Melkite Greek Catholic Church
The Syrian crisis is severely affecting various sectors of civilian life and the number of victims of this “world” war is growing day by day. In this war against Syria the nature of the so-called opposition no longer resembles what it appeared to be on 16 March 2011 at the outset of the crisis. Evidence of that can be found in the statements of envoy Lakhdar Brahimi and Mr Kofi Anan published in several European newspapers in September 2013, that there are some two thousand foreign groups fighting in Syria. They are all Salafist fundamentalists and extremists, relentlessly killing in cruel fashion in the name of Islam, although Islam has nothing to do with them or they with it. These groups have committed the most cruel crimes and bestial acts that have horrified the minds of those who saw them on television or on modern social communication media and hurt the feelings of every man, woman and child both at home and abroad. It represents a return to the darkest episodes of antiquity and has even outstripped them.… Those hordes have destroyed and laid waste places of worship (mosques and churches), and looted statues, furnishings, icons of Our Lord, the Virgin Mary and the saints. Never before in its history has Syria experienced any such monstrous, criminal acts. All Christian and Muslim citizens used to live in harmony, affection, solidarity, mutual help, national community … such that it was considered an Arab and world model. We wonder at these deeds and address the doers, reminding them of their humanity and the fact that they are created in the image and likeness of God, they are precious in God’s eyes and we acknowledge their worth, which is common to us all... We wonder and ask them, why do you commit these actions? Why destroy mosques and churches? They know very well that our churches are schools of peace and our institutions fields of service and dedication and that we have no political party, no hatred in our hearts, no vengeance against anyone whatsoever. On the contrary, we are agents of peace calling for love, living together, solidarity, reconciliation and forgiveness... In writing this appeal, it is not at all my intention to condemn or judge those who destroy our churches: God alone is Judge. Instead we forgive them and pray for them and their salvation, imploring God to open their eyes to the beauty of faith, love, friendship, and tenderness that fills the pages of the Qur’an in every verse - the compassion of God for all. We advise and request them to return to their own countries and there live a humane, worthy life in their families and among their own people. We write these lines and report the facts about the destruction of mosques and especially churches, and the inhumane acts, so that the world can wake up and open its eyes to the realisation of the true brutal reality of these things reported, and work to stop them and halt all kinds of killing and violence, for the victim of all this is man, created in the image and likeness of God. We call upon everyone to coordinate their efforts and those of Arab and other countries to prevent such cruelties against the dignity of man, because they are war crimes against humanity. It is not always the perpetrator who is responsible, but the one who does not work to prevent and condemn them, but rather encourages, incites and funds them with money and weapons and fills hearts with hatred and enmity... We decided to give the information contained in this appeal to highlight the brutality of these acts. We hope for the world’s conscience to be aroused to the realisation of this state of affairs and for everyone to agree to walk along the path of peace to Geneva II to build a new world where love and the values of our holy faith reign, as this should be the road for all of us Christian and Muslim politicians and leaders, and Eastern and Western heads of state. That is how we can respond to Pope Francis’s appeal, "No more war." That is why we are publishing these gloomy, black lists in the Appendix (attached). We extend this appeal with an open evangelical Christian spirit of love to the conscience of those who have committed and continue to commit these actions and attacks, especially against Christian places of worship. We appeal to the conscience of those who stand behind them and even to the conscience of the whole world. We hope and pray for the cessation of these actions that are destroying not just places of worship, but the image of God in man and are causing all kinds of suffering, disaster, grief and destruction. I ask my dear faithful not to allow forgiveness to give way to hatred in your hearts. Resist feelings of fear, anxiety, frustration and discouragement despite the various reasons for them of which we are all aware. Face up to this with patience and faith. Do not leave; do not abandon your homeland Syria, which has been rightly called the cradle of Christianity! We have our origins and roots here, going back over two thousand years of history. I hope that anyone reading this letter may accept it in a positive, civilised way. We pray, Christ our God, confirm the holy Orthodox faith in our churches and monasteries unto ages of ages! Lord, save thy people and bless thine inheritance. Grant peace to Syria and to the world. And keep thy faithful! Commemorating our most holy, most pure, most blessed and glorious Lady, Mother of God and ever-Virgin Mary, let us invoke her intercession and protection, and let us entrust one another and all our lives unto Christ our God! Deliver us, O Virgin, from every temptation, barbarian invasion and peril that we deserve due to our sins.
With my love and blessing
+Gregorios III

Appendix: A list of churches and monasteries and shrines damaged in the Syrian crisis 21-12-13

NumberChurch or shrineDenominationGovernorate / RegionPlace
1Patriarchate and Cathedral of the DormitionMelkite Greek CatholicDamascus and districtBab Sharqi
2Church and Monastery of the Franciscan FathersRoman Catholic (Latin)Damascus and districtBab Touma
3St Paul's Cathedral Syriac CatholicDamascus and districtBab Sharqi
4Cathedral of the Queen of the WorldArmenian CatholicDamascus and districtBab Touma
5St Cyril’s ChurchMelkite Greek CatholicDamascus and districtQassa'a
6Holy Cross ChurchGreek OrthodoxDamascus and districtQassa'a
7St Anthony of Padua’s ChurchRoman Catholic (Latin)Damascus and districtTelyani
8St Sergius’ CathedralArmenian OrthodoxDamascus and districtBab Sharqi
9St Elias’ ChurchMelkite Greek CatholicDamascus and districtZabadani
10Church of the DormitionGreek OrthodoxDamascus and districtZabadani
11Church of Our Lady of PeaceMelkite Greek CatholicDamascus and districtHarasta
12St Elias’ ChurchGreek OrthodoxDamascus and districtHarasta
13St George’s ChurchGreek OrthodoxDamascus and districtHerbin
14St Paul's ChurchMelkite Greek CatholicDamascus and districtDaraya
15St Tekla's ChurchGreek OrthodoxDamascus and districtDaraya
16St Elias’ ChurchMelkite Greek CatholicDamascus and districtHina
17Sts Sergius and Bacchus’ MonasteryMelkite Greek CatholicDamascus and districtMa’alula
18St George’s ChurchMelkite Greek CatholicDamascus and districtMa’alula
19St Leontius’ ChurchMelkite Greek CatholicDamascus and districtMa’alula
20St Elias’ ChurchMelkite Greek CatholicDamascus and districtMa’alula
21Sts Cosmas and Damian’s ShrineMelkite Greek CatholicDamascus and districtMa’alula
22St Thomas’ ShrineMelkite Greek CatholicDamascus and districtMa’alula
23St Saba’s ShrineMelkite Greek CatholicDamascus and districtMa’alula
24Holy Cherubim ShrineMelkite Greek CatholicDamascus and districtMa’alula
25St Barbara’s ShrineGreek OrthodoxDamascus and districtMa’alula
26Shrine of St EliasGreek OrthodoxDamascus and districtMa’alula
27St Tekla’s Church and MonasteryGreek OrthodoxDamascus and districtMa’alula
28Church and Monastery of the Holy CherubimGreek OrthodoxDamascus and districtSaydnaya
29Church and Monastery of Our LadyGreek OrthodoxDamascus and districtSaydnaya
30Church of Our Lady of the AnnunciationMelkite Greek CatholicAr-RaqqahAr-Raqqah
31Church of the MartyrsArmenian CatholicAr-RaqqahAr-Raqqah
32Christian Education CentreMelkite Greek CatholicAr-RaqqahAr-Raqqah
33Family Fraternity (care centre for the disabled )Melkite Greek CatholicAr-RaqqahAr-Raqqah
34Sts Sergius and Bacchus' ChurchMelkite Greek CatholicAr-RaqqahAl-Tabaqah
35New-style ChurchGreek OrthodoxAr-RaqqahMadinat al-Thawra
36Holy Cross ChurchArmenian OrthodoxAr-RaqqahTell Abiad
37Autonomous ChurchArmenian OrthodoxAr-RaqqahTell Abiad
38St Thomas’ ChurchSyriac orthodoxAl-HasakahRas al-Ain
39Gregory the Illuminator’s ChurchArmenian CatholicDeir al-Zur and districtDeir al-Zur
40Church and Monastery of the Capuchin FathersLatinDeir al-Zur and districtDeir al-Zur
41Sisters’ ChurchLatinDeir al-Zur and districtDeir al-Zur
42Church of Our LadySyriac orthodoxDeir al-Zur and districtDeir al-Zur
43Church of the MartyrsArmenian OrthodoxDeir al-Zur and districtDeir al-Zur
44ArchbishopricMelkite Greek CatholicAleppoSahat farahat
45Cathedral of the DormitionGreek Melkite CatholicAleppoSahat farahat
46Church of the Forty MartyrsArmenian OrthodoxAleppoAl-jedayda
47Monastery of St Francis of AssisiLatinAleppoAl-azizyah
48St Elias’ ChurchGreek OrthodoxAleppoAal-fillat
49St Michael’s ChurchMelkite Greek CatholicAleppoAlazizyah
50St Elias’ ChurchMaroniteAleppoAl-jedayda
51Arab Evangelical EvangelicalAleppoSabeh-bahrat
52St Kevork’s ChurchArmenian OrthodoxAleppoAl-Mydan
53St Maroun's ChurchMaroniteAleppoBrad
54Church and Monastery of St JosephLatinJisr Al-Shugour and districtAl-Qnayyah
55Our Lady’s ChurchLatinJisr Al-Shugour and districtAl-Yacubiyeh
56Holy Cherubim ChurchArmenian OrthodoxJisr Al-Shugour and districtAl-Yacubiyeh
57Church and Monastery of St AnnaArmenian OrthodoxJisr Al-Shugour and districtAl-Yacubiyeh
58Church and Monastery of St Anthony of PaduaLatinJisr Al-Shugour and districtAl-qasaneyeh
59Church of the Sacred HeartsLatinJisr Al-Shugour and districtJisr Al-Shugour
60Church of Our Lady of the AnnunciationMelkite Greek CatholicDar’aChakra
61Church of Our Lady of the AnnunciationMelkite Greek CatholicDar’aNamir
62Sts Peter and Paul’s ChurchMelkite Greek CatholicDar’aRakham
63Church of St John DamasceneMelkite Greek CatholicDar’aDar’a
64Church of Our Lady of the AnnunciationMelkite Greek CatholicDar’aAl-Mismyah
65Church of Sts Constantine and HelenaMelkite Greek CatholicHoms and districtYabroud
66Church of Our LadyMelkite Greek CatholicHoms and districtYabroud
67St George’s ChurchSyriac OrthodoxHoms and districtSadad
68St Michael’s Church and CemeterySyriac OrthodoxHoms and districtSadad
69St Elias’ ChurchSyriac OrthodoxHoms and districtSadad
70St Theodore’s ChurchSyriac OrthodoxHoms and districtSadad
71St Michael’s ChurchMelkite Greek CatholicHoms and districtQara
72Monastery of St James the MutilatedMelkite Greek CatholicHoms and districtQara
73St Elias’ Church and MonasteryMelkite Greek CatholicHoms and districtRablah
74Monastery of St Moses the AbyssinianSyriac CatholicHoms and districtAn-Nabk
75St Moses' ChurchSyriac CatholicHoms and districtAn-Nabk
76St George’s ChurchMelkite Greek CatholicHoms and districtAn-Nabk
77Church and Monastery of the DormitionMelkite Greek CatholicHoms and districtAl Husn
78St Joseph’s ChurchMelkite Greek CatholicHoms and districtGiwar-al-hafes
79St John Chrysostom’s ChurchGreek OrthodoxHoms and districtHawash
80Church of the DormitionGreek OrthodoxHoms and districtDeir Atiyah
81Our Lady’s ChurchMelkite Greek CatholicHoms and districtDeir Atiyah
82St Elias’ ChurchMelkite Greek CatholicHoms and districtAl-Qusayr
83Monastery of the Jesuit FathersLatinHoms and districtBostan Al Dewan
84St Charbel's ChurchMaroniteHoms and districtAl-hamidieh
85Cathedral of Our Lady of PeaceMelkite Greek CatholicHoms and districtBostan Al Dewan
86Our Lady’s ChurchSyriac orthodoxHoms and districtAl-hamidieh
87St Elias’ ChurchGreek OrthodoxHoms and districtAl-hamidieh
88Cathedral of the Forty MartyrsGreek OrthodoxHoms and districtBostan Al Dewan

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