ACN News: Friday 1st December 2017
“Please be our voice to your policy-makers and media!” A call from the Patriarch of the Syriac Catholics to European NGOs
By Marcela Szymanski
His Beatitude Ignatius Younan III, Patriarch of the Syriac Catholics worldwide, addressed a group of 30 representatives of European NGOs gathered to hear about the situation of Christians in Syria and Iraq after the departure of Daesh (IS).
Having closely followed the EU policy toward Syria, he expressed hope to soon see an end to the sanctions causing such suffering to the Syrian citizens who at the moment completely depend on Catholic charitable organizations for their every need.
In the meeting co-hosted by the Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need and the Commission of European Bishops’ Conferences (COMECE), Patriarch Younan asked the participants, all witnesses to close to six years of war in Syria, to help his people “to be free of the three “Ps”: paternalism, pandering and profiteering” as he believes Syriac Catholics have been victimized for a long time by external forces. “We have been a loyal community serving the country where we were born, fully endowed citizens. We are the indigenous population”, said His Beatitude, “but because we do not have our own militias or territorial ambitions everyone thinks we agree with everything or we are easy to overrun. For us it is a matter of survival. If it was not for the Church organizations such as Aid to the Church in Need we would be about to disappear”.
(Brussels, Friday 24 November 2017. Centre: His Beatitude Ignatius Younan III, Patriarch of the Syriac Catholics worldwide addressed a group of NGOs and EU staff during his visit to Brussels.
To his right: Syriac Catholic Archbishop of Aleppo, Msgr Antoine Chahda and to his left: Brother Olivier Poquillon, secretary general of COMECE © Aid to the Church in Need)
Patriarch Younan was accompanied by Archbishop Antoine Chahda of Aleppo, who described the situation in the city these days. “No more missiles, and it is quiet, but that does not mean the war is over. I mean that the signs of the destruction of the entire life of Aleppo are visible and painful, such as the empty factories where the rebels and their supporters stole all the machinery. We need the industrial leaders to come back and produce, to give a solid base to the reconstruction”.
Both Church leaders insisted for an end to the economic sanctions, and asked the help of the NGOs present to remind the EU authorities that the high-level politicians do not suffer the consequences, but the thousands of orphans and widows that this war has left do.
Directly under the Holy See, Aid to the Church in Need supports the faithful wherever they are persecuted, oppressed or in pastoral need. ACN is a Catholic charity – helping to bring Christ to the world through prayer, information and action.
The charity undertakes thousands of projects every year including providing transport for clergy and lay Church workers, construction of church buildings, funding for priests and nuns and help to train seminarians. Since the initiative’s launch in 1979, Aid to the Church in Need’s Child’s Bible – God Speaks to his Children has been translated into 172 languages and 50 million copies have been distributed all over the world.
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