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Vatican

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Syrian priest: We do not trust human powers. Only God is with us

2015-05-23

For the last four years, this is what the world has seen coming from Syria. 

Suffering, war, and division. But there is another side to the conflict, and one Syrian priest shared it with us. The pastor of Saint Francis of  Assisi in Aleppo described neighbors who lived together and helped each other: Christians and Muslims  together in peace.

FR. IBRAHIM ALSABAGH
Pastor, St. Francis of Assisi (Aleppo)
"We in the government-controlled section, we continue to live together. On the holidays, Christmas and Easter, Muslim civil and religious authorities come to congratulate us.”

The Syrians who remain in the country try to live their lives normally, despite the constant risk of death. They yearn deeply for their old lives, where harmony reigned. But now it is hard to have hope.

FR. IBRAHIM ALSABAGH
Pastor, St. Francis of Assisi (Aleppo)
"We lived a beautiful life together. I grew up in a building with people of various religions. There were Sunnis, Shiites and Christians. Our neighborhood was mixed. Mothers prepared the food and ate together. We all talked for hours. However, religious fundamentalism began to sow hatred and discord.”

Bombs continue to fall from the sky, and reality remains inescapable. Syria is being destroyed minute by minute, and one of the world's oldest Christian communities is disappearing. Father Ibrahim said that he stopped trusting human powers to end the war a long time ago.

FR. IBRAHIM ALSABAGH
Pastor, St. Francis of Assisi (Aleppo)
"We expect nothing from men because we have been waiting four years already. Today, our hope is in the Lord, whom we trust to act and give us the solution.”

He spoke with jarring serenity about the possibility of dying at any time, or even becoming a martyr. He said violence will continue in Aleppo, one of the most dangerous cities in Syria.

FR. IBRAHIM ALSABAGH
Pastor, St. Francis of Assisi (Aleppo)
"We will be the last to leave. We will stay until there is just one sheep left in the flock, to serve and to show that we are with our people.”

He called on Christians worldwide to pray and to continue providing material aid to them. But he said they must act on their anger and protest against the suffering. After four years of war, his country has lost more than 210,000 lives.


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