(Vatican Radio) Christians have been “forgotten” in the ongoing Syrian conflict and the severe humanitarian crisis it has created, said Aleppo’s archbishop in an interview with Vatican Radio.
“Half our population has left, and people live in extreme poverty,” said Archbishop Jean-Clément Jeanbart, archbishop of the Melkite Greek Catholic Archeparchy of Aleppo.
Speaking with Vatican Radio correspondent Christian Peschken at the UN in Geneva, the archbishop of the Syria’s largest spoke on the ongoing situation in the war-torn nation, especially its effects on Christians in the region.
Listen to Vatican Radio correspondent Christian Peschken speaking with Archbishop Jeanbart:
The Church is offering what help it can with the support of agencies such as Aid to the Church in Need, the Knights of Columbus, and Caritas Internationalis, Archbishop Jeanbart said.
Other agencies, however, often only distribute aid to refugees living in tents, leaving many Christians without support.
“They are in houses in common, they are in houses of their relatives, or they are resisting in their houses: remaining in Aleppo.”
Archbishop Jeanbart lauded Christians for enduring through very difficult circumstances.
“We have to congratulate them [on their] heroic attitude and behavior.”
“That is why we try to concentrate our help to Christians: not to exclude others, but because they are the people who need more than anyone to be helped,” he said.
“They are forgotten, and we do not want them to be forgotten.”
Later in the interview, Archbishop Jeanbart acknowledged the efforts made by Pope Francis to help Middle Eastern Christians.
He addressed the meeting between the Pope and Patriarch Kirill of the Russian Orthodox Church, and their joint declaration which appeals on behalf of persecuted Christians in the Middle East.
This meeting was “very important,” with the joint declaration “to help Christians in the Middle East and to save them from the desperation in this country,” he said.
“Every day, more people are becoming aware of what is happening, and the danger in the country is in front of us.”