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

“I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. (John 14:6 ESV)

Seventh Ecumenical Council

O Christ our God, You are most glorious, * for You established our Fathers as lights upon the earth * and through them led us to the true faith. * O greatly Compassionate One, 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.

The Son Who shone forth ineffably from the Father * was born two-fold in nature. * Beholding Him, we do not refuse the image of his form, * but piously depicting it, we honor it faithfully. * Therefore the Church, holding fast to the true faith, * kisses the icon of the incarnation of Christ. (Kontakion, Tone 6)

(Troparia of the Sunday of the Holy Fathers of the Seventh Ecumenical Council)

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

For to despise the present age, not to love transitory things, unreservedly to stretch out the mind in humility to God and our neighbor, to preserve patience against offered insults and, with patience guarded, to repel the pain of malice from the heart, to give one's property to the poor, not to covet that of others, to esteem the friend in God, on God's account to love even those who are hostile, to mourn at the affliction of a neighbor, not to exult in the death of one who is an enemy, this is the new creature whom the Master of the nations seeks with watchful eye amid the other disciples, saying:"If, then, any be in Christ a new creature, the old things are passed away. Behold all things are made new" (2 Cor. 5:17). 

St. Gregory the Great