altNAZARETH – Should Christians live in fear arising from the overall situation in the Middle East? More exactly from Daesh? The Latin Family’s Club of Nazareth invited Bishop Giacinto Boulos Marcuzzo, on 28 October, to a meditation get-together about a worrying phenomenon.

Between 150 and 200 persons gathered at St Anthony’s Pastoral Center to listen to Mgr Marcuzzo and share with him emotions, analysis and ideas. Among the participants were Fr Amjad Sabbara, ofm, many members of the Family’s Club of the three Catholic parishes – Latin, Melkite and Maronite – of the city, as well as an impressive number of young people.

Mgr Marcuzzo attempted to draw an analysis of the appalling situation of Christians in Syria, in Iraq, and in other Middle Eastern countries. He outlined reactions of the International Community and of the Universal Church, especially the Pope’s initiatives. He presented as well reactions, in terms of attitudes and facts, of the Eastern Churches, especially of Catholic Patriarchs during their visits to Iraq and USA, and of the Churches of the Holy Land (of the Patriarch, of Caritas, of the Pontifical Mission and of other associations : Al Liqa, CELRA, AOCTS, etc.)

On the other hand, the Patriarchal Vicar underscored conclusions of cultural, social and practical nature, deemed of basic importance to the local Christian Community in the Holy Land :

  • No reason to yield for fear and panic ;
  • Uniting and standing together in solidarity is an essential prerequisite ;
  • Standing against the tendency to emigrate ;
  • Laying emphasis on our inner force, by strengthening our attachment to Faith, with all its implications, without blowing up bridges and relations with others ;
  • Not to react negatively towards local Moslems, remembering that in light of certain threats and facts, whether past or present, that danger for Christians may also come from another side ;
  • Not to let ourselves be overrun by certain seducing “attractions” offered to Christians over the last period ;
  • Not to rely on the foreigner (“France must protect us …! What does Europe do? The Vatican?”.

A warm and interesting exchange of ideas ensued, revealing the spirit of a whole population overwhelmed by the news of the whole region, especially among youngsters. Faithful were able to think together to confront, while better prepared, challenges of the present and of the future.

Text : our correspondent of Nazareth / Photos : S.A.