Athens, October 21, 2015
The conference, “The religious and cultural pluralism and peaceful coexistence in the Middle East”, began on Monday October 19, 2015, in Athens. Patriarch John X of Antioch and All East greeted the experts of the conference, reports the press service of the Church of Antioch.
According to Patriarch John X, the war has affected the whole of the Syrian land and there is no one it hasn’t touched, even on relatively peaceful territories.
“I live just not far from the Marionite church, only several miles away from the areas whose residents’ peace is buried under the shells which are exploding there. Yes, the inhabitants of the land where Christians were first called Christians, are now paying a high price—the price of their own blood,” the Patriarch related.
In His Grace’s judgment, the main reason for “society’s return to savage ignorance” is in the events of the so-called “Arab spring”, “which later dotted the Paschal sky of Aleppo with missiles”:
“Yes, dear Sirs, what is happening in the Middle East can only be described as, “burying civilization alive.” Our land was not created only to become a mass grave; our people were not born to perish in a foreign land; our children did not open their eyes here to close them in the deeps of the sea! The inability of the international family to settle the Syrian conflict is indeed a failure of the whole human rights defense system!”
Furthermore, the patriarch did not pass over in silence the fact that, “We still know nothing of the fate of the two kidnapped Metropolitans of Aleppo” (Metropolitan Paul of Aleppo, brother of the patriarch, and the Jacobite Syrian Bishop Yohanna Ibrahim.) “It as if the world has forgotten these unfortunate bishops and no-one mentions their names in the places where vital decisions are made! With determination we raise our voices and demand freedom for our brothers from their kidnappers, and from all responsible authorities we demand decisive steps to liberate the kidnapped victims,” Patriarch John X said.
However, despite everything, Christians of Syria will stay and serve on the territory of their motherland and none of them will leave it voluntarily, the Patriarch is convinced: “We are strong in Christ and we were sown in His land… We have been nurtured on our mother’s milk with Orthodoxy and we were appointed to defend it as early as 2000 years ago. We are Christians and we do not wish to be a sort of “second-rate people” who pay a tax for their mere existence.1 No, we came from the heart of our land and we will remain here!”