‘Only jihadists want to see Christians leave the Middle East’

Around 300 Christians went to Bartella during the Easter weekend of 2017, to have the very first Easter celebration in three years in their home town. A convoy of about 15 buses travelled from Erbil, crossing several Kurdish and Iraqi army checkpoints to reach the church. The people still live in Erbil and cannot go back to Bartella to live or to rebuild. But for this day many take the chance to celebrate Easter in their own church again. (Open Doors International)
“The only people that want to see all Christians leave are some of the violent jihadists,” concludes a new book. “Everyone else, including some we might term as Islamists, desires their continued presence. They recognise that it is Christians who are the leaven that permeates the whole of society.” The . . . Read More

‘Middle East without Christians would not be the Middle East’ – Pope Francis

Pope Francis lights a candle inside the cripta of the St. Nicholas Basilica in Bari, southern Italy July 7, 2018. REUTERS/Tony Gentile
Pope Francis says religious fundamentalists in the Middle East, “under the guise of religion, have profaned God’s name, which is peace, and persecuted age-old neighbours”, Reuters reports. The pope was speaking during a summit of Christian leaders in Bari, Italy, on Saturday, 7 July. He spoke of the “terrible suffering” . . . Read More

Church council calls for release of Syrian bishops abducted five years ago

(Source: World Council of Churches)
The World Council of Churches (WCC) has called for the release of two Syrian archbishops kidnapped five years ago. “The Central Committee recalls with heavy hearts the abduction five years ago of the archbishops of Aleppo, Yohanna Ibrahim and Paul Yazigi,” the WCC said in a statement following a six-day . . . Read More

70,000 Syrian Armenians have fled during the war, and few will return

70,000 Syrian Armenians have fled during the war, and few will return
The fragrance of Middle Eastern cuisine wafts into your nostrils, even before you open the door of the café opposite the central railway station in Yerevan, Armenia’s capital.   Nerses Kevo, the café’s owner, is one of thousands of Armenian Christians who fled the Syrian civil war and moved to . . . Read More

Syria: Report highlights ‘brutality against Christian clerics’, with five still missing

Fr. Paolo Dall’Oglio, a Jesuit priest who was abducted in Syria in July 2013, is one of the clerics who disappeared and whose fate remains unknown. (Photo: veDro via Flickr / Creative Commons)
A report about violence against Syrian church leaders during the ongoing civil war shows that clerics have been beaten, abducted – five are still missing – and killed, and that 2013 was the worst year. In ‘The Good Shepherd: A Report on Brutality against Christian Clerics in Syria March 25, . . . Read More

UN chief ‘personally concerned’ about return of Christians to Iraq and Syria

Tree and Arabic painting on the wall in Bashiqa, a town near Mosul in Iraq where Christians are slowly returning, saying: "Tomorrow will be more beautiful." (will be better) (Photo: World Watch Monitor)
The UN’s Secretary General has stressed the importance of Christians returning to the areas from which they fled in Iraq and Syria. “I am fully convinced that after the stability of the situation in Iraq and Syria and the adoption of a certain political decision, it is very important to . . . Read More

Syria: Christians and Yazidis among 250,000 displaced in Afrin

Turkish-backed Syrian rebels walk past a burning shop in Afrin on 18 March. (Photo: BULENT KILIC/AFP/Getty Images)
Significant numbers of Christians and Yazidis have fled their homes in northern Syria’s Afrin enclave, World Magazine reports, ever since Islamist militants joined with the Turkish military this past January to oust Syrian Kurdish fighters from the region along Turkey’s border. Turkey considers the Kurdish YPG (People’s Protection Units) to . . . Read More