Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Deacon Keith Fournier

11/5/2013 (1 year ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Sadad is a small town of 15,000 people, mostly Syriac Orthodox Christians, located 160 km north of Damascus. It has 14 churches and a monastery with four priests.

We have shouted to the world but no one has listened to us. Where is the Christian conscience? Where is human consciousness? Where are my brothers? I think of all those who are suffering today in mourning and discomfort: We ask everyone to pray for us. (Archbishop Selwanos Boutros Alnemeh)

Sadad is a small town of 15,000 people, mostly Syriac Orthodox Christians, located 160 km north of Damascus. It has 14 churches and a monastery with four priests. This depicts one of the bombed out churches.

Sadad is a small town of 15,000 people, mostly Syriac Orthodox Christians, located 160 km north of Damascus. It has 14 churches and a monastery with four priests. This depicts one of the bombed out churches.

Highlights

By Deacon Keith Fournier

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

11/5/2013 (1 year ago)

Published in Middle East

Keywords: Sadad, Syria, Jihadists, Orthodox Christians, massacre, Archbishop Selwanos Boutros Alnemeh, persecution, Muslim, Syriac Christians, Deacon Keith Fournier


SADAD, Syria (Catholic Online) - We have regularly covered the plight of Christians in Syria and will continue to do so. That is because they are our brothers and sisters. We are called to "bear one another's burdens and fulfill the law of Christ." (Gal. 6:2) As we evaluate the various conflicts in the Middle East it is vitally important to be informed by news sources which paint the full picture of what is happening. 

Christians preceded Muslims in calling Syria their home. They must not be forced to leave this ancient and holy land. We are living in a new missionary age and there is a growing persecution of the Church on a global scale. It has different faces. Whether in the West, where the memory of Christian influence fades under increasing persecution inflicted by rabid secularism and godless materialism and nihilism, or in the East, which bleeds under the overt persecution from Jihadists, the challenge we face grows daily and cries out for prayer, solidarity and action. 

It is important for us to remember that Christians in Syria were there long before the Muslims. We have a two thousand year history in the Middle East. Syria was the home of many monks, mystics and missionaries of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Some of the most beautiful of the Patristic writings were penned by Syrian Saints and the Liturgy and hymnody of the early Church was enriched by the worship of those same wonderful saints. Now, our brethren are shedding their blood because they profess the Christian faith. We Must Not Remain Silent!

Christians in Syria now make up less than 10% of the population. They are suffering intense, ongoing and fierce persecution. A 2012 report in the British newspaper, The Independent entitled, The plight of Syria's Christians gives a very different assessment than we what too often read in the news in the United States. The situation facing Christians in Syria grows more urgent daily.

The reporter, Kim Sengupta, interviewed the Haddads, a Christian family which was then fleeing Homs:

We left because they were trying to kill us," said 18-year-old Noura Haddad. She is now staying with relations in the town of Zahle in the Bekaa Valley: "They wanted to kill us because we were Christians. They were calling us Kaffirs, even little children saying these things. Those who were our neighbors turned against us. At the end, when we ran away, we went through balconies. We did not even dare go out on the street in front of our house. I've kept in touch with the few Christian friends left back home, but I cannot speak to my Muslim friends any more. I feel very sorry about that."

Melkite Catholic Archbishop Archbishop Issam John Darwish told the Independent that the increase of violence against Christians is the work of Jihadists. He stated, "I have raised this with officials in the West, they must bring peace. The jihadis will not stop here, the war will spread to Europe. What will England be like in ten or 15 years?"

In October of 2012, the body of a beloved Greek Orthodox priest, Fr Fadi Haddad, 43, was found along the side of a road. He had been mutilated. His eyes were gouged out. A young mother and close family friend told Aid to the Church in Need:

My family and friends very much feel under threat. People from the area have said that extremists have gone through the streets shouting 'Alawites to the grave, Christians to Beirut'. They want to kick us out. They say that if Christians refuse to leave they will end up in the grave like the Alawites. (a Shia sect)

Nobody seems to care what is happening to us Christians in Syria. The government we had in the past was bad but at least we were safe. At least we could walk the streets. You'd never think you might be bombed by extremists. Not anymore. Now it's very scary. Now they are bombing churches. Look at what has happened to our churches in places like Aleppo and Homs. The extremists threaten us Christians when we want to celebrate major feasts like Christmas and Easter. They don't want us in the area at all.

Greek Orthodox Patriarch Ignatius IV Hazim presided over Fr Haddad's funeral Liturgy. He had ordained him to the Holy Priesthood in 1995. He called the slain priest a "martyr of reconciliation and harmony". He added: "We strongly condemn this brutal and barbaric act against civilians, the innocent and the men of God who strive to be apostles of peace." A bomb went off during Fr. Haddad's funeral. 

The News Service of the Pontifical Mission Society, Agenzia Fides, is one of the most reliable and consistent sources of news on the horrible, ongoing, intensifying persecution of Christians in Syria. On October 31, 2013, they published a report of a recent massacre of 45 Christians by Islamist militias. It is set forth below:

*****

"What happened in Sadad is the most serious and biggest massacre of Christians in Syria in the past two years and a half": this was stressed by Archbishop Selwanos Boutros Alnemeh, Syriac Orthodox Metropolitan of Homs and Hama, in illustrating to Fides the tragic death toll in the Christian town of Sadad, invaded by Islamist militias a week ago and then re-conquered by the Syrian army.

"45 innocent civilians were martyred for no reason, and among them several women and children, many thrown into mass graves. Other civilians were threatened and terrorized. 30 were wounded and 10 are still missing. For one week, 1,500 families were held as hostages and human shields.

Among them children, the elderly, the young, men and women. Some of them fled on foot travelling 8 km. from Sadad to Al-Hafer to find refuge. About 2,500 families fled from Sadad, taking only their clothes, due to the irruption of armed groups and today they are refugees scattered between Damascus, Homs, Fayrouza, Zaydal, Maskane, and Al-Fhayle".

The archbishop continued: "There is no electricity, water and telephone in the city. All the houses of Sadad were robbed and property looted. The churches are damaged and desecrated, deprived of old books and precious furniture. Schools, government buildings, municipal buildings have been destroyed, along with the post office, the hospital and the clinic".

"What happened in Sadad - he says - is the largest massacre of Christians in Syria and the second in the Middle East, after the one in the Church of Our Lady of Salvation in Iraq, in 2010".

Archbishop Selwanos Boutros Alnemeh concluded: "We have shouted aid to the world but no one has listened to us. Where is the Christian conscience? Where is human consciousness? Where are my brothers? I think of all those who are suffering today in mourning and discomfort: We ask everyone to pray for us".

Sadad is a small town of 15,000 people, mostly Syriac Orthodox Christians, located 160 km north of Damascus. It has 14 churches and a monastery with four priests.

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


© 2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for December 2014
Christmas, hope for humanity:
That the birth of the Redeemer may bring peace and hope to all people of good will.
Parents: That parents may be true evangelizers, passing on to their children the precious gift of faith.



Comments


More Middle East

Hundreds rescued as Kurdish forces punch through Islamic State siege Watch

Image of Kurdish Peshmerga forces have fought through an Islamic State siege which held hundreds of Yazidi minorities trapped on Mount Sinjar.

By Matt Waterson (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

In the ongoing war with the Islamic State, Kurdish Peshmerga forces have reported a victory in northern Iraq. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The Kurdish military says it has recaptured territory near the Sinjar Mountain, the site of the dramatic airdrops that ... continue reading


Islam is the religion of peace? You'll reconsider when you read the laws of true Islam Watch

Image of A crucifixion in the Islamic State.

By Robert Spencer, Jihad Watch

How refreshing it would be if some of the people, Muslim or non-Muslim, who insist that the Islamic State is not Islamic would show how this penal code is contrary to Islam and Sharia. But they will not do so, because they can't. "Islamic State (ISIS) Publishes Penal ... continue reading


In the wake of the Taliban's brutal attack in Pakistan, Christians come together in show of support and solidarity Watch

Image of 132 school children were killed by Taliban gunmen when they attacked an army school in Peshawar province.

By Matt Waterson (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Following the abominable and devastating attack on a Pakistani school by Islamic gunmen, the National Commission for Justice and Peace (NCJP) of the Catholic Church has condemned the massacre. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Taliban jihadists attacked an ... continue reading


U.S. GROUND FORCES ENGAGE ISIS - No U.S. casualties reported Watch

Image of U.S. troops firing a 60mm mortar.

By Marshall Connolly, Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

U.S. ground forces have finally clashed with the Islamic State in Iraq and defeated them handily, aided by F-18 fighter jets. The clash took place Sunday following an attack on an Iraqi airbase where American troops were stationed. Several enemy fighters were killed, ... continue reading


SOLD! In a unprecedented move of barbarity, the Islamic State authorizes rape of underage girls Watch

Image of Women captured by the Islamic State are put onto the slave market where they serve as a source of income for the state and as wives for fighters.

By Matt Waterson (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The Islamic State has released a new pamphlet that gives instructions on the taking of sex slaves, selling or giving them, and having sex with prepubescent girls, and has circulated the pamphlet among fighters in occupied Iraq. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - ... continue reading


Islamist State releases video that shows drone's eye-view of Kobane Watch

Image of The footage depicts the Kurdish half of Kobane, in a battle scene that has become a test of the efficacy of the U.S.-led air campaign to defeat ISIS.

By Troy Dredge, Catholic Online

Islamist State jihadists are keeping the propaganda war fresh and stylized: They've just released a video, easily available on YouTube which shows a drone's eye view of the beleaguered Syrian town of Kobane. By inference, they've portrayed the ongoing conflict ... continue reading


A world at war: Islamic State, al-Qaeda, Taliban, Boko Haram, united how much destruction could they cause? Watch

Image of Taliban fighters have waged a war of insurgency in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

By Matt Waterson (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A study from the BBC and the London-based International Center for the Study of Radicalization (ICSR) has revealed that in November alone, over 5,000 people died as a result of Islamic violence, or nearly seven every hour. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - ... continue reading


Islamic State BEHEADS four CHRISTIAN CHILDREN when they refused to renounce Christ and convert to ISLAM Watch

Image of A man breaks down in tears. Millions of men across the Middle East, from Israel and Palestine, to Syria and Iraq, know nothing but sorrow as conflict rages across the region, consuming their children.

By Marshall Connolly, Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Islamic State terrorists have beheaded four children who refused to convert to Islam according to the British Vicar of Baghdad, Canon Andrew White. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - According to Canon Andrew White, Islamic State terrorists have beheaded a man's four ... continue reading


American hostage Luke Somers killed in rescue attempt in Yemen Watch

Image of Luke Somers, who was born in Britain but had American citizenship, was working as a translator for the National Dialogue Conference when he was kidnapped last September.

By Troy Dredge, Catholic Online

A militant jihadist reportedly "relieving himself" spotted U.S. forces in Yemen - who altered his superiors, whereupon American journalist Luke Somers along with South African hostage Pierre Korkie were killed by al-Qaeda operatives. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic ... continue reading


Bad move: Netanyah's re-election plan may lead to political suicide Watch

Image of Israel's prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, may have just committed political suicide by calling for March elections.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A new survey from the Jerusalem Post has found that a large majority of the Israeli population does not want Benjamin Netanyahu to be re-elected as prime minister. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The poll was conducted on December 3, just a day after Netanyahu ... continue reading


All Middle East News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Isaiah 7:10-14
10 Yahweh spoke to Ahaz again and said:11 ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 24:1-2, 3-4, 5-6
1 [Psalm Of David] To Yahweh belong the earth and all ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 1:26-38
26 In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for December 20th, 2014 Image

St. Dominic of Silos
December 20: Benedictine abbot and defender of the faith. Born in Canas, ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter