Monday, October 12, 2015

Melkites welcome Russian involvement in Syria

(Catholic Herald) - One of Syria’s leading churchmen has welcomed Russia’s intervention.

Melkite Greek Catholic Archbishop Jean-Clément Jeanbart of Aleppo told Swiss television that Vladimir Putin’s intervention was a source of “hope” for the country’s Christians.

The Russian president, Archbishop Jeanbart told Télévision Suisse Romande, “serves the Christians’ cause”, even if Moscow was only serving its own interests.

Archbishop Jeanbart spoke of a “renewal of confidence” among Christians in Syria, adding that President Putin “is solving a problem”.

Russia escalated its military involvement late last month, launching attacks on Syrian rebels in Homs, and against ISIS in the formerly heavily Christian village of Al-Qaryatayn, which the terrorist group overran in the summer.

ISIS, which controls the east of the country, has carried out numerous atrocities against Christians and other minorities. However, the al-Assad regime has been blamed for the majority of the 200,000 deaths since the conflict began in 2011.


  1. It's a strange world we live in. I absolutely despise what Russia has done in the Ukraine, though I admire the effectiveness with which it was executed.

    With Syria, I am glad Putin has decided to annihilate the terrorists "moderate" or otherwise and leave Obama whimpering that "I am totally in control, guys!". Someone needs to take out the savages of Daesh and Putin is the only one with the spine to do so.

  2. It is a confusing situation as to what the end will be for Putin's involvement in Syria:

    RISU, 7 October 2015

    Christians living in Syria have responded very negatively to recent statements of an official representative of the Russian Orthodox church, in which he called the air strikes delivered by Russian warplanes a part of a sacred struggle. This is being reported by BBC.

    The report recalls that the head of the synod's Department for Relations of Church and Society of the Moscow patriarchate, Archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin, stated: "The struggle with terrorism and for a just peace and the dignity of people who are experiencing the challenge of terror is very moral and is, if you will, a holy struggle, and today our country is, probably, the most active force in the world that is opposing terror."

    The priest also emphasized that Russia has always played "a special role" in the Middle East.

    In response to this statement, one of the leaders of the Syrian Christian church, Bishop Ilias Tuma, stated: "There cannot be any kind of holy war in Christianity! Regardless of whether someone agrees with this or not."

    Yet another Syrian priest, Ispiridon Tanus, stated in an interview with the website Suriyat, which sympathizes with the opposition, that Russia is playing with fire: "Martyrs in our church will not become martyrs of war; they are victims of war."

    At the same time, an announcer of the pan-Arab sattelite television channel Al-Jazera, Feisal al-Kasim, wrote on his Twitter page: "When the Russian church describes the Russian intervention in Syria as a holy war, it thereby unwittingly calls Muslims to jihad."

    Many Christian commentators on social networks also have expressed anger over the words of the press secretary of the RPTs. "The unchristian and unethical statements of the Russian church do not reflect either the views of Christians of the East or of Christianity in general. Let's recall that the idea of 'holy war' came from the western crusaders," Nadzhib Georg Avad wrote on Facebook.

    "We Christians of the Middle East believe in holy peace and coexistance," he added. (tr. by PDS, posted 9 October 2015)

  3. I guess what Israel did to the Canaanites doesn't count.

    1. Do you know of any Father of the Orthodox Church who considered Israel's exploits in the OT a template for Christian action in the world or who interpreted and applied those historical passages in this way? Were they not, rather, considered "shadows" and "types," the spiritual meaning and application of which is revealed and fulfilled in Christ's conquest of Hell? Your comment here seems to reflect a mindset akin to Puritan theodicy, but is foreign to Orthodox Tradition. Perhaps it was meant tongue in cheek?