- (Photo: Reuters/Zain Karam)
Patriarch Gregorios Laham III, Greek Melkite Catholic Patriarch of Antioch, All the East, Alexandria and Jerusalem has followed the events in Syria as they pertain to affected Christians. The patriarch has described that deadly shells have fallen on churches, patriarchates, dioceses, houses, property, charities on such a regular basis that they are now convinced that the war in Syria is targeting Christians to terrorize them and push them out of the country.
In an appeal this week, Patriarch Laham expressed regret for not hearing a global condemnation of these cowardly acts except by Pope Francis I, who denounced them strongly and defended the human dignity of the weak.
"These criminal acts threaten the educational process of our children and generations," said the patriarch, who noted that they would call on the Western and Arab worlds' conscience to speak out about this cowardly war.
"We did not want to emphasize that Christian neighborhoods are targeted, but we scanned the shells that have fallen since last August and on an almost daily basis in large numbers. Our diaries on missiles show they fall every day, especially on the neighborhoods where our parishes, churches, and institutions are located. This proves that this heinous war is targeting us and wants to terrorize our children to be prey to fear and frustration and migrate," the patriarch added.
Patriarch Laham called on Pope Francis, all Episcopal councils, and heads of Christian churches, to denounce this war, adding, "I do not know if Western states can hear this appeal, or if they have lost human feeling."
Syrian Christians have been subjected to continuing attacks and their churches and monasteries have been targeted by acts of violence since the start of demonstrations against the regime of President Bashar al-Assad in March 2011.
Syriac Orthodox Archbishop Youhanna Ibrahim and Greek Orthodox Archbishop Bolous Yazagi were kidnapped on April 22 near the Syrian city of Aleppo after unidentified gunmen stopped their car and killed the driver.