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

“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you." (Matthew 7:7,8 ESV)

Lenten Prayer of St. Ephrem

O Lord and Master of my life, drive away from me the spirit of despondency, carelessness, love of power, and idle chatter. (Prostration)

Rather grant to me, Your servant, the spirit of wholeness of being, humility, patience, and love. (Prostration)

Yes, O Lord and King, grant that I may see my own faults and not condemn my brother; for You are blessed to the ages of ages. Amen. (Prostration)


Today is the fountainhead of our salvation, * and the revelation of an eternal mystery: * The Son of God becomes the Son of a Virgin, * and Gabriel announces the good news of grace. * Therefore, let us also cry with him to the Mother of God: * "Rejoice, O Full of Grace, the Lord is with you!” (Troparion, Tone 4)

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

To you, O Mother of God, our leader and defender, * we, your servants, delivered from calamity, offer hymns of victory and thanksgiving. * So you, who have invincible might, * set us free from every peril * that we may cry to you: * "Rejoice, O unwedded Bride!" (Kontakion, Tone 8)

Random Proverb

"My son, do not lose sight of these — keep sound wisdom and discretion, and they will be life for your soul." (Proverbs 3:21,22a ESV)

Pray Without Ceasing

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

Wisdom from the Church Fathers

Self-accusation before God is something that is very necessary for us; and humility of heart is extremely advantageous in our lives, above all at the time of prayer. For prayer requires great attention and needs a proper awareness, otherwise it will turn out to be unacceptable and rejected, and 'it will be turned back empty' to our bosom.

Martyrius of Edessa