- Feb 23, 2020
When some 50 bishops and patriarchs from different rites throughout the Mediterranean gather in Bari this month to discuss the dire situation many countries in the region face, the survival of Christians in the Middle East will likely emerge as a central topic.
In a private meeting with Pope Francis, Catholic patriarchs of the Middle East had an opportunity to sound the alarm regarding the survival of Christians in the region as a result of persecution, extremism, economic insecurity and immigration to the West.
Against a backdrop of anti-government protests in Iraq and Lebanon, at Christmas, Catholic patriarchs in the Middle East spoke of continued suffering.
The patriarch of the Syriac Catholic Church pleaded for “immediate and lasting peace in northeastern Syria and the preservation of innocent lives, especially for Christians, who are the original and founding component of Syria.”
Faced with the migration of Christians from Syria and Iraq, Syriac Catholic bishops meeting in Lebanon for their annual synod called upon church members “scattered everywhere in the East and West” to cling to their faith with hope so they “can be witnesses to the joy of the Gospel wherever they are.”
Syriac Catholic Auxiliary Bishop Nizar Semaan begins his new mission in Iraq with hope “that Christianity will flourish again” in his homeland.