Emigration Seen as a Salvation

LONDON, OCT. 1, 2008 (Zenit.org).- Even when it is not feasible for them, most Iraqi Christians are longing to leave their country, says the archbishop of Baghdad.

Archbishop Jean Sleiman affirmed Saturday in London that a "paralyzing fear" still grips Iraqi Christians. The prelate was speaking to an annual event organized by Aid to the Church in Need.

The archbishop of Iraq's 5,000-strong Latin-rite community said that the decline in violence has not been enough to make Iraqi Christians feel secure.

"Emigration remains the dream of most people," he said. "The hope of emigration -- even when it is not realistic -- represents a kind of salvation for the people."

The Christian community has already dwindled to less than half its number from five years ago. Some 1 million Christians lived in Iraq in 2003; today that number is barely 400,000.

"Very real persecution" remains a huge threat for Christians in some areas, the archbishop affirmed. He explained that in some regions "co-existence under pressure" means that Christians are forced to adopt Islamic practices, including dress, and are encouraged to leave.

Archbishop Sleiman also said there are signs of hope, as support comes from charity organizations such as Aid to the Church in Need.

But he affirmed that the "best way to protect, not only Christians but all the citizens, is to bring back the state of law in Iraq."

ZE08100101 - 2008-10-01
Permalink: http://www.zenit.org/article-23768?l=english


Teachings of Christ

“Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.” (Luke 5:31-32 ESV)

Pentecost

Blessed are You, O Christ our God, * Who has shown the fishermen to be all wise, * by sending down to them the Holy Spirit, * and through them You have caught the whole world in Your net. * O Lover of Mankind, glory to You. (Troparion - Tone 8)

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and to the ages of ages. Amen.

When the Most High descended, confusing tongues, * He divided the nations; * but when He distributed the tongues of fire, * He called all to unity; * and, with one voice, * we glorify the Most Holy Spirit. (Kontakion - Tone 8)

Random Proverb

"One gives freely, yet grows all the richer; another withholds what he should give, and only suffers want." (Proverbs 11:24 ESV)

Pray Without Ceasing

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

Wisdom from the Church Fathers

First of all it must be understood that it is the duty of all Christians - especially of those whose calling dedicates them to the spiritual life - to strive always and in every way to be united with God, their creator, lover, benefactor, and their supreme good, by Whom and for Whom they were created. This is because the center and the final purpose of the soul, which God created, must be God Himself alone, and nothing else - God whom Whom the soul has received its life and its nature, and for Whom it must eternally live.

St. Dimitry of Rostov