A war “unjust, barbaric and destructive”
The Melkite Greek Catholic Bishop of Aleppo in Syria wrote these words last September 16. Msgr. Jean-Clément Jeanbart was then celebrating the 20th anniversary of his ordination as the bishop of this “artistic and intellectual” city, whose citizens are today in great misery.
“Today, at the very moment that I am writing these lines, bombs are raining down on the residential neighborhoods of the city.”
According to him, the people of the city “now find themselves in a miserable state, after four years of this unjust, barbaric and destructive war. They are without work, without resources, without security, without water, without electricity, deprived of all hoped-for pity and help from Western Christians expected in vain.”
In this letter, he also reminds us that the diocese already existed in 325, and that its bishop was at the famous Council of Nicaea. “In both the ancient and recent history of the Middle East this active and prosperous community was a center of Christian radiance in the region.”
“ Lighten the load” of the population
Already in 2014, the situation was extremely difficult. The Church had re-opened a hundred year old well in the cathedral’s courtyard.
“ These last three years I had to forget that I was 70 years-old and to run to wherever I could in over to lighten the load that is weighing down my beloved people,” he stated.
He denounced the “latest scourge” that hit Syrian Christians, “the exodus of Christians, which is a form of deportation, condemning our faithful to a humiliating exile and our 200 year-old Church to a deadly drying up.”
He finishes the letter, writing: “On this anniversary of my episcopate, I fervently wish that you join me in asking the Lord to protect the faithful He is given into my care, so that this Church that is two millennia old, of which I am in charge, can continue its prophetic presence in this beloved country. They are waging war on us, but we want to make peace. They seek to destroy; we seek to build. They are trying to exile us; we are fighting to stay put. In brief, all that we await is peace and we want to Build to Stay.”
Read the complete letter by following
this link: Letter from Aleppo