Bombs, kidnapping and financial extortion are among the problems facing Syria’s Christians, the leader of the country’s Catholics told a meeting in Westminster Cathedral Hall. Speaking to more than 300 benefactors of Aid to the Church in Need, Patriarch Gregorios III – the head of the Melkite Greek Catholic Church – said: “Syria is experiencing a lengthy, bloody way of the cross, stretching along all the country’s roads.”
The patriarch, who is president of the Assembly of Catholic Hierarchs in Syria, added: “You may think that it is safe here or unsafe there, but at any moment you may be killed by bomb, missile or bullet, not to mention being kidnapped or taken hostage for ransom, or murdered.”
Christians have been targeted because they are seen as “a weak element” and a source of ransom, according to the head of the Melkite Church.
Patriarch Gregorios III said: “A lot of our priests, our people, our relatives and friends have been kidnapped.”
Recalling events at Maaloula last month, where jihadists tried to force Christians to convert to Islam, the patriarch reported that a number of villagers were still missing – and all the residents had fled. The Melkite leader said: “Six have been kidnapped since 4 September, we don’t know where they are.”
According to the patriarch 450,000 Christians have left Syria or are internally displaced, including all of his father’s family.
Read it all. And pray, pray, pray for these people.