His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II gave a lecture entitled “Can Christians Still have a Future in the Middle East?” at the Pazmany Peter Catholic Universty in Budapest.His Eminence Mor Nicodemus Daoud Sharaf, Archbishop of Mosul, Kirkuk and Kurdistan, and Very Rev. Raban Joseph Bali, Patriarchal Secretary and Media Office Director were also present at the lecture.
Middle East Christians
By STAFF REPORTER on Wednesday, 16 April 2014
• Assad shoves Christians into the firing line
A Syrian church left empty after a mortar attack. The faithful face their darkest Easter in many years (AP)
Christians in Syria are facing a seemingly endless Way of the Cross, one of the country’s most senior Church leaders has said.
As the ancient Church in the Middle East faced one of the most challenging Holy Weeks in its history, the Maronite Archbishop Samir Nassar of Damascus lamented the death of the Dutch Jesuit Fr Frans van der Lugt, who was shot dead by an unknown assailant in the besieged rebel enclave in Homs on April 7.
Archbishop Nassar told the faithful in a Palm Sunday letter: “This Holy Week was introduced by the murder of Fr Frans from Homs in the fourth year of war and violence. Shells raining down on our neighbourhoods, schools closed, we cannot give an account of the victims. We are abandoned to Providence.”
He continued: “This small Syrian people, so kind, generous and patient, have become accustomed to suffering and die in silence. It is in this spirit that we live Holy Week and Easter holidays, knowing that the Way of the Cross … has marked our lives for three years, accompanies the fourth year.
“The end of the tunnel is invisible.”