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Displaced christians in Syria and Turkey appeal for help

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Rescuers walk near a destroyed building in Kahramanmaras, Turkey, Feb. 9, 2023, in the aftermath of a deadly earthquake. The powerful 7.8 magnitude earthquake rocked areas of Turkey and Syria early Feb. 6, toppling hundreds of buildings and killing thousands. (OSV News photo/Suhaib Salem, Reuters)

Devastated Christian communities across Turkey and Syria are pleading for help this Easter, with the death toll from February’s earthquake, now over 50,000, continuing to rise as rubble is cleared.

Nearly two million people are internally displaced because of the disaster and, after a decade of civil war in Syria, the country’s Christian population is in dire straits.

Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP has encouraged Sydney’s Catholics to donate to the Melkite Catholic Eparchy’s Syrian appeal through the Melkite Charitable Foundation.

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“Australian Catholics who will celebrate a safe, secure Easter in Sydney this year could do much for displaced and persecuted Christians in Syria with even a small donation,” Archbishop Fisher said.

“I commend the Melkite appeal to all Catholics and offer my heartfelt support and prayers to our brothers and sisters in Christ across the Middle East.”

Melkite Catholic eparch Bishop Robert Rabbat said that the situation in Syria and Lebanon is getting desperate.

“For our Eparchies in both Lebanon and Syria, when the oppressed come to their doors, Christ is knocking at the door,” he wrote in a letter promoting the appeal.

“Our churches can only house, clothe and feed our Lord; and they can only offer our Lord safety and protection, if our many friends throughout the world help us. We need whatever you can do for us … Christ needs it.

“Believe me, our churches, monasteries and convents, schools and parish facilities in Aleppo, Latakia and Homs, now house thousands of people who simply have nowhere to go and no one knows for how long!

“St John Chrysostom puts it bluntly, ‘If you cannot see Christ in the beggar at the church doors, you will not find him in the chalice on the altar.’”

“And so I come once more with cap in hand, in my case probably with mitre in hand.”
Bishop Rabbat said the greatest tragedy would be for the Christian world to abandon its suffering communities in Syria.

“As time passes and the media pack moves on, the suffering survivors remain with nowhere to go, seemingly without hope, without a future,” he said.

“The greatest tragedy, one even greater than the earthquake itself, would be for them to think they have been forgotten.”

“Your generosity will no doubt mend many broken hearts and transform many lives, especially as we welcome the Feast of All Feasts, the Glorious Pascha.”

Priests who would like to support the appeal are encouraged to take up a one-off or exit collection after Mass.

Donate to Bishop Robert Rabbat’s Appeal

Ref: Syrian Appeal
BSB: 062 784
Account: 100011493

All donations are tax deductible. Email [email protected] or call 02 9750 5514 for a receipt.

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