Syrian bishop appeals for peace

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By John Newton and Monica Zorita
FOLLOWING the latest attacks in Syria, one of the country’s leading bishops has issued an impassioned plea for peace – saying that the country needs prayer and not further violence.
Melkite Archbishop Jean Abdou Arbach of Homs, Hama and Yabroud told Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need that after seven years of war – and the latest bombing raids on the country – Syrians are tired of the conflict.
Archbishop Arbach said: “People cannot take any more.
“They simply want to live an ordinary life, to sleep peacefully in their beds and wake and go to work, and not to the sound of falling bombs.
“It is enough – it is too much.”
The prelate called for everyone around the world to pray for the Syrian people and for lasting peace.
He said: “We want and we need peace – please pray for us.
“We need prayers, prayers and more prayers. It is the only thing that can bring us unity in this country.”
He added that Pope Francis had also asked for prayers for the situation in Syria.
On Sunday (15th April), Pope Francis said: “I am deeply disturbed by the present world situation, in which notwithstanding the instruments at the disposition of the international community, it struggles to agree on a common action in favour of peace in Syria and in other regions of the world.”
He added: “I pray incessantly for peace, and I invite all people of good will to continue to do the same.
“I appeal anew to all responsible political leaders, so that justice and peace may prevail.”
Archbishop Arbach added: “What was the point of this war?
“Everything has been destroyed, there are millions of refugees… If only the politicians of the world would work for peace and not for war.”
ACN is helping with projects in Homs including scholarships for 4,000 students and the provision of essential foodstuffs and medicines.
The charity is also supporting repair of homes and Church buildings.
Archbishop Arbach said that up to 80 percent of churches and catechetical centres in his archdiocese have already been rebuilt.

Editor’s notes

Aid to the Church in Need is a Pontifical Foundation directly under the Holy See. As a Catholic charity, ACN supports the faithful wherever they are persecuted, oppressed or in need through information, prayer, and action.

Founded in 1947 by Fr Werenfried van Straaten, whom Pope St John Paul II named “An outstanding Apostle of Charity”, the organisation is now at work in 140 countries throughout the world.

Undertaking thousands of projects every year, the charity provides emergency support for people experiencing persecution, transport for clergy and lay Church workers, Child’s Bibles, media and evangelisation projects, churches, Mass stipends and other support for priests and nuns and training for seminarians.

Aid to the Church in Need UK is a registered charity in England and Wales (1097984) and Scotland (SC040748). ACN’s UK office is in Sutton, Surrey and there is a Scottish office in Motherwell, near Glasgow and another office based in Lancaster that covers the North-West.

Please always acknowledge Aid to the Church in Need as the source when using our material.

For more information, contact Senior Press Officer Dr John Newton on 020 8661 5167 or ACN Press and Digital Media Officer Murcadha O Flaherty on 020 8661 5175.