THE PLIGHT OF CHRISTIANS IN THE MIDDLE EAST
The trials and sufferings of Christians in the Middle East, in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Egypt, Israel and the Palestinian Territories, are constantly in the mind of members of the Institute for Orthodox Christian Studies – not least because one of our Directors, Patriarch John X of Antioch and All the East, is with his people in Damascus at the centre of civil war, whilst his brother, Metropolitan Paul of Aleppo, our close friend and a Visiting Lecturer at the Institute, is, along with the Syrian Orthodox Archbishop of Aleppo, held hostage and at the mercy of rebel forces.
We have petitioned the Prime Minister and the Foreign Secretary to seek the release of the two Bishops and have received an assurance from the department handling Middle Eastern affairs that they are doing all they can. Many of us will be moved to contribute to the relief of Iraqi and Syrian refugees – though it is wise to take note of the warning from the Charity Commission to check the credentials of relief organizations before you give.
Meanwhile, we draw your attention to the outstanding address given at Great St Mary’s Church, Cambridge, during a Prayer Vigil for Christians in the Middle East, by the Coptic Bishop in Great Britain, Bishop Angaelos. As a path to understanding what is happening, in its historical and scriptural context, and as an aid to deciding how we should response, it could hardly be bettered. It is to be found at http://www.bishopangaelos.org/content/hope-christians-middle-east.