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Catholic Patriarch: The challenge for Middle East Christians is to come home

Ignatius Joseph III Younan is determined to persuade them not to abandon Syria and Iraq.

Most Catholics who depend on the “patriarch of Antioch and all the East of the Syrians” should live in Iraq, Syria and Turkey. That is why Ignatius Joseph III Younan’s priority is to stop the diaspora of Christians escaping the Middle East because of wars and violence.

Ignatius Joseph III Younan, Patriarch of the Syriac Catholic Church
“The problem is convincing our flock to be patient and return home. It is very hard to convince our young generations to return because it’s very sad to say they lost their hope and confidence in the government, local government, and also with the way the international community is dealing with those problems.”

The Syriac Catholic Church is one of the first Christian communities. In fact, the word “Christian” was used for the first time in Antioch. Today, they have 1,500,000 faithful, but only 300,000 reside in the land of their roots.

Ignatius Joseph III Younan, Patriarch of the Syriac Catholic Church
“It’s not easy to convince our people to live up to their Christian vocation in those very horrendous situations they experience. And we keep trying to help them, to inspire them with hope, with confidence. And most important thing, we keep praying for them.”

He explains that their main problem is the chaos that reigns in the region, because chaos is a great enemy of religious minorities, such as Christians.

That is why Patriarch Younan asks the great world powers to leave their interests to the side, and impose peace in the region.