Skip to content
Deacon Keith Fournier Hi reader, it seems you use Catholic Online a lot; that's great! It's a little awkward to ask, but we need your help. If you have already donated, we sincerely thank you. We're not salespeople, but we depend on donations averaging $14.76 and fewer than 1% of readers give. If you donate just $5.00, the price of your coffee, Catholic Online School could keep thriving. Thank you. Help Now >

Heartbreaking Lenten letter from Syria describes the 5 main horrors of the Syrian Civil War

Free World Class Education
FREE Catholic Classes

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)
3/2/2017 (2 years ago)
Catholic Online (https://www.catholic.org)

'The children are the most fragile. They have paid a great price for this merciless violence.'

Archbishop Samir Nassar, the Marionite Archbishop of Damascus, wrote a pastoral letter on Ash Monday, the day Lent begins in the Eastern and Oriental Catholic Church.

The Marionite Archbishop of Damascus fights 'this Syria of torments.'

The Marionite Archbishop of Damascus fights 'this Syria of torments.'

Highlights

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)
Catholic Online (https://www.catholic.org)
3/2/2017 (2 years ago)

Published in Middle East

Keywords: Archbishop of Damascus, Lent, message, Syria


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - In the letter, Archbishop Nassar outlined the five main horrors of the Syrian Civil War.

He paints a devastating image of the world he and his fellow Christian minorities live in, and admitted many "have lost hope of finding freedom and are resorting to simple survival."


Here is the Archbishop's letter in full:

A Very Bitter Lent

1) An Apocalyptic Scene

In six years of war the face of Syria has changed quite a lot. It is a huge disaster zone of debris, carbonised buildings, burnt-down houses, ghost neighbourhoods and towns destroyed to the ground. More than twelve millions Syrians, 50% of the population, are lacking a roof.

They form the largest mass of refugees since the Second World War. Several millions have left the country in search of more merciful skies. Many are waiting for mercy in camps of misery, some have drowned attempting to leave, and others are in line at embassies, nomads in search of a welcoming land. How can they leave this Syria of torments?

2) A Shattered Family

The family, which fortifies Church and Nation and has saved the country in the past, is heavily shaken. Seldom is a complete family found. Violence has scattered this basic cell of society. Some family members are in graves, others in exile, in prison or on the battlefield. This painful situation is the cause of depression and anxiety and forces those few left without support to beg.

Young fiancées, separated by this exodus, the immigration of their partner or military mobilisation, cannot marry. Crisis surrounds them. A hope for their future has crumbled. How is it possible to follow course without a family or with a broken family?

3) A Sacrificed Childhood

The children are the most fragile. They have paid a great price for this merciless violence. According to UNESCO, more than three million Syrian children haven't attended school because they have to prioritise their physical wellbeing. Those that have been to school witness the demise of the quality of teaching due to fewer faculty and students in remaining schools. These overwhelming circumstances impose academic failure.

The centres of psychological support cannot overcome the number and depth of wounds and psychic blocks. How do we restore the spirit of these children destroyed by violence and barbaric scenes?

Syrian Refugee Crisis.

Syrian Refugee Crisis (Shireen Hunter).


4) Threatened Parishes

Parishes have seen the number of parishioners diminish and pastoral activities reduced considerably. The priests are deprived of the means to provide human and spiritual support. The Church of Damascus has witnessed the departure of one third of their clergy (27 priests). This is a hard blow weakening the place and role of the Christian minority already in decline.

The priests struggling to remain without any reassurances consider negotiating their eventual departure. They only wait for humanitarian agencies to arrive to assist broken families.

How do we fix this alarming haemorrhage?

Can we imagine a Church without priests?

5) Between Pain and Freedom

The Syrian people are no longer looking for liberty. Their daily combat is finding bread, water, gas and fuel, which are harder and harder to find. Electrical shortages have become more frequent and lengthy. These darken nights and reduce any social life.

The search for lost brothers, parents and friends is a very discrete, anxious and hopeful undertaking.

Finding a little room for shelter in a country in ruins has become an impossible dream for families and even more for young fiancés.

Fighting for liberty or searching for bread, what course should one take?


This little Syrian population lives this reality with pain visible in silent looks and streams of tears.

This bitter Lent of 2017 offers us time in the desert to take a good look at our commitment to the Church in the midst of faithful in distress, to lead the way towards Christ Resurrected. Christ Light of the world who knows the hearts of men and women says: "Come to me, all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest." (Matthew 11:28)

---


'Help Give every Student and Teacher FREE resources for a world-class Moral Catholic Education'


Copyright 2019 - Distributed by THE CALIFORNIA NETWORK


Comments


More Middle East

Bishops in Middle East urge prayer for northern Syria Watch

Image of Smoke rises from the Syrian town of Ras al Ayn during the Turkish offensive against Kurdish groups in northeastern Syria Oct. 17 2019 as seen from Turkey.

Bishops in Syria and Iraq have called for worldwide prayer as fighting between Turkish and Kurdish forces further destabilizes northern ... continue reading


Moroccan king pardons woman who procured abortion, those who participated Watch

Image of Dr. Mohammed Jamal Belkeziz leaves the prison in Sale Oct 16 2019. He was pardoned after being sentenced to two years imprisonment for performing an abortion.

Morocco's king pardoned Wednesday a journalist, her fiance, and the medical team who last month were found guilty of procuring and ... continue reading



Syrian Christians face new threat from Turkey, human rights group warns Watch

Image of

Endangered Christian populations in the Middle East face renewed risks as the United States removes troops from Syria, a leading human ... continue reading


How a Palestinian village sheds light on the drama of Christians in the Holy Land Watch

Image of

Jifna is a Palestinian village in the West Bank, just 5 miles north of Ramallah - the de facto capital of the Palestinian Authority - and ... continue reading


Pompeo meets pope to discuss religious freedom, Middle East Christians Watch

Image of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo

Pope Francis met with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to discuss the preservation of Christian communities in the Middle East and the ... continue reading


Never Miss any Updates!

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

FREE Catholic Classes Pick a class, you can learn anything

Catholic Online Logo

Copyright 2019 Catholic Online. All materials contained on this site, whether written, audible or visual are the exclusive property of Catholic Online and are protected under U.S. and International copyright laws, © Copyright 2019 Catholic Online. Any unauthorized use, without prior written consent of Catholic Online is strictly forbidden and prohibited.

Catholic Online is a Project of Your Catholic Voice Foundation, a Not-for-Profit Corporation. Your Catholic Voice Foundation has been granted a recognition of tax exemption under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Federal Tax Identification Number: 81-0596847. Your gift is tax-deductible as allowed by law.