Read an Interview with Matthew, the owner of CathInfo

Author Topic: More on Syria  (Read 11065 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline poche

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 14655
  • Reputation: +627/-2157
  • Gender: Male
More on Syria
« on: November 22, 2013, 02:54:27 AM »
  • Thanks!0
  • No Thanks!0
  •  Mother Agnes Mariam of the Cross, a Lebanese-born nun who has lived nearly 20 years in Syria, is travelling the U.S. advocating for peace and reflecting on how the conflict has affected life in the region.

    It is “terribly, tremendously” difficult to be living away from her community in Syria, she reflected Nov. 17.

    “We have a very, very familiar way of communitarian life, and our community is in need, it's a new community. We were founded in 2000, so they need their superior, they need their mother. But the Lord has supplied: they are like heroes; I consider this community to be heroes.”

    Mother Agnes is the superior of St. James the Mutilated monastery in Qarah, located 60 miles north of Damascus on the road to Homs.

    Qarah, which was captured by the Syrian regime two days after Mother Agnes spoke with CNA, had been under the control of the Free Syrian Army, a moderate rebel group, for over a year.

    The monastery is home to 20 nuns of the Unity of Antioch, and is also sheltering 32 Sunni refugees from al-Qusayr, she told CNA. Because of the violent unrest in the area, she cannot return to the monastery.

    “They are trapped,” she said. “They cannot go out and I cannot come in, because all over this region we have bandits and undisciplined elements. So they cannot go out and I cannot come in, until the situation is better.”

    Before the war, she explained, “we had 25,000 visitors” annually for spiritual retreats and other events. “We were building a new youth hostel to receive pilgrims, and it was our income; we had also a store, to sell what we produce – icons, garments, hand crafts, also agricultural products. All of this has stopped, so we have no income at all.”

    During a talk she gave at St. Rafka Maronite parish in Denver, Colo., Mother Agnes explained that the Free Syrian Army “reported to us one night in June there was a plot to abduct me … it is the FSA who protected me, and put me outside” the city.

    Islamists rebels, such as al-Nusra Front, had infiltrated the area, and were planning her abduction, she said, noting that the armed opposition “is not one faction.”

    Because the FSA has not given her “the green light to come back,” she is unable to return to the monastery, and the people there are unable to leave, she said. “We are like in a siege.”

    Mother Agnes said she now works in neighboring Lebanon: “I paint icons…and we have a kind of market outside Syria.”

    The community at Qarah has been shelled by both helicopters and tanks, and Mother Agnes reflected, “we've had other examples in Syria where convents were destroyed, nuns or monks were killed, but we are praying the Lord to prevent this, to spare it.”

    The Syrian conflict has now dragged on for 31 months, since demonstrations sprang up nationwide on March 15, 2011 protesting the rule of Bashar al-Assad, Syria's president and leader of the country's Ba'ath Party.

    In April of that year, the Syrian army began to deploy to put down the uprisings, firing on protesters. Since then, the violence has morphed into a civil war which has claimed the lives of more than 115,000 people. There are at least 2.2 million Syrian refugees in nearby countries, most of them in Lebanon, Jordan, and Turkey.

    An additional 6.5 million Syrian people are believed to have been internally displaced by the war.

    The Syrian rebels are made up of a large variety of groups, including both moderates and Islamist extremists, as well as Kurds.

    Qarah has strategic significance in the war; its location on the road from Homs to Damascus makes it key for supply routes. The Syrian regime's army had begun an offensive to retake the city Nov. 15.

    Mother Agnes described it as “very dramatic,” and said that during the battle, her community was “out of communication. We are praying they remain safe, they have a kind of shelter. We have 50 people there, we hope that we will not hear bad news, we are very worried.”

    During the conference held at St. Rafka, Mother Agnes said the monastery, since the war began, was “there to help people.” It continues to help liberate prisoners held for their beliefs, and provides refuge to displaced Muslims.

    Mother Agnes was born in Lebanon, to a Lebanese mother and a Palestinian father, who became a refugee in 1948 when Israel was created. She described herself as “a victim from the Palestinian conflict,” as well as the Lebanese civil war, which lasted from 1975 to 1990 and in which Syria was a participant.

    She joined the Carmelites in 1971, and in 1992 received permission to serve the Melkite Greek Catholic Church. Two years later, she travelled to Syria to begin establishing a monastic foundation, restoring the monastery, which dates to the 6th century.

    Though it was at first hard to be in Syria, which had taken part in the civil war in her homeland, she said, “I have been converted, to talk now on behalf of the Syrian people; it is out of a conversion of love.”

    “We’ve lived in Syria for 19 years; we have been, little by little, driven to know the Syrian people, and to love them, because we are serving them.”

    At St. James the Mutilated monastery, she said, “we work for peace, for unity…we work for the unity of all the sons of Abraham, Jews Christians and Muslims.”

    Qarah is an apt place to carry out this work for unity. The town has a history of coexistence between Christians and Muslims, and was once home to a Jewish community.

    It's a very antique village,” Mother Agnes told CNA. “The mosque was previously a church, and before that a temple; it was made a church by St. Helena. We have another church that was completely looted, where there are frescoes from the 11th century.”

    Mother Agnes told the conference attendees that the “real victim” of the Syrian civil war is “the Syrian population … the ignored victim of the conflict,” whom she said “has completely attracted, and converted us.”

    She recounted the story of meeting a mother whose son was long-disappeared during the war. After much waiting, the family finally received a call saying he would return, but the next day his body appeared, in a bag, mutilated and cut up.

    “This kind of population, I would like to serve. And in our constitution, our rule of contemplative (life), our order, we have one article that says the necessity does not have a law; when something is a necessity, an emergency, there is no law.”

    “My necessity, my emergency, is the Syrian people. I will help them, I am invested. Even though I am not Syrian, I have asked (for) Syrian citizenship,” she concluded.

    “In the name of Christ I am completely dedicated to the cause of peace and reconciliation among the Syrian people, that's what I do.”

    http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/carmelite-nun-from-syria-describes-pain-of-civil-war/

    Offline poche

    • Hero Member
    • *****
    • Posts: 14655
    • Reputation: +627/-2157
    • Gender: Male
    More on Syria
    « Reply #1 on: December 04, 2013, 06:01:01 AM »
  • Thanks!0
  • No Thanks!0
  • The sister has to be careful with what she says in public because even though she is not in the conflict right at this minute she is being watched and we don't know by whom. If she says the wrong thing there may be reprucussions.


    Offline poche

    • Hero Member
    • *****
    • Posts: 14655
    • Reputation: +627/-2157
    • Gender: Male
    More on Syria
    « Reply #2 on: February 04, 2014, 02:35:24 AM »
  • Thanks!0
  • No Thanks!0
  • A Dutch priest who is trapped in Homs told The Telegraph that some of the residents of the Syrian city of one million are starving.

    “Our city has become a lawless jungle,” said Father Frans Van der Lugt. “We are trying our best to behave in a fraternal way, so that we don’t turn on each other for the hunger.”

    “This morning I visited a centre for the handicapped; for three days they have had nothing to eat but olives,” he continued. “We are trying our best to help, but there is little we can do.”

    Hom’s old city, he said, used to have 60,000 Christians. “Now I find myself alone with only 66 other Christians.”

    He said that the remaining Christians are being treated well by their Muslim neighbors.

    “We are afraid that the international community abandoned us,” he continued. “They look for their interests, this is politics, but they have to know that the Syrian people are suffering.”

    http://www.catholicculture.org/news/headlines/index.cfm?storyid=20380

    Offline poche

    • Hero Member
    • *****
    • Posts: 14655
    • Reputation: +627/-2157
    • Gender: Male
    More on Syria
    « Reply #3 on: February 28, 2014, 03:23:37 AM »
  • Thanks!0
  • No Thanks!0
  • A Syrian rebel group has issued a draconian decree against Christians in Ar-Raqqah, a city of 220,000 that it took over last year.

    The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, which operates in Iraq and Syria and is part of al-Qaeda, has demanded a tax of up to 17 grams of gold from each Christian, according to the Reuters news agency.

    The rebel organization has also decreed that Christians “must not make renovations to churches or other religious buildings, display religious insignia outside of churches, ring church bells or pray in public,” Reuters reported. “The directive also bans Christians from owning weapons and from selling pork or wine to Muslims or drinking wine in public.”

    http://www.catholicculture.org/news/headlines/index.cfm?storyid=20623

    Offline poche

    • Hero Member
    • *****
    • Posts: 14655
    • Reputation: +627/-2157
    • Gender: Male
    More on Syria
    « Reply #4 on: March 06, 2014, 02:59:31 AM »
  • Thanks!0
  • No Thanks!0
  • An ultimatum allegedly from a jihadist group has demanded that Syrian Christians live as “dhimmis,” low-status subjects who must pay protection money and obey strict restrictions on their religious practice.

    Christians who reject conversion to Islam or the restrictive conditions “are subject to being legitimate targets, and nothing will remain between them and ISIS other than the sword,” said the online statement reputedly from the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIS), the BBC reports.

    The statement particularly concerns Christians in the northern Syrian city of Raqqa, which the group currently controls. Raqqa was the first provincial capital to come under complete rebel control after the Syrian conflict began in March 2011.

    The statement orders Christians to pay about half an ounce of pure gold in exchange for their safety, the BBC says. Christians are barred from renovating churches and displaying crosses or other religious symbols outside churches. They may not ring church bells or pray in public.

    They are barred from carrying arms and must follow other rules created by ISIS.

    The statement said that a group of 20 Christian leaders have accepted the demands.

    Nina Shea, director of the Center for Religious Freedom at the Hudson Institute, a Washington, D.C.-based think tank, said Feb. 28 that the statement attributed to the jihadist group has not been independently verified, but is “consistent with the testimony of many Christians who have fled Syria.”

    “Syria’s Muslims and Christians alike are intensely suffering from the conflict, with suffering inflicted by both the government and the opposition,” Shea said in an article at National Review Online. “The Christians who remain in Raqqa must now bear the additional suffering of dhimmitude.”

    She said the rules will particularly affect churches and monasteries damaged during the Syrian conflict. They will also bar wedding and funeral processions. Christian women will need to wear shrouded clothing, and alcohol will be banned.

    According to Shea, the rules purportedly date back to a seventh-century caliph. The protection money, known as the “jizya,” is to be paid twice annually for each adult Christian and varies based on their wealth.

    Raqqa had a population of about 300,000 people before the Syrian conflict began. Less than one percent were Christian. Many Christians fled after ISIS began to attack and burn churches.

    In July 2013 an Italian Jesuit, Father Paolo Dall’Oglio, was abducted in Raqqa and reportedly executed by jihadists, Shea said.

    The U.S. State Department on March 3 decried the jihadi group’s announcement, saying the “outrageous conditions” placed upon Christians violate “universal human rights.”

    It said the group “has demonstrated time and again its disregard for Syrian lives, and it continues to commit atrocities against the Syrian people.”

    The group’s “oppression of and senseless violence against Syrians, including the moderate Syrian opposition, demonstrates that it is fighting for nothing except the imposition of its own brand of tyranny.”

    The State Department said the U.S. “deplores the continued threats against Christians and other minorities in Syria.” The United States, which is backing other Syrian rebel groups against President Bashar al-Assad, said that the Syrian government has “brutally cracked down on dissent from all segments of society.”

    According to the State Department, the Assad government has arrested Christian worshippers, raided and confiscated church property, shelled Christian communities and bombed dozens of churches. Elements of the rebel groups have also bombed churches.

    Many Christian leaders, including Melkite Greek Catholic Patriarch Gregorios III of Antioch, have warned about the extreme Islamist elements among some rebel forces.

    http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/report-syrian-rebel-group-makes-christians-low-status-subjects/

    These are the friends of Obama.


    Offline Capt McQuigg

    • Hero Member
    • *****
    • Posts: 4660
    • Reputation: +2618/-9
    • Gender: Male
    More on Syria
    « Reply #5 on: March 06, 2014, 04:26:06 PM »
  • Thanks!0
  • No Thanks!0
  • Things are tough all over in Syria and many people are going to be killed in the ongoing conflicts.

    I wish this nun and that priest were concerned about the salvation of souls.  That priest should be hearing confessions and baptising babies and converting heretics who may only have days to live instead of praying for some weird alliance of heretic and heretics holding hands in their abomination.

    Offline poche

    • Hero Member
    • *****
    • Posts: 14655
    • Reputation: +627/-2157
    • Gender: Male
    More on Syria
    « Reply #6 on: March 06, 2014, 11:35:42 PM »
  • Thanks!0
  • No Thanks!0
  • Quote from: Capt McQuigg
    Things are tough all over in Syria and many people are going to be killed in the ongoing conflicts.

    I wish this nun and that priest were concerned about the salvation of souls.  That priest should be hearing confessions and baptising babies and converting heretics who may only have days to live instead of praying for some weird alliance of heretic and heretics holding hands in their abomination.

    sometimes you have to hold somebody's hand in order to lead them to conversion.  

    Offline poche

    • Hero Member
    • *****
    • Posts: 14655
    • Reputation: +627/-2157
    • Gender: Male
    More on Syria
    « Reply #7 on: March 26, 2014, 03:17:00 AM »
  • Thanks!0
  • No Thanks!0
  • Syrian rebel forces affiliated with Al-Qaeda and based in Turkey crossed the Turkish-Syrian border and attacked the town of Kesab, whose population is predominantly Armenian and Christian.

    “Armenian churches were reportedly desecrated and Armenians driven from their homes,” Andrew Bennett, Canada’s Ambassador for Religious Freedom, said in a statement. “The continued attacks against Christians, including Armenian Apostolic Orthodox Christians and Armenian Catholics, in Syria are unacceptable.”

    The head of the Armenian Catholic Church, Patriarch Nerses Bedros XIX Tarmouni, told the Fides news agency that “the Christians fled at dawn, some of them in pajamas, without being able to bring anything with them, as soon as they heard the sound of gunfire. The rebels came from the mountains on the border with Turkey. They were many and well armed.”

    http://www.catholicculture.org/news/headlines/index.cfm?storyid=20901


    Offline poche

    • Hero Member
    • *****
    • Posts: 14655
    • Reputation: +627/-2157
    • Gender: Male
    More on Syria
    « Reply #8 on: March 28, 2014, 03:35:44 AM »
  • Thanks!0
  • No Thanks!0
  • Riad Haddad, Syria’s ambassador in Moscow, has told the head of the Russian Orthodox Church that 98 churches have been partly or wholly destroyed since the Syrian Civil War began in 2011.

    Haddad also said that 1,900 mosques, 1,600 schools, and 60% of the nation’s hospitals have been at least partly destroyed, the Interfax news agency reported.

    http://www.catholicculture.org/news/headlines/index.cfm?storyid=20932

    Offline Francisco

    • Full Member
    • ***
    • Posts: 1080
    • Reputation: +815/-3
    • Gender: Male
    More on Syria
    « Reply #9 on: March 28, 2014, 11:13:52 AM »
  • Thanks!0
  • No Thanks!0
  • Video by Anthony Lawson on Syria:


    Offline Charlemagne

    • Full Member
    • ***
    • Posts: 1432
    • Reputation: +2100/-18
    • Gender: Male
    More on Syria
    « Reply #10 on: March 28, 2014, 11:29:20 AM »
  • Thanks!0
  • No Thanks!0
  • Quote from: poche
    Quote from: Capt McQuigg
    Things are tough all over in Syria and many people are going to be killed in the ongoing conflicts.

    I wish this nun and that priest were concerned about the salvation of souls.  That priest should be hearing confessions and baptising babies and converting heretics who may only have days to live instead of praying for some weird alliance of heretic and heretics holding hands in their abomination.

    sometimes you have to hold somebody's hand in order to lead them to conversion.  


    I agree in principle, poche, but let's face it: There is no idea of conversion in the Conciliar Church.
    "Kindness is for fools! They [modernists] want to be treated with oil, soap, and caresses, but they ought to be beaten with fists. In a duel, you don't count or measure the blows, you strike as you can. War is not made with charity. It is a struggle, a duel." -- Pope St. Pius X


    Offline poche

    • Hero Member
    • *****
    • Posts: 14655
    • Reputation: +627/-2157
    • Gender: Male
    More on Syria
    « Reply #11 on: April 09, 2014, 03:46:51 AM »
  • Thanks!0
  • No Thanks!0
  • A priest of the Society of Jesus who refused to leave his flock in the Syrian city of Homs was murdered by an unknown gunman Monday morning.

    Fr. Frans van der Lugt, a native of the Netherlands, was killed April 7. He was caring for the fewer than 30 Christians who remain in the Old City district of Homs, which has been blockaded by the Syrian regime for nearly two years.

    “Where people die, their faithful shepherds also die with them,” Vatican spokesman Fr. Federico Lombardi said April 7 in response to the death of Fr. van der Lugt.

    Fr. Lombardi said the slain priest “died as a man of peace” and acted “with great courage in an extremely dangerous and difficult situation.”

    Fr.  Ziad Hillal, a fellow Jesuit who has been serving in Syria, told Aid to the Church in Need the slain priest was “a ray of joy and hope to all those trapped in the Old City of Homs,” adding he represented “Christ in the world who is willing to lay down his life for his friends, who always gives us hope.”

    Fr. Hillal said the priest was “apparently killed execution-style with shots to the head.”

    “A man came into his house, took him outside and shot him twice in the head. In the street in front of his house,” Jan Stuyt, secretary of the Dutch Jesuits, told Agence France Press.

    Given the siege, his body cannot be recovered.

    In February, a three-day truce allowed residents of Homs to leave the city; at that time, the number of Christians fell from 89 to fewer than 30.

    “The U.N. representatives were urgently required to leave Homs and go to another city, so we had to stop abruptly before finishing the evacuations,” Fr. Hillal said, explaining the February truce.

    “Fr. Frans and the remaining 20-25 Christians in the city did not manage to leave in time.”

    The February evacuation rescued 1,400 persons from the siege.

    Fr. Hillal had reflected on the priest's humility, noting “he always asks how I am and does not talk much about himself.”

    He described one of their last conversations, held via Skype, noting their hopes for a modest celebration of Fr. van de Lugt's birthday.

    He was to have turned 76 April 10.

    Fr. van der Lugt had worked in Syria since 1967. He was a psychotherapist and was involved in interreligious dialogue.

    In the 1980s, he built a spirituality center in Homs which housed some 40 children with mental disabilities.

    In February Fr. van der Lugt spoke to Agence France Presse about his time in Syria, saying, “the Syrian people have given me so much, so much kindness, inspiration and everything they have. If the Syrian people are suffering now, I want to share their pain and their difficulties.”

    He had also said that “I don't see people as Muslims or Christians, I see a human being first and foremost.”

    The priest often lamented the lack of medicine, food, and aid to civilians trapped in Homs by the Syrian regime's siege, and repeatedly called for intervention on the civilians’ behalf. The Syrian regime will not allow food to be brought into the city.

    Dutch foreign minister Frans Timmermans said the priest “brought nothing but good to Homs,” and that Fr. van der Lugt “deserves our thanks and respect” and “must be able to count on our commitment to help end this misery,” the BBC reports.

    Fr. Lombardi said the priest’s death was a “time of great sorrow,” and called for prayer and also voiced “great pride and gratitude” that the priest was close to those who suffered most and that he witnessed “the love of Jesus to the end.”

    The priest is among the latest victims in the three-year civil war among rebel groups and the Syrian regime.

    The conflict began when demonstrations sprang up nationwide March 15, 2011, protesting the rule of Bashar al-Assad, Syria's president and leader the country's Ba'ath Party.

    In April of that year, the Syrian army began to deploy to put down the uprisings, firing on protesters. Since then, the violence has morphed into a civil war which has claimed the lives of an estimated 140,000 people.

    There are 2.6 million Syrian refugees in nearby countries, most of them in Lebanon, Jordan, and Turkey.

    An additional 6.5 million Syrian people are believed to have been internally displaced by the war.

    Neville Kyrke-Smith, director Aid to the Church in Need UK, said the priest’s “witness to faith in the midst of the conflict in Syria inspires us to do all we can to help others.”

    “We will continue to act in solidarity, prayer and action, helping to sustain the Christian presence in the region.”

    http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/priest-murdered-in-syria-witnessed-to-christs-love/

    Offline poche

    • Hero Member
    • *****
    • Posts: 14655
    • Reputation: +627/-2157
    • Gender: Male
    More on Syria
    « Reply #12 on: April 16, 2014, 02:55:49 AM »
  • Thanks!0
  • No Thanks!0
  • One child was killed and 61 people injured when a missile struck a Catholic school in Damascus, Syria, on April 15, the Fides news service reports.

    The missile hit the Armenian Catholic school in a historic section of the Syrian Catholic, as students were waiting with their parents of the school doors to open on Tuesday morning. It was not immediately clear which of the parties in Syria's bloody civil war had launched the missile.


    http://www.catholicculture.org/news/headlines/index.cfm?storyid=21132

    Offline poche

    • Hero Member
    • *****
    • Posts: 14655
    • Reputation: +627/-2157
    • Gender: Male
    More on Syria
    « Reply #13 on: April 24, 2014, 03:18:04 AM »
  • Thanks!0
  • No Thanks!0
  • The head of the Melkite Greek Catholic Church lamented recent bomb attacks on an Armenian Catholic school and a Melkite parish in Syria.

    “What is the point of all this carnage tantamount to a war of extermination?” said Patriarch Gregory III Laham, according to a report from Aid to the Church in Need.

    “These attacks on our schools, children, churches and homes are criminal attacks with the aim of intimidating Christians who find themselves increasingly targeted,” he added. “Where are the United Nations and the European Union? Do you want to kill this nation?”

    http://www.catholicculture.org/news/headlines/index.cfm?storyid=21188

    Offline poche

    • Hero Member
    • *****
    • Posts: 14655
    • Reputation: +627/-2157
    • Gender: Male
    More on Syria
    « Reply #14 on: May 21, 2014, 02:51:15 AM »
  • Thanks!0
  • No Thanks!0
  • Syrian rebels are besieging Aleppo, the nation’s largest city-- leading to a “a new wave of the exodus of Christians,” according to a local prelate.

    “The families waited for high school to end, then they took their luggage, closed their homes and fled to the coast and to Lebanon, using the only road link with the outside world still viable,” said Armenian Catholic Archbishop Boutros Marayati of Aleppo. “Maybe they will come back in four months. Perhaps they will never come back again.”

    “The areas where there are large power stations and water supply lines are all in the hands of the rebels, that open and close the valves to force the regime to negotiate,” Archbishop Marayati told the Fides news agency. “We do not know what these negotiations aim to reach. We are with the people, and we do not understand very well what is going on around us.”

    http://www.catholicculture.org/news/headlines/index.cfm?storyid=21446

     

    Sitemap 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16