Damascus 'Apocalypse'

Fides, the Vatican news agency, has a report from inside Damscus from the Maronite Archbishop Samir Nassar. The news is distressing to say the least:

"One lives an apocalypse in Damascus, and we hope with all our heart, mind and strength, that resurrection may soon arrive": is the message sent to Fides Agency by His Exc. Mgr. Samir Nassar, Maronite Archbishop of Damascus. In the dramatic testimony, the Archbishop said: "Since Tuesday fighting has been raging in Damascus with heavy weapons, tanks and helicopters, in a city full of civilians. The destruction is enormous. What an ordeal! The clashes are taking place in the streets and moving from one district to another. I cannot sleep for fear and for the noise of bombs and gunfire. The temperature is above 40° [104° F] and often there are power outages. There is insufficient supply in many areas, we are short of bread, vegetables, cooking gas and fuel for the furnaces. The population is terrified and does not know where to take shelter. The roads to Jordan, Iraq, to Aleppo and the north area of Homs are closed. You see a long snake of people fleeing on the road to Lebanon: an exodus that occurs in the general panic."


Turning to the displaced of Damascus, the Archbishop says: "I hope you find a home, remembering that in the past, the Syrians welcomed the Palestinian, Lebanese and Iraqis refugees."

Mgr. Nassar continues: "The few faithful who had the courage to come to Mass lit many candles at the tomb of the Blessed Martyrs of Damascus. They exchanged greetings and tears, in fear of seeing each other for the last time, before returning home between gunfire and explosions." The violence that has torn the other cities of Syria had been spared in Damascus: "Now it is our turn to suffer and die. We have just built a shelter under the stairs, to escape the bombs and the cellars of the parish have been cleared up. It is an apocalypse: we hope that resurrection arrives soon, after much suffering."

Another report from Vatican Insider hints at the extremely precarious position of Christian leaders in Syria and average Christians as they attempt to negotiate the nation's volatile political conditions. Assad has been a protector to the Christian minority, but clearly supporting him through thick and thin carries its own weighty risks and even a perfectly executed diplomacy is no guarantee that things will turn out well for Christians in the end whoever ends up in charge in Damascus. Apparently anticipating an Assad collapse, Melkite Patriarch Gregory III Laham, leader of the largest Catholic community in Syria has released a 24 point statement defending Syria's Christian leaders against accusations of scheming with the Assad regime. “The State and its leaders,” Gregory wrote, “have never suggested or invited pastors to make a declaration or adopt a certain position. The freedom of pastors has been guaranteed everywhere to date, both in behavioural terms and in terms of public and private declarations."

The church's efforts to during the past year to promote stability and national reconcililation, then to press for a peaceful resolution to the crisis are now apparently viewed by some within the Syrian resistance as evidence of collusion with the regime. Some early reports from church sources which seemed to confirm the Assad regime's version of events may come back to haunt them if the regime indeed falls.

Comments are automatically closed two weeks after an article's initial publication. See our comments policy for more.
Carlos Orozco
6 years 9 months ago
I am no fan of Assad, but the Western-armed Wahhabi and Salafi radicals and their al-Qaeda (al-CIAda, say some) brothers are far worse. The Christian communities would be the most vulnerable if the Islamists won. Their situation would be far worse than in the neighbor Iraq, a neocon strategically lost war.

Somebody call back Obama from the campaign trail and ask him to act as a sitting President, taking back control of foreign affairs from the bitter and blood-thirsty ladies that head the State Department and the UN Ambassadorship, whom are eager to start yet another war in the Middle East.

By the way, has anybody seen in the so called mainstream media any reports on the attacks on Christians by the "freedom fighters in Syria"? Even the Islamaphobes at FoxNews are silent. How strange.


Carlos Orozco
6 years 9 months ago

The  presstitutes of FoxNews, CNN, MSNBC, etc. are willing participants in the conspiracy to malinform the American people. However, their perversity is far less than that of individuals such as the despicable Hillary Clinton and Susan Rice, just to mention this Administration's war hawks.

With respect to Secretary Clinton, I guess her unhealthy obsession with armed conflicts dates back to the Vietnam war, where husband Bill served with the Marines... oh no... I just remembered he was actually a draft dodger.
Jim McCrea
6 years 9 months ago
Carlos: the "bloodthirsty ladies" of both genders inhabit Faux News Corp and the "Excellence in Broadcasting" nutwork.


The latest from america

Join Kirsten Powers, CNN analyst and USA Today columnist, and Rev. James Martin, S.J., Editor at Large of America Media and New York Times best-selling author, for a live show celebrating the 100th episode of Jesuitical.
America Media EventsApril 24, 2019
Prayers for Our Lady. Photo by Melissa Vida.
The air was still thick with smoke and the ash burnt the eyes of the onlookers, who were relieved to see the cathedral still standing. For many Catholics, the coincidence of the blaze occurring at the start of Holy Week speaks of the greater mysteries of Easter.
Melissa VidaApril 19, 2019
"Hillary and Clinton"
In Hnath’s play, Hillary has put all her bets on competence, while Bill unsurprisingly presses her to show more humanity.
Rob Weinert-KendtApril 19, 2019
The day before this issue went to press, we watched on our newsroom monitors the devastating fire at the Cathedral of Notre-Dame in Paris.
Matt Malone, S.J.April 19, 2019