As the conflict in Syria enters the 4th year, it becomes observable that one of the principle reasons that the Syrian Government has remained the sole legitimate governing body are twofold: First massive widespread support from the people as evidenced from elections in June 2014, and secondly the unity of clergy within Syria and their historical role of brotherhood and peaceful cooperation. A fair question to ask oneself is: Why do the recognized religious leaders of Syria and within Syria both Christian and Moslem support the Syrian Government?
The so called “Syrian opposition” groups do have religious leaders support, howbeit from outside Syria, as evidenced from fatwahs issued from the Kingdom of the Sand (the latest one forbidding the construction of effigys using frozen crystalized material). You’re not allowed to make snowmen in KSA.
There remains an intolerance to all things Christian in the KSA. When the arrogants speak of arming the “moderates”one thing you can be sure of, there will be no Christians included. The west apparently is striving to try and remake Syria into the image of Saudi, a compliant totalitarian dictatorship. As they moderately go about killing and destroying the heritage of peaceful coexistence.
So if the wests policies are sucessful they get another KSA, and if they topple the Syrian government and fail they get another Libya, either way its a lose lose for Christ and his followers. Clearly the west is siding with anti-Christ.
A message from Philip Saliba before his passing:
Metropolitan Philip fell asleep in the Lord on Wednesday, March 19, 2014. He is preceded in death by his brother Shahid Saliba and his sister Nazira Kfouri, and is survived by his eldest brother Nassif Saliba of Shreen, Lebanon, his younger brother and sister-in-law Dr. Najib Saliba and Elaine Saliba of Shrewsbury, Massachusetts, and numerous nieces, nephews, grandnieces, grandnephews and Godchildren in the United States and Lebanon.
HEAD OF ANTIOCHIAN ORTHODOX ARCHDIOCESE OF NORTH AMERICA EXPRESSES GRATITUDE TO THE RUSSIAN CHURCH FOR HER CONCERN FOR CHRISTIANS IN SYRIA
His Eminence Philip (Saliba), Archbishop of New York and Metropolitan of All North America, head of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America, sent a message to the Primate of the Russian Orthodox Church, which reads, in particular: “We monitor with gratitude your tireless efforts in support of the Christians, and all the God-fearing people of Syria.”
His Eminence Metropolitan Philip expresses his conviction that the forces responsible for stirring up the conflict in the country “have ulterior motives in mind, not the least of which is to expunge the area of Christians who have been living in that land peacefully with Muslims for many years under the secular government…”
The hierarch of the Church of Antioch thanked the Russian Church for carrying out the fund-raising campaign and sending the money collected “to help the needy, homeless and downtrodden people of Syria” who have been suffering from “the uncivil war that continues to rage.”
“Throughout history, Russia has protected the Orthodox of the Middle East in times of need and it seems history is repeating itself once again,” the letter reads. His Eminence Metropolitan Philip expressed his gratitude to His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia for his support in this difficult time and asked him “to remember the victims of this barbarism” in his prayers.
12 January 2015
His Holiness Patriarch Moran Mor Ignatius Aphrem II received His Excellency Syrian Minister of Endowments Dr. Mohammad Abdelsattar Al-Sayyed, the Grand Mufti of Syria Sheikh Ahmed Badreddine Hassoun and a delegation of Muslim Scholars from Damascus, in the Patriarchal Headquarters in Damascus.
Their Eminences Archbishops Mor Dionysius Jean Kawak, Patriarchal Assistant, and Mor Timotheos Matta Al-Khoury, Patriarchal Secretary, also attended.
The Minister of Endowments, Grand Mufti and the delegation visited His Holiness to offer season’s greetings as well as congratulating him on the opening of the Centennial Commemoration of the Syriac Genocide “Sayfo”. They emphasized that His Holiness’ firm positions are considered as an awakening call to the international community. They added that His Holiness’ appeal to take the necessary measures and actions to avoid serious crimes against humanity are of high importance. They said that the Centennial Commemoration of the Syriac Genocide is not an expression of hatred, but a reminder that history will not erase the mistakes that were committed, rather they become lessons for all.
On the other hand, His Holiness drew the attention of his guests that “all religions have a message of love and peace”. He added that “all crimes that are committed in the name of one religion or another, do not emanate from religion; rather, they result from a wrong understanding of its teaching. What God is pleased with murder, or needs violence and slaughter to prove its truth?” Patriarch Aphrem II stated that man ought to meditate on the mercy of God instead of imagining Him as a cruel merciless one”. He pointed out that the victims of religious extremism is everyone who loves peace and opposes extremist lines of thought. Then the Minister, Grand Mufti and the delegation visited the Sayfo exhibition and headed to visit the Armenian Orthodox Archbishop of Damascus Armash Nalbandian.
Damascus, SANA- Minister of Religious Endowments “Awqaf” Mohammad Abdul-Sattar al-Sayyed stressed that whoever legitimizes the killing, terrorism and massacres has nothing to do with the heavenly messages, morals or human values.
Visiting the Syriac Orthodox Patriarchate and the Armenian Orthodox Archdiocese on the centennial anniversary of the Ottoman genocide of “Seyfo” against the Syriacs and the Armenians and other nations, al-Sayyed indicated that the genocide proves to the whole world that what is taking place in Syria nowadays of killing and destruction at the hands of the neo-Ottomans stresses that they have nothing to do with Islam.
Al-Sayyed stressed that what is taking place in Syria is a clear evidence that terrorism and criminality are very far from all religions and that Islam is innocent of what the US and its Western allies and Israel are trying to charge it with.
For his part, Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II, Patriarch of Antioch and All the East, Supreme Head of the Universal Syriac Orthodox Church stressed that the strong relation binding the Syrian Christian and Muslim has always protected Syria.
“I congratulate my brothers, my compatriots, on the occasion of the Prophet Birth and the Christmas ….I wish that peace and security will return to Syria which has witnessed the birth of the humanitarian civilization and I wish that its people will continue to live as one Syrian family as they have always been,” Patriarch Aphrem II said.
He added “About half a million of the Syrian Syriacs were killed in those massacres and when we say Syriacs we means all the Syrian Syriacs whether they are in Antioch, Nsaibin, al-Raha, Diyar Bakir, and al-Hasaka as they are Syrians not settlers and they were martyred at the hands of the Ottoman slaughterers.”
Patriarch Aphrem II stressed that what is taking place in Syria now is not different from what happened one hundred years ago.
“We hope that the others will follow the Syrian clergymen, particularly because the massacres were not based on religions but they were because of political reasons which aim to eliminate nations and not religions.” Patriarch Aphrem II said.
He highly appreciated the efforts of the Syrian people, government and army under the leadership of President Bashar al-Assad, saying “We will defend Syria together.”
The Patriarch concluded by affirming that Syria is witnessing the end of the crisis and that its people are delivering a message of amity and peace
together, calling upon the international organizations and bodies to exert more efforts to release the two kidnapped bishops Yohanna Ibrahim and Paul Yazigi.
Grand Mufti of the Republic Ahmed Badr-Eddin Hassoun said “When we remember the massacres or history, we don’t incite grudges, but we want to end the grudges through spreading love.”
Hassoun added “We want the people to pay attention that history will talk about those who spent their life serving the people and those who killed the people and persecuted them and when we remember the massacres against the Syrian people, we know that they were because Syria has conveyed the heavenly messages to the world, and that the Ottomans came to this country and instead of learning from it, they forced its people to leave the Arabic language, the language of Quran, and they slaughtered many of them such as when they killed martyrs of May 6th.”
He affirmed that the international organizations and governments must exert pressure on the Turkish government to release the kidnapped bishops, indicating that those who were able to release 40 Turkish people from the terrorist groups in Mosul can order the terrorist who it supports and finances to release the bishops.
“We all must make this year a year of national reconciliation,” Hassoun said, affirming that Syria will ever remain a model in fraternity and national unity.
For his part, Primate of the Armenian Church of Damascus Bishop Armash Nalbandian said “Our message to the whole world and the Armenians in this year stresses that the birth of the Armenian nation was in the holy Syria which is the country of life and land of resurrection.”
“The world kept silence regarding the massacres which took place in 1915 and remains silent towards what is taking place in Syria nowadays…We call upon the international community to condemn and to halt the massacres which are committed by the neo-Ottomans in Syria today and to account them,” Nalbandian said.
For his part, Chairman of the Levant Scholars Union, Mohammad Tawfiq al-Bouti indicated that Prophet Mohammad has taught us the meaning of the Islamic-Christian fraternity when he received a delegation of the Christians at his mosque.
He stressed that the Syrian people have always embraced the nations who were subjected to genocide and Syria has always been a peaceful sanctuary to them.
R. al-Jazaeri / Ghossoun