(HT: Pravoslavie.ru. Also see the interview with Russian Orthodox Metropolitan Hilarion (Alfeyev) in the new issue of Religion & Liberty on the dire situation of Christians in Syria.)
In his interview to the MEDIA, a Hierarch of the Antiochian Orthodox Church, Bishop Luke of Seidnaya, has disclosed the scale of persecutions suffered by Orthodox Christians of this region since the very beginning of the uprising against the regime of Bashar Al-Assad, reports Agionoros.ru.
By now, 138,000 Christians have been banished from their homes and at the same time Christian Churches are systematically destroyed. “They are killing people. A human life is of no value for them,” in such words Bishop Luke is describing the situation in the country.
Thus, in the city of Homs, anti-government forces have committed mass murder of Christians. Hundreds of people have been killed. Dozens of cases of sexual assault have also been recorded.
“The damage done to our Churches is great. They are burned, plundered, their walls are broken. If a human life is of no value for these criminals then will they spare our shrines? Our parishioners are beaten up and attacked. All this is obtaining “legal status” because revolution is happening and nobody is protesting against it,” notes the Orthodox Hierarch.
“Our ancestors settled in this land long before Islam appeared here. A great number of saints, who preached love, were martyred in this land,” notes the Very Reverend Bishop Luke who, in spite of all horrors described above, continues to call Muslims “brothers”. And how can it be otherwise, since Orthodoxy rejects hatred for other religious convictions?
Unfortunately, Orthodox Christians in Syria are now abandoned to their fate. They are becoming vulnerable victims of Muslim fanatics. And the only way they can oppose violence in this situation is prayer and hope in help of God, Who does not abandon those who trust in Him.
Damascus, March 29, 2013