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

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly." (John 10:10 ESV)

Exaltation of the Cross

Save Your people, O Lord, and bless Your inheritance; * grant victory to Your Church over her enemies * and protect Your commonwealth by Your Cross. (Troparion - Tone 1)

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

Willingly lifted up on the Cross, O Christ God, * bestow Your compassions upon the new commonwealth that bears Your name. * By your power grant joy to Your Church, * granting her victory over her enemies. * May she have your Cross as the weapon of peace * and the invincible ensign of victory. (Kontakion - Tone 4)

The Church celebrates the Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross on September 14th.

Random Proverb

"My son, do not forget my teaching, but let your heart keep my commandments, for length of days and years of life and peace they will add to you." (Proverbs 3:1,2 ESV)

Pray Without Ceasing

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

Wisdom from the Church Fathers

He who suffers wrong and does not demand any reparation from the man who wronged him, trusts in Christ to make good the loss; and he is rewarded a hundredfold in this world and inherits eternal life (cf. Mk 10:30).

Saint Kosmas Aitolos +1779