Syria archbishop calls for help

The Maronite Archbishop of Damascus has written to Aid to the Church in Need, pleading for help in the face of the deteriorating situation in Syria.

In a letter entitled ‘From Anxiety to Hope’, Archbishop Samir Nassar says that it seems that the Syrian crisis is “the cruellest human drama since the Second World War”.

Detailing how 12 million Syrians are refugees either within or outside the country, with over six million having trouble getting enough food to eat, and five million children affected, the archbishop says that 300,000 people who had been wounded in the war subsequently died within days due to lack of medical care, doctors, and medicine.

All these figures, including his claim that 91 churches and 1,400 mosques have been demolished, are, he says “provisional” but he says that on a pastoral level religious practice has declined by up to 60%. “There were 35 baptisms in 2011 and only six in 2014,” he says.

In an attempt to address this as best it can the Church is establishing seven welfare committees to analyse the situation in Damascus and help refugees, and to work to create new places of worship near the displaced faithful.