The Church takes a closer look at the population of Syria

Syria has been facing a conflict for over six years. In Syria, the Syrian people lack even the most basic things, such as drinking water, food, school, medical care and housing. In these difficult times, the simplest gestures of solidarity make the difference.

The population of Syria has been victim of the conflict between the government, the rebel groups and Islamic extremists since 2011. The UN figures released last year show that more than four hundred thousand people have lost their lives and nearly five million were forced to leave the country. The actual numbers are even more alarming.

In the face of such suffering, the Church seeks to be close to the people.
Fr. Bruno Varriano is guardian and Rector of the Basilica of the Annunciation in Nazareth, in the Holy Land. Recently, he traveled to Syria where he met with the parish priest of Aleppo, Father Ibrahim Alsabagh. Father Varriano was able to meet several local people who are suffering very much because of this sad reality.

Rector and Guardian of the Basilica of the Annunciation
“The message of this visit to the Christians and the friars and to the Church gathered there is that Christians have not been abandoned, nor has been Syria, and that their life is not less important than ours. We found a totally devastated Syria: Aleppo is completely destroyed, 70 percent of the city of Homs, between Aleppo and Damascus, has been destroyed. The famous Aleppo market, the historic center of one of the oldest cities in the world, is also entirely devastated.”

Pope Francis already made several appeals for peace in Syria … At the beginning of this year, for example, during the meeting with the accredited ambassadors, the Holy See has called on the international community to strive for a serious negotiation putting an end to this conflict, which has been the cause of a real humanitarian disaster.

70% of the population has no access to drinking water. In the midst of pain, however, there are concrete signs of flourishing hope where hope seems non-existent.

Rector and Guardian of the Basilica of the Annunciation
“I found a very united Christian community. Priests, friars, religious, Salesians and Franciscans are very close as Christians. Our monasteries have become homes for refugees.”

Those who offer solidarity are not the only ones to set an example …

Rector and Guardian of the Basilica of the Annunciation
“I believe that what I was told and what I have seen should be read in our churches as a testimony of faith today. I know of people who were tortured because they are Christians, because they possess a cross … tortured …. today! In this historic moment! I realize that now, with so many hardships and so much devastation, Syria can be a great example of faith to the world.”

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