The Church Times – Gerald Butt
THE Pope, the Archbishop of Canterbury, and other church leaders took the opportunity of the celebration of Christmas to pledge support for the oppressed Christian communities in the Middle East.
On Christmas Day itself, Iraq experienced one of the worst atrocities aimed at the country’s Christian minority, when at least 34 people were killed in bombings in Baghdad. Many thousands of Syrian Christians, meanwhile, are among the millions of civilians displaced by the war in their country.
In his Christmas Day sermon in Canterbury Cathedral, Archbishop Welby said that, while Christians were singing about Bethlehem, “we see injustices in Palestine and Israel, where land is taken or rockets are fired, and the innocent suffer. We see injustice in the ever more seriously threatened Christian communities of the Middle East. The Prince of Wales highlighted their plight last week.”
The Archbishop also referred to the killings that day in Iraq, “where there have been Christians since the first century”, and where “more people testified to their faith with their lives. Christians in the region are attacked and massacred, driven into exile from an area in which their presence has always been central, undoubted, essential, richly contributing, faithful.”
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