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الرئيسية > أنباء البطريركية > His Holiness Participates in the Meeting of the Patriarchs and Head of Churches in the East in Bkerkeh to Discuss the Situation of the Christians in the East
His Holiness Participates in the Meeting of the Patriarchs and Head of Churches in the East in Bkerkeh to Discuss the Situation of the Christians in the East
On August 27, 2014, His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II participated in the meeting of the patriarchs and head of churches in the East in the Maronite patriarchal headquarters in Bkerkeh. The meeting was held following the visit of a delegation of patriarchs to the region of Kurdistan to investigate the conditions of the displaced Christians from Mosul and the Nineveh Plains. The purpose of the meeting is to discuss the events that affect Christians in the Middle East.

His Beatitude Cardinal Mar Bechara Boutros Al-Rai, Maronite Patriarch of Antioch and All the East, called for this meeting. Their Beatitudes: Catholicos Aram I Kishishian, Armenian Orthodox Catholicos of the Great House of Cilicia, Mor Ignatius Youssef III Younan, Syrian Catholic Patriarch of Antioch and All the East, John X, Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch and All the East, represented by their Eminences Archbishops Baselius Mansour and Aphrem Kyriakos, Gregorius III Lahham, Greek Catholic Patriarch of Antioch and All the East, Alexandria and Jerusalem, Nerses Bedros XIX, Armenian Catholic Patriarch, Mar Rafael Louis Sako, Chaldean Patriarch of Babylon, and Rev. Dr. Selim Sahyouni, Head of the Evangelical Church in Syria and Lebanon, participated in the meeting.

The patriarchs and head of churches opened their meeting with a prayer asking for peace for this troubled region, especially Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, the Holy Lands and Egypt. Discussions were then held about the future of Christians in the Middle East following the visit of a delegation of patriarchs to the region of Kurdistan and closely observing the needs of displaced Christians and the conditions they are living in.

After their closed meeting, the patriarchs and heads of churches met with the Apostolic Nuncio in Lebanon Mgr. Gabrielle Caccia, the representative of the UN Secretary-General Mr. Derek Plumbly, and the ambassadors of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council: David Hill (USA), Alexander Zaspikin (Russia), Tom Fletcher (UK), and the chargé d’affaires of the French Embassy Jerome Kochar, and the chargé d’affaires of the Chinese Embassy Han Jing.
At the end of the meetings, the patriarchs and head of churches issued a statement that condemned the violence acts against Christians in the Islamic and Arab world, especially in Iraq and Syria. They demanded to stop all support of the fanatic movements and to protect Christians and secure their continuous existence in the Middle East. The statement included demands and recommendations which reflect to the international public opinion and mass media the concerns and demands of Christians in the Middle East who are suffering from all sorts of killing and injustice.

The patriarchs and heads of churches also demanded the international community to “work seriously … to find shelters for Christians, to help them enter schools and universities, to give back their houses and possessions, preserve their rights and secure fair and just treatment for them as citizens”. This could be done through the cooperation between the Iraq government and the Regional Government of Kurdistan by liberating the villages of the Nineveh Plains from the control of the Islamic State (ISIS) and by allowing the return of the displaced to their homes with international and local protections.
They feel sorrow for the terroristic acts and invite the Islamic authorities to issue a Fatwa that forbids expiation of others and aggressing Christians and Christian properties. They demanded the United Nations, the Security Council and the International Criminal Court to stop these organizations and exert pressure on those who support them and finance them.

They have emphasized that the Christians will remain “attached to their homeland, their national belonging and their freedom as citizens of their countries. They are committed to Christian values and the teachings of Christ which govern their relations with others, especially with muslim compatriots”. They demanded them to deal with the causes of the misery of Christians in order to find a lasting and peaceful solution.
The Patriarchs and heads of Churches called the international community to treat “with justice” what is happening in Syria in order to stop the conflict, killing and destruction. They also feel sorrow for the silence and indifference regarding the abduction of the two bishops of Aleppo: Youhanna Ibrahim and Boulos Yaziji.

They have also recommended politicians in Lebanon to “preserve it as a secular country … to be the country of man and faith, and the civilized lighthouse in the East”. They also called the political parties and deputies to “come to an understanding together on the issue of electing a president quickly”.