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Patriarchal Statement on War in Iraq 24-Mar-2003





بطريركية أنطاكية وسائر المشرق للروم الأرثوذكس

Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch and All the East


Patriarchal Statement

This is a time of fear and sorrow for many. As Church leaders of the Middle East we spoke in one voice. We, Orthodox Christians of the Patriarchate of Antioch, are concerned for the people of Iraq as the unjust war against their country intensifies. The voices of Churches, and millions of people of good will, opposing the immoral and illegal use of force was unheard. We have repeatedly stated that such a unilateral and preemptive action, where the logic of might prevails, is a defeat of international law and diplomacy, with grave consequences for the world. The war causes, in our region and well beyond, great pain and anger. It must stop. As people of faith this is our cry today.
Many Iraqis are, and will be, displaced. Many are threatened in their lives and possessions. The present war continues their long-enduring suffering. We pray for all the Iraqis, our spiritual children, the Antiochian Orthodox, and their compatriots, Christians and Muslims. We urge our faithful and our friends, to express solidarity and support generously the humanitarian efforts that our Church, in coordination with other Churches, towards the relief of the afflicted.

May the Lord of Peace bless you all.

March 24th, 2003

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The historical St. Mary Convent in Saydnaya village has opened its door to receive Iraqi families who have left Iraq before the war.

Many other Iraqis refugees who can not support themselves are expected to be hosted in many Convents and Monasteries related to the Antiochian Orthodox Patriarchate. Besides, the Patriarchate is contacting the Syrian Orthodox Patriarchate to offer the available support it has for many families staying at St. Ephram Monastery in Merret village nearby Saydnaya.

Seeing the tragedy everyday on TV and hearing about the horrible fight in the weeks to come motivate us to raise more profoundly our prayers to our Savior to interfere to end this catastrophe and inspire decision makers in the world over to find a peaceful solution. Let us join our prayers and our voices to be the voice of voiceless so that the power of resurrection prevail.