July 25, 2014

An Open Letter from His Eminence Metropolitan Philip to President Obama

Metropolitan Phillip

Metropolitan Philip is the leader of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese. September 6, 2013 President Barack Obama, The White House, 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington, DC Dear Mr. President: We write to you with a heavy heart having heard the recent news of the attack on the ancient Christian city of Maaloula, Syria by the rebel forces. This city houses one of the oldest and most important monasteries, the Monastery of St. Thekla, which is considered a holy place by both Christians and Muslims. This attack by the rebel forces, who are supported by the U.S. government, is an unspeakable act of terror, and speaks volumes to the viciousness of those rebel forces who seek to overthrow the Syrian government. Apparently there is nothing that is sacred to these people, and it is very disturbing that these same people are being supported by our government. Mr. President, we appeal to your humanity, and compassion for people to halt consideration of any … [Read more...]

How the West is Helping to Destroy Christianity in Syria

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Source: Alfred the Great Society | Robin Phillips Syrian Christianity goes back to the earliest days of the Christian faith, with language, traditions and practices that have remained largely unchanged since the time of Christ. Despite popular misconceptions, the nation of Syria is not an Islamic state. The Christian population living in Syria has enjoyed a measure of stability under the dictatorship of Bashar al-Assad. This tenuous stability is now being undermined by Islamic rebels who, supported by Western powers, are attempting to overthrow the government and destroy the native Christian population. Christianity in Syria Not long after Christ’s ascension, the church at Jerusalem was scattered following Stephen’s martyrdom (Acts 11:19). Many Christians fled to Antioch in modern day Turkey, where Barnabas was later sent to check on the church (Acts 11:22-27). Barnabas found that the gospel had taken deep root in Antioch, as evidenced by the fact that it was here … [Read more...]

Russian Orthodox Bishop: Syrian Christians Facing ‘Extermination’

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Over at the Acton Institute blog, John Couretas writes about his recent interview with Russian Orthodox Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, chairman of the Moscow Patriarchate’s Department for External Church Relations, about increasing Christian persecution around the world. One focus was the mid-east where the Western "Arab Spring" policy has in fact unleashed a torrent of persecution against Christians. Iraq's Christian population had to leave after the American invasion in 2003. Today the same is happening in Syria, especially as we arm insurgents who we are told are freedom fighters but in fact are Islamic radicals. Met. Hilarion is careful in his criticism... It is possible already now to speak of an external military interference in [Syria] as thousands of extremist militants in the guise of opposition forces have unleashed a civil war in the country,” Hilarion said in the Moscow lecture. “Extremist groups, the so-called jamaates consisting of militant Wahhabites armed … [Read more...]

Fr. Patrick Henry Reardon: Delegation to Syria

Fr. Patrick Henry Reardon

Source: Antiochian Archdiocese | Fr. Patrick Henry Reardon During this past September 13-18, I was part of a delegation sent to Syria by Metropolitan PHILIP to investigate the internal political situation in that country, particularly with respect to its Christian minority. Our group consisted of six priests of the Antiochian Archdiocese: Fathers Dimitri Darwich (our guide and the only Arabic-speaker), Timothy Ferguson, Joseph Honeycutt, John Winfrey, David Bleam, and myself; two Protestant pastors: Bonn Clayton and Norman Wilson; and an expert in international law, James Perry, accompanied by his wife, Martha, who served as the delegation’s secretary. Attached to the delegation as a reporter for Ancient Faith Radio was John Maddex, its executive director. The following narrative is my own assessment of that experience, along with some account of what I learned. Let me begin by expressing a deep, sincere gratitude to Metropolitan Philip, both for the golden opportunity … [Read more...]

Syria: Nowhere Near Regime Change

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Srdja Trifkovic offers trenchant analysis on world events for this reason: he is not bound to the liberal/neo-con vision of American foreign policy that justifies the invasion and domination of sovereign nations under the rubric that behind every dictator lies a nascent movement of political liberty waiting to emerge. This view is misguided idealism and naivete at best, cynical opportunism at worst, and it afflicts Democrats and Republicans alike. (It's been the sum of liberal thinking since Viet Nam and maintained by neo-cons when moving over to the Republican side.) The problem is that "regime change" affects in catastrophic ways the minorities in the countries where dictators are overthrown, including Orthodox Christian minorities in the Middle East who otherwise live in relative safety. Last month I heard William Krystol (a dean of the Washington neo-con establishment; Charles Krauthammer is another) urge American forces to enter Syria to topple the government. He had no idea … [Read more...]

Death Warrant of Ancient Christianity

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If American liberals and neo-cons get their way and America invades Syria, the Syrian Christians will be persecuted and forced out of their ancient homeland. Source: Real Clear Politics | Philip Jenkins Ever since the wave of popular movements started sweeping the Middle East, Western media have rarely found much good to say about the authoritarian regimes under attack. Few observers deny that the last generation or so of Arab rulers were indeed greedy despots, and it seems desirable for Western powers to intervene as forcefully as they can on behalf of what are commonly billed as pro-democracy movements. The arguments against intervention are obvious enough, most obviously that it is much easier to begin a military intervention than to end it, while we rarely have much idea about the political character of the supposed democrats we are trying to aid. But in one case above all, namely Syria, debates over intervention have missed one overwhelming argument, which is the … [Read more...]