4 March, 2015 AsiaNews.it Twitter AsiaNews.it Facebook            

Help AsiaNews | About us | P.I.M.E. | | RssNewsletter | Mobile





mediazioni e arbitrati, risoluzione alternativa delle controversie e servizi di mediazione e arbitrato
e-mail this to a friend printable version


» 12/03/2013
SYRIA - VATICAN
For Gregory III, Syria's Greek-Catholic Church has three "true martyrs"
by Fady Noun
The patriarch spoke to the pope about the tragic events in Maaloula, the Syrian Christian village where people still speak Aramaic. In a climate of terror, three men were told to repudiate their faith, and when they refused, they were publicly executed.

Beirut (AsiaNews) - The Syrian Greek-Catholic Church has three "true martyrs". They are the "three men from Maaloula who refused to repudiate their faith," and were killed for this reason, said Patriarch Gregory III Laham during his meeting with Pope Francis on Sunday, this according to a press release issued by the Catholic Patriarchate of Antioch and All the East, of Alexandria and Jerusalem of the Melkites.

The events that led to the three men's death occurred during fighting on 3 -7 September in the town of Maaloula.

According to eyewitness accounts, men from the Syrian Free Army and the Jabhat al-Nusra Islamic Front carried out a coordinated attack in order to take control of Maaloula.

When the town fell, a climate of fear was imposed, witnesses said. When three men refused to repudiate their religion, they were summarily executed in public, and six more were taken hostage. This was followed by a failed attempt by Syrian government forces to retake the town (pictured).

"You," Gregorios III told the pope, "spoke to us, asking us not to let the flame of hope die in our hearts . . . . We want to be martyrs on this earth, martyrs in blood, as was the case for some of our faithful, including the three men from Maaloula: Michel Thalab, Mtanios Thalab and Sarkis Zachem."

"Holy Father, they are true martyrs. Ordered to give up their faith, they proudly refused. Three others however gave in and were forced to declare themselves Muslim, but later returned to the faith of their ancestors."

According to what the families who fled from Maaloula had to say, some of their Muslim neighbours took part in the attack that devastated this historic village where people still speak Aramaic, the language of Jesus. Muslims are approximately one third of the population of the village, which is about 50 kilometres from Damascus.

"Our Church, which you love, today is a church in distress," the Patriarch said. "For this church, which is facing an unprecedented situation in its history, you are Simon of Cyrene, who carried the cross."

"Like the Blessed Pope John Paul II who, through his prayers and brave actions brought down the Berlin Wall, you, Holy Father, have performed a miracle, calling on Christians and the whole world to fast and pray. You brought about a turning point in the Syrian crisis and in the vision of global politics. The world, after 7 September 2013, has changed."

 


e-mail this to a friend printable version

See also
03/21/2008 DAY OF THE MARTYRS
The Easter of the Martyrs
by Bernardo Cervellera
03/21/2008 DAY OF THE MARTYRS
". . .for you and for all ", the Christian martyrs killed in 2007
03/23/2006 MARTYRS' DAY
A Rosary for the martyrs
by Bernardo Cervellera
04/22/2014 SYRIA
For Gregorios III, the destruction of Ma'aloula churches is a "war crime"
by Fady Noun
12/02/2013 SYRIA
For Gregorios III Laham, "the Christian mission in Syria is reconciliation among Muslims"
by Simone Cantarini

Editor's choices
EGYPT - ISLAM
What Tayeb and Sisi said is big step towards a revolution in Islam
by Samir Khalil SamirThe grand imam of Al-Azhar slammed literalist interpretations of the Qur'an and the Sunnah, as fundamentalists and Islamic terrorists do. He supports the urgent need for Islam's reform, especially in terms of teaching lay people and clerics. He also calls for an end to mutual excommunication (takfir) between Sunnis and Shias. Egyptian President al-Sisi chose to fight the Islamic state group after it beheaded 21 Coptic Christians, whom he called "Egyptian citizens" with full rights.
SAUDI ARABIA - ISLAM
For head of Al-Azhar, religious education reform is needed to stop Islamic extremismFor Ahmed al-Tayeb, it is urgent to come up with new educational programmes to avoid "corrupt interpretations" of the Qur'an and Sunnah. Islamic terrorism undermines the unity of the Muslim world. He blames Mideast tensions on a "new global colonialism allied to world Zionism". a speech by the Saudi king is read at the conference.
HONG KONG - CHINA - VATICAN
It looks like someone is trying to shout us down
by Card. Joseph Zen Ze-kiunThe widespread optimism concerning the dialogue between the Holy See and China is largely groundless. Some Chinese bishops unable to speak freely are asked "leading" questions. The key issues remain unresolved, namely episcopal appointments and the fate of the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association. Benedict XVI's Letter to Chinese Catholics, also cited by Pope Francis, provides guidelines. No agreement is better than a bad agreement. What happened to Msgr. Cosma Shi Enxiang and Msgr. James Su Zhimin? Hong Kong's bishop emeritus, champion of religious freedom in China, delivers a vibrant reflection.

Dossier

by Giulio Aleni / (a cura di) Gianni Criveller
pp. 176
Copyright © 2003 AsiaNews C.F. 00889190153 All rights reserved. Content on this site is made available for personal, non-commercial use only. You may not reproduce, republish, sell or otherwise distribute the content or any modified or altered versions of it without the express written permission of the editor. Photos on AsiaNews.it are largely taken from the internet and thus considered to be in the public domain. Anyone contrary to their publication need only contact the editorial office which will immediately proceed to remove the photos.