Youhanna al-Yaziji Says Christians to 'Stay in Syria'

إقرأ هذا الخبر بالعربية W460

Syria's Greek Orthodox leader called on Christians on Saturday to remain in the country despite its spiraling conflict, which the U.N. recently described as "overtly sectarian."

Patriarch of Antioch and All the East Youhanna X al-Yaziji also appealed to warring parties to renounce violence and to start a process of dialogue.

In his first press conference in Damascus since he replaced Ignatius IV Hazim, who died on December 5, the new patriarch said: "We Christians are here in the country and we will stay here.

"We believe that Christ is always present in this region, which is where Christianity was born."

The patriarch spoke to reporters two days after a U.N. probe found that the Syrian conflict has become "overtly sectarian in nature."

The patriarch sought to downplay dangers faced by Christians.

"What is happening to us is happening to others too. We are in the same situation as everyone else, Muslims and Christians, shoulder to shoulder, facing the difficulties," said Yuhanna X.

The patriarch also called on warring parties to renounce violence "in all its forms," and to start a process of dialogue, "for our benefit, for the country, for the sake of peace (in Syria) and peace in the region."

"Dialogue," he said, should be "based on accepting one another."

There are some 1.8 million Christians in Syria, many of whom have remained neutral in the country's conflict. Others have taken Assad's side, for fear of the rise of Islamism.

Comments 3
Thumb Chupachups 22 December 2012, 16:39

Youhanna it is not u who will decide this unfortunately ..

Thumb JabalElFersan 23 December 2012, 00:58

Ya Bashar metlak min enta ya 3ali lejbin shu masar mamenmil ne7na jnoodak malayin ya Bashar ya Assad ya habib el malayin.

Sha3b el soori daiman rasoo marfoo3 - Syria Allah wl Assad 7miya! !

Default-user-icon Sunshine (Guest) 23 December 2012, 21:37

The patriarch is living in LaLaLand... Has he not seen what is happening next door in Egypt and in every islamic country?

What is sad in the story of Christian persecution in muslim lands is the flock listens to the Patriarch whom they believe is a learned individual. Sadly, it is not always the case.