Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Deacon Keith Fournier

11/5/2013 (8 months 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 (8 months 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 July 2014
Sports:
That sports may always be occasions of human fraternity and growth.
Lay Missionaries: That the Holy Spirit may support the work of the laity who proclaim the Gospel in the poorest countries.



Comments


More Middle East

'I will not let another Holocaust happen!' Sign the petition in support of Iraqi Christians forced to flee from persecution Watch

Image of Christians in Mosul embrace one another as they are forced to leave absolutely everything behind at gunpoint.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The plight of Iraq's Christians has now lasted longer than a decade, and recent militant uprisings in Mosul threaten to expunge the neighboring Chaldean-Assyrian-Syriac villages. Iraqi Christians have fled Mosul in droves, but some remain behind, awaiting their ... continue reading


WARNING VERY GRAPHIC UNCENSORED CONTENT: Islamic State terrorists from Australia pose with the severed heads of their captives - CHRISTIANS ARE NEXT Watch

Image of Mohamed Elomar poses with a pair of his victim's heads, taking delight in the slaughter of fellow Muslims.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

In a gruesome series of images, an Islamic State terrorist is tweeting images of a friend posing with the severed heads of decapitated victims. Terrorist, Mohamed Elomar who was born in Australia and traveled to Syria to join the Islamic State is clearly having a good ... continue reading


ISIS denies claims that they will enforce mandatory female genital mutilation Watch

Image of Stories of intended FGM in Iraq have been circulating in the local media for the past few days.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

They've seized Iraqi towns, blown up shrines and have threatened the nation's Christian minority - but ISIS is now hotly denying that they intend to enforce mandatory female genital mutilation. As claimed by a senior United Nations humanitarian official this ... continue reading


BLOWN TO BITS: Video surfaces of Jonah's tomb being destroyed Watch

Image of Militants belonging to the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, are said to have planted explosives around the tomb and detonated the explosion remotely.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

It's horrific footage, and many pray that it was faked - but knowing of the ruthlessness of the people involved, it probably wasn't. Jonah's tomb, a holy shrine in Mosul, Iraq is depicted being blown to bits. The demolition of this shrine occurred in seconds. ... continue reading


FIERY STATEMENT: Jihadi cleric threatens Egyptian president Watch

Image of

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The war of words after Israel's incursion into Gaza is heating up. Jihadi cleric Abu hareth Al-Maqdisi threatening Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, vowing that his time is coming soon. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - "You won't sit for long in your ... continue reading


LIPS BURNT WITH CIGARETTE: Iranian Christian punished for not observing Ramadan Watch

Image of Muslims are required to not eat or drink between sunrise and sunset during Ramadan.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

For eating during the daylight hours during the holy month of Ramadan, an Iranian Christian man had his lips burned with a cigarette. This monstrous sentence was carried out in full view of the public in the city of Kermanshah. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) ... continue reading


Islamic State now aggressively pursuing Christians in Nineveh Plain Watch

Image of There are very real concerns about the possible genocide of Christians in the region. Christians in the country cannot wait for help from the international community.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

There is no rest for the wicked - or for those fleeing with their lives, it appears. Islamic State militants have now launched a mortar attack against the village of Tilkif in an attempt to break into one of the towns in the Nineveh Plain, where families driven ... continue reading


ISLAMIC STATE PREPARES CHRISTIAN HOLOCAUST Watch

Image of Iraqi Christians are being forced to flee Mosul or be put to death. It's the start of a campaign of genocide. Leave with nothing or die.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Imagine you've been given a choice, and just days to make it. You must either change your religion, agree to pay thousands of dollars each year in punishing taxes, or you must leave your home with just the clothes on your back. No suitcases, no possessions. If you ... continue reading


Christian Monks expelled from Iraqi monastery as ISIS Islamists fighters ruthlessly sieze it Watch

Image of An image made available by the jihadist Twitter account Al-Baraka news on June 11, 2014 allegedly shows militants of the jihadist group Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) waving the Islamic Jihad flag and holding up their weapons as a vehicle drives on a newly cut road through the Syrian-Iraqi border between the Iraqi Nineveh province and the Syrian town of Al-Hasakah.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Saint Behnam, a fourth-century monastery run by the Syriac Catholic church near the predominantly Christian town of Qaraqosh in Iraq has been overrun by jihadists. Members of the Islamic State expelled the monks from the monastery this past weekend, sources ... continue reading


THINGS TO COME? ISIS stones Syrian woman to death over 'adultery charges' Watch

Image of Many fear that the recent stoning incident proves that ISIS will impose a brutal regime over the areas they seize.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Al-Qaeda-breakaway group, the Islamic State, has now stoned a woman to death for adultery in Syria. It was the first such execution carried out in the region, and depicts the stranglehold this radical group now has over the region of northern Syria. LOS ... 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, Sirach 44:1, 10-15
1 Next let us praise illustrious men, our ancestors ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 132:11, 13-14, 17-18
11 Yahweh has sworn to David, and will always remain ... Read More

Gospel, Matthew 13:16-17
16 'But blessed are your eyes because they see, your ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for July 26th, 2014 Image

Sts. Joachim and Anne
July 26: By tradition Joachim and Anne are considered to be the names of ... 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