Christiantoday – August 2016
Christianity is in danger of disappearing across entire countries in the Middle East, the land of its birth, according to a senior Orthodox Church leader.
There have been repeated warnings about the decline of Christianity in Iraq under the Islamic State onslaught. Eight in ten Christians have left Iraq since 2003.
But the Patriarch of the Syriac Orthodox Church, Ignatius Aphrem II, has now warned that Christianity is also at risk of disappearing in Syria and Lebanon.
The massive decline of the Christian population in Turkey from 3.5m to 150,000 in the last 100 years alone could be repeated in Syria and Lebanon, he warned.
“I am worried that Christianity is on the way out both in Syria and Iraq as well as in Lebanon,” he told John Pontifex of Aid to the Church in Need, a Catholic charity which provides emergency help and spiritual support for Christians worldwide.
Syrian Patriarch: ‘stop extremists from entering Europe’
Churchinneed – August 2016
NEW YORK (Aug. 30, 2016)—A leading Syrian prelate urged Europe to take tougher action to stop fundamentalists from entering its territory.
Patriarch Ignatius Aphrem II, the Damascus-based leader of Syriac Orthodox Church, warned of the threat posed by a new generation of radicalized Muslims bent on imposing Sharia law as widely as possible. While many Muslim refugees entering Europe are peace-loving moderates, he added, Western governments “must be better prepared” to ferret out jihadists.
In an interview with Aid to the Church in Need (ACN), the international Catholic charity, the Patriarch called for a strict screening process of migrants and refugees seeking to enter Europe. “I do not know how this should happen but it is necessary and should be done without infringing the rights of those who are peace-loving and law-abiding,” he said.