05 April 2017

Syria: destruction and hope

The fourth 'special' describes the use of donations from the Good Friday Collection: by pastor Aleppo.

Actuality and events

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Father IBRAHIM AL SABBAGH, ofm
Parish priest of Aleppo, Syria
"It has been six years from the beginning of the Syrian crisis and the question that comes to mind for many people is: < is there still a need to help Syria?>"

The question of father Ibrahim Al Sabagh, a Franciscan priest of Aleppo, resonates in our hearts and conflicts with the desire to say: “no, there is no longer need for help”. But the reality is quite different.

Since the beginning of the conflict, the number of victims has reached as many as 400 thousand including 2 million injured (11% of the population), according to the report of the Syrian Center for Policy Research.
The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights stopped the tragic count in mid-2014, due to lack of reliable data.

Father IBRAHIM AL SABBAGH, ofm
Parish priest of Aleppo, Syria
"The destruction of many churches, buildings and houses in different areas is right in front of us. And we continue to suffer here, in Aleppo, for things like lack of electricity and water. There is almost total unemployment: there are no jobs. The suffering is enormous."

In Aleppo, the precedent number of 300 thousand Christians is now reduced to less than 40 thousand. "In this context, keeping hope alive is really hard and at the same time very important”, said Cardinal Sandri in his message for the Good Friday collection.
The presence of the Church helps people not to lose hope.

Father IBRAHIM AL SABBAGH, ofm
Parish priest of Aleppo, Syria
"Since the crisis began, the church has stepped forward and started helping the needy with humanitarian relief and with spiritual support which never fails.”

In Aleppo, the Franciscans have 33 ongoing humanitarian projects destined to all people, but primarily intended to Christians. Through four reception centers, these projects provide the most immediate needs (food, clothing or blankets) and many other necessities including health, economic and educational provisions.
The Custody has been present in different areas of Syria since the thirteenth century and has decided to stay, even under the bomb threats.

Fr. FRANCESCO PATTON, ofm
Custos of the Holy Land
“Christians are now suffering on one hand and waiting on the other, meaning they expect and want the war to end and peace to return, but they are not losing hope.
Beyond all these hardships, Christians continue to believe it is important to stay in Syria, where the Christian community has been present since the beginning.”

According to data of the UN Refugee Agency, updated in February 2017, the war has generated nearly 5 million refugees, forced to flee mostly in neighboring countries: Lebanon, Turkey, Jordan and Greece.

Fr. FRANCESCO PATTON, ofm
Custos of the Holy Land
"Presently, we cannot forget about the Christians living in areas tested by the war, like Syria and Iraq, where there also was a very significant Christian presence that has now decimated and that is now helping those Christians who live as refugees."

Father IBRAHIM AL SABBAGH, ofm
Parish priest of Aleppo, Syria
"Helping people, dear ones, in anyway possible, is definitely worth it, especially in this annual Good Friday collection. And we will continue to pray for all of you."