Despite the everyday violence and deaths of hundreds of thousands of residents in Syria in its ongoing civil war -- now in its fifth year -- a Catholic leader in Syria is asking young Christians to remain in the country, the Christian Headlines website reports today (September 4, 2015).
"The almost communal wave of youth emigration, especially in Syria, but also in Lebanon and Iraq breaks my heart, wounding me deeply and dealing me a deadly blow," Melkite Greek Catholic Patriarch Gregorios III said.
"Given this tsunami of emigration... what future is left for the Church? What will become of our homeland? What will become of our parishes and institutions?" Gregorios asked.
Christians in Syria have faced persecution and bombings that have destroyed neighborhoods and churches. The Islamic State terror group has kidnapped many people and sold abducted women as sex slaves. Nearly a half-million Christian Syrians have left the country since 2011.