by Natalie Hami
ARCHBISHOP Chrysostomos said yesterday that Christianity in the Middle East and especially in Syria was in danger due to the troubles in the area.
“We’re really concerned what will happen to our Christians in the Middle East….we’re concerned about the refugees that have left Syria, plenty have gone to Jordan,” said the Prelate.
Chrysostomos was speaking at a news conference at the Archbishopric on the ‘Orthodox Initiative.’ The Patriarch of Alexandria and Africa, his Beatitude Theodoros, and Patriarch of the Holy City of Jerusalem and Palestine his Beatitude Theophilos also took part to outline the objectives for the initiative concerning the socio-economic changes occurring in the Middle East.
His Beatitude Theophilos said they had filled a container full of clothes and food, among other useful items that will be sent o Jordan where a lot of Syrian refugees have fled.
“Items such as blankets, clothing, food, toiletries, toys, school supplies and other items have been collected…the container is ready and will be sent from Cyprus to Jordan,” he said.
According to Theophilos around 20,000 refugees have ended up in Jordan, some being hosted in people’s homes and others in camps.
Chrysostomos said that even though a number of Syrian refugees had ended up in Turkey, “due to the problems we have with Turkey we can’t send anything there.”
He pointed out that Christians and other minorities will suffer now because under President Bashar al-Assad’s regime they were protected.
“Assad’s government protected these minorities and Christians and now if the extremists prevail in Syria, minorities and Christians will be the first to suffer the consequences, this worries us,” he said.
The Prelate also stressed that during their meeting the senior Orthodox clergy decided they should visit Brussels and Washington to talk about the problems concerning these countries.
The initiative is also part of a joint project with the Orthodox churches in the Middle East in which groups of youths arrived on the island from the patriarchates of Alexandria and Jerusalem, among others, to take part in a programme with youths from the Church in Cyprus. Activities will take place at a camp site in Kakopetria with a view to strengthening further the ties between the Churches.