SAVE CHRISTIANS, SAVE CHRISTIANITY, SAVE SYRIA, SAYS ALEPPO BISHOP
The Chaldean Catholic Bishop of Aleppo, Syria, Bishop Antoine Audo, was present in Malmo, Sweden, for the one-day event with Catholics and Lutherans that marked the start of the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation.
Bishop Audo, who is head of Caritas Syria, addressed the gathering Monday and made a heartfelt appeal for his fellow Christians, for Christianity and for “our beloved Syria” in the presence of the Holy Father. Pope Francis arrived Sweden late Monday morning to join Lutherans in commemorating this anniversary.
Bishop Audo began his touching, moving testimonial by telling the faithful that, “almost all of the hospitals have been destroyed and 80% of the doctors have left Aleppo. In Syria, 3 million children no longer go to school. Physical and moral exhaustion has touched everyone, especially the poorest and among them, children and adolescents and the elderly.”
The Chaldean prelate added that, “our greatest sadness is seeing the rich and marvelous Christianity of this land is disappearing. He appealed to “the Christians of the world, Muslims of the East and West and all people of good will: Do not allow our beloved Syria to be destroyed and fragmented.”
The bishop also announced that, “Become Christians Together” is the motto of Christian humanitarian work in Syria, adding that that work “is focusing on how serving Christ must include serving others, especially the poorest and most needy.”
Immediately after his testimony, Bishop Munib Younan of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land, and President of the Lutheran World Federation, and Cardinal Kurt Koch, head of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, read in Arabic and in English a prayer for Syria and Iraq. “May the Lord of history change hearts,” “may peace can be stabilized among nations on the basis of justice and human rights,” and “may the spirit of peace descend on the peoples of Syria, Iraq and the Middle East.”