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Sister in Aleppo: Christians want to stay in Syria because this is our home


The war in Syria will soon mark its seventh year. There have been hundreds of days of bombs, destruction, misery and battles, one of which was especially bloody – the fighting that took place for four years in Aleppo, the largest city in Syria. 

Those who could leave, did so. Many Christians were among them. Of the 250,000 that lived there, an estimated 30,000 remain. 

SR. ANNIE DEMERJIAN
Sisters of Jesus and Mary

“They want to stay. Many Christians decided to stay because every time we heard, 'This is our home, our country, we are not going to leave it.'”

Along with the Christians, sisters like Annie stayed. They help 1,000 families with basic needs, from giving them baskets of food to paying for their electricity. Aid to the Church in Need provides as much assistance as possible to save those who weren't able or refused to abandon a city that became hell. 

SR. ANNIE DEMERJIAN
Sisters of Jesus and Mary

“We try to help as much as we can with the baskets of food. We were supporting 2,000 families with baskets of food. We passed through many difficult times, especially in the winter. I remember many times we used to go to bed shivering, me and my sisters, because we have no electricity and that means no heating.” FLASH “Many families I remember they took the wood of their sofa and they put it in the heater to warm themselves.”

It has been four very hard years in a city that is completely divided, where Christians have been the target of attacks by different radical groups on many occasions. Aleppo has seen many of its citizens die and others who live on the edge of poverty after previously benefitting from economic prosperity. 

SR. ANNIE DEMERJIAN
Sisters of Jesus and Mary

“They've been hurt a lot, you know. And to maintain their dignity is the most important above everything.”

To maintain their dignity and also their faith, strengthened and weakened during the conflict. That's why Sr. Annie is asking for prayer – first, to change the hearts of those waging the war and second, so the Syrian Christians don't feel alone. 

SR. ANNIE DEMERJIAN
Sisters of Jesus and Mary

“That reminds us of the message of St. Paul, 'If one part of the body is suffering the whole part is suffering.' They make us feel that we are one part of the body, we are the whole body, and they are suffering with us, they are supporting us with everything.”

The city of Aleppo is slowly returning to a relative normalcy after the battle, but Syria remains at war. With each bombing, there's an increased possibility of ever-fewer Christians in the land where St. Paul converted.