Patriarch John of Antioch: Churches are restored in Syria despite the war

In an interview with Russia’s international news agency RIA, His Beatitude John, Patriarch of Antioch and all the East, speaks about the current situation in Syria and the restoration of the country’s places of worship.

He points out that both the terrorist acts and the war in Syria have no ties to “any particular religion or people.” In Syria “both churches and mosques are destroyed. Both Christians and Muslims die.”

According to the Patriarch of Antioch, three Orthodox churches have been restored in the past three years, and an old monastery in the village of Maaloula is now in restoration. It is the Monastery of Saints Sergius and Bacchus (Mar Bacchus Sarkis), located northeast of Damascus, in an area where Aramaic, the language spoken by the Savior Jesus Christ, is still spoken today.

An interior view of a damaged church in Mar Bacchus Sarkis monastery, in Maloula village, northeast of Damascus (Khaled al-Hariri/ Reuters)

Asked by journalist Anton Skripunov what he thinks about post-war Syria, Patriarch John X expresses hope “that Syria will be better than before the war. We see Christians returning to their homes in Homs and Aleppo. They rehabilitate the infrastructure and everything that is related to a peaceful life. We hope this will continue in the future. ”

In the interview, the Patriarch of Antioch refers to his visit to Moscow in December 2017 when he had the opportunity to discuss the problems of the Antiochian Orthodox Church with Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and with Russian President Vladimir Putin. “The Russian side has assured us that it will continue to help us build peace and stability in our country through humanitarian actions.”

The Patriarch of Antioch expresses his gratitude for the support received from the Russian people and adds that “consistent aid comes from other countries as well”.

During a meeting with Romanian journalists in January 2018, His Beatitude Patriarch Daniel confirmed the support offered by the Romanian Orthodox Church for the restoration of churches and monasteries in Syria.

‘Most persecuted people for faith are Christians, especially in Muslim countries, for whom we must show solidarity in prayer and various concrete ways of support,’ His Beatitude said adding that ‘the restoring of Syrian churches and monasteries represents a priority in the coming years.’

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