Deisis (Novogorod)

Patriarch Gregorios III: 'Enough with the intervention'

By Doreen Abi Raad
Catholic News Service

BEIRUIT (CNS) -- Syrian-born Melkite Catholic Patriarch Gregoire III Laham warned against armed intervention in his country, saying, "It has brought us to the tragedy we are now living in Syria."

Speaking to Catholic News Service by phone Aug. 27 from the patriarchal summer residence in Ain Traz, Lebanon, the patriarch said such a step "would be a tragedy, a tragedy, a tragedy -- for the whole country and the whole Middle East."

"Enough with the intervention," he said.

"It is fueling hatred, fueling criminality, fueling inhumanity, fueling fundamentalism, terrorism -- all these things are the fruit of intervention. Enough!"

"Surely, it will spread like a world war," he said.

The patriarch lamented the U.S. decision to postpone again a meeting with Russia aimed at preparing for a peace conference on Syria.

"The Holy Father was very clear on Aug. 25," the patriarch said, referring to Pope Francis' call for peace in Syria during the Sunday Angelus, when the pontiff said, "It is not clashes, but an ability to meet and to dialogue that offers prospects for a hope of resolving the problems."

"This is the real voice to be heard, and not the voice of weapons and interventions and of warships," Patriarch Laham said.

"Instead of trying to change the (Syrian) government, help the government to change. We are all for change. We are all for reforms. But not in this way, with blood."

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Random Proverb

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Wisdom from the Church Fathers

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St. Clement of Rome