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'


Copywriter 2015 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for May 2015
Universal:
That, rejecting the culture of indifference, we may care for our neighbours who suffer, especially the sick and the poor.
Evangelization: That Mary's intercession may help Christians in secularized cultures be ready to proclaim Jesus.


Rosaries, Crosses, Prayer Cards and more... by Catholic Shopping .com


Comments


More Middle East

Catacombs becomes popular as graveyard space in Jerusalem grows scarce Watch

Image of The first phase of construction includes 22,000 crypts, arranged floor to ceiling in three tiers.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Many of the Jewish faith yearn to be interred in the Holy Land. Jerusalem, however, is running out of graveyard space. To meet this growing demand, plans are in the works for a new, massive necropolis - located deep underground. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic ... continue reading


Islamic State seizes control of Palmyra Watch

Image of The capture of the ancient Syrian city of Palmyra, one monitoring group said, now gives ISIS control of half the country.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Islamic State extremists have seized full control of the ancient Syrian town of Palmyra. Syrian Government defense lines collapsed there earlier this week. It is not yet known how close to the famed archaeological site the extremists advanced, activists said. ... continue reading


Extreme female terrorist 'White Widow' commands army of 200 female jihadist spies Watch

Image of

By Hannah Raissa Marfil (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The so-called "White Widow" is now reported as commanding an army of around 200 female jihadists who pose as normal citizens and workers, like shop owners and hotel receptionists, and gather classified information for the leaders of the Al-Shabaab, according to ... continue reading


Islamic State captures World Heritage site despite Kurdish offensive Watch

Image of Islamic State fighters continue to make gains both in Iraq and Syria, despite efforts from Kurdish forces as well as government and militia units.

By Matt Waterson (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

While the Islamic State's recent capture of Mosul in Iraq has been making the news, it's there current conquests in Syria that are more worrying to several international historical groups. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Islamic State fighters recently seized ... continue reading


Saudi Arabia beheading rate increases, new executioners recruited Watch

Image of

By Nikky Andres (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

In Saudi Arabia, death sentences are usually performed by beheading. Now, Saudi Arabia is recruiting eight new executioners to carry out the rising number of death sentences. MUNTINLUPA, PHILIPPINES (Catholic Online) - Saudi Arabia has begun advertising for new ... continue reading


Killing of Abu Sayyaf by U.S. prompts cries of revenge by Islamic State supporters Watch

Image of Senior leader Abu Sayyaf was responsible for directing many of the group's military activities.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A U.S. military strike deep in Islamic State territory took out senior leader Abu Sayyaf, captured his wife and freed a Yazidi woman they had kept as their slave. Supporters of the extremist organization are calling for revenge. Taking place near the eastern ... continue reading


Will archaeological marvel of Palmyra be destroyed by ISIS? Watch

Image of Will the ancient city of Palmyra fall prey to Islamic State's march against antiquity?

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The ancient city of Palmyra, which has stood for 2,000 years, now faces being reduced to rubble at the hands of the Islamic State. There are fears that the Syrian World Heritage Site could face destruction of the kind the jihadists have wreaked in Iraq. LOS ... continue reading


Islamic State distributes sinister e-book on how to build bombs, avoid detection in the U.S. Watch

Image of Analyzed by the Middle East Media Research Institute, or MEMRI, a chapter on homemade bomb making provides tips on how to assemble cell phone detonators and other types of secret explosives.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The Islamic State is distributing a sinister new e-book online, entitled  "How to Survive in the West." The e-book, widely available wherever there is an online connection, advises would-be terrorists how to blend in with western society. The e-book offers ... continue reading


Can ISIS defeat the United States? Key Iraqi city of Ramadi falls to Islamic State Watch

Image of The roads to Baghdad, 80 miles to the east, now seem especially vulnerable to the militant advance.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Ramadi, the capital of Anbar province in Iraq fell to Islamic State militants. Hundreds of police personnel, soldiers and tribal fighters have since fled the city. The fall of Ramadi is a momentous victory for the Islamic State. Iraq's U.S.-backed government ... continue reading


ISIS uses horrific torture punishment on mothers caught breastfeeding in public Watch

Image of

By Abigail James (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

ISIS enlisted females to patrol the streets; they are known as the Al-Khansa brigade. These notorious females  walk around towns, in Syria and Iraq, enforcing the sharia laws regarding women's appearance. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Showing too much skin, ... 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, Acts 25:13-21
13 Some days later King Agrippa and Bernice arrived ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 103:1-2, 11-12, 19-20
1 [Of David] Bless Yahweh, my soul, from the depths ... Read More

Gospel, John 21:15-19
15 When they had eaten, Jesus said to Simon Peter, ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for May 22nd, 2015 Image

St. Rita
May 22: St. Rita was born at Spoleto, Italy in 1381. At an early age, ... 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