middle east christians

Pence rebukes U.N. efforts to help Christians, announces Middle East trip

WASHINGTON — U.S. Vice President Mike Pence criticized the United Nations' efforts to help persecuted Christians in the Middle East in a speech Oct. 25.

Since the organization "failed" to help Christians and other minority religious communities, he said, aid from the United States from now on would be routed through the U.S. Agency for International Development and "faith-based and private organizations" to help those who are persecuted in the region.

Christians need time to rebuild trust before return to Mosul region

People from Mosul, Iraq, raised a wooden cross near St. Georges Monastery April 24. Some Iraqi Christians who are making their slow return to ancestral lands say it will take time to rebuild their lives and trust of those who betrayed them.

AMMAN, Jordan — As some Iraqi Christians make a slow return to the region around Mosul following the defeat of the Islamic State group, many say it will take time to rebuild their lives and even longer to rebuild their trust of those who betrayed them.

"The war isn't finished yet and neither is the Islamic State. There is no stability and there is still fighting in Mosul," said Patriarch Louis Sako, head of Iraq's Chaldean Catholic Church, who visited Mosul July 20, touring churches left badly damaged during the city's three-year occupation by the extremists.

Patriarchs: Ensure Christians can remain in Mideast

WASHINGTON -- United in the suffering of their people, five Catholic and Orthodox patriarchs from the Middle East urged Westerners to take action to help ensure that Christians and other minorities can remain in the Middle East.

"Christians are not (just) looking for humanitarian aid. They are looking for humanitarian action, to save Christianity in the Middle East," said Catholicos Aram of Cilicia, patriarch of the Armenian Apostolic Church.

Catholics in Mideast concerned over potential action in Syria

An Israeli Postal Service employee helped a man to adjust a gas mask at a distribution point in the West Bank Jewish settlement of Maale Adumim near Jerusalem Aug. 26. For Christians in the Mideast, Pope Francis’ appeal for prayers for peace in Syria takes on special meaning.

JERUSALEM -- Pope Francis' appeal to pray for peace in Syria has a particular urgency for Catholics in the region, who say their countries are most likely to suffer the brunt of any attacks on Damascus.

On Sept. 4, a Senate committee passed a resolution authorizing a limited military response in Syria.

In Bethlehem, West Bank, Father Marwan Di'ides said parishioners at St. Catherine Parish would offer special prayers of peace during all eight Masses over the weekend of Sept. 7.

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