians «The Challenges Facing Arab Christians» organized by Prince Ghazi bin Muhammad, the King’s Chief Advisor for Religious and Cultural Affairs. Theophilus III, Patriarch of the Holy City of Jerusalem and all Palestine, was among the guests joining many other heads and representatives of Middle East and Africa churches and confessions. A Russian Orthodox Church delegation was there too.

World Evangelical Alliance representatives at the conference on Arab Christians in Amman, September 3, 2013. Photo courtesy Dr. Geoff Tunnicliffe
World Evangelical Alliance representatives at the conference on Arab Christians in Amman, September 3, 2013. Photo courtesy Dr. Geoff Tunnicliffe

Addressing the conference, Prince Ghazi bin Muhammad, pronounced the words expressing the position of many Arab countries. He said they could see it from Jordan that in some countries Arab Christians have become targets for attacks. It has happened for the first time in many centuries. The Prince decried the fact telling conference attendees that, «Arab Christians are suffering not only because of the blind and deaf sedition that everyone has suffered from in certain Arab countries since the beginning of what is incorrectly called the Arab Spring, but also merely because they are Christians». He emphasized that this state of affairs was absolutely unacceptable. 

The Russian Orthodox Church delegation was headed by Metropolitan Feodosy of Tambov and Rasskazovo. He said that the ideology of radicalism is spread across the Arab world calling for waging war against Christianity. It became a tragedy for the Christians in the Arab world and the Arab countries themselves… According to him, the Christians, especially those who belong to the common Arab nation, consider Muslim Arabs as their next of kin, or even blood brothers… He said, that the Russian Orthodox Church calls upon national, religious, international public and humanitarian organizations to raise their voices for defense of Arab Christians and do their best to preserve peace and traditional Christian presence in the Middle East.

Source: Strategic Culture Foundation

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