Current Issue
September, 2019
Volume 45, Number 3
27 September 2013
J.D. Conor Mauro

In this 2012 photo, Anaadi Ahmad, a refugee from Homs, Syria, holds one of her children in a refugee camp in Al Four, at the foot of the mountains on Lebanon’s eastern border with Syria. (photo: CNS/Sam Tarling, Catholic Relief Services)

Lebanese official says Syrian refugees threaten Lebanon’s existence (Daily Star Lebanon) Energy Minister Gebran Bassil warned Friday the Syrian refugee crisis threatens the existence of Lebanon and said the country must stop receiving refugees. “The Syrian refugee crisis is the biggest crisis threatening the Lebanese entity,” Bassil told a news conference to address the surge in the number of Syrian refugees crossing into the country. “We should stop receiving refugees with the exception of those who need health care,” Bassil said. The United Nations is aiding over 750,000 Syrian refugees in Lebanon, and there are hundreds of thousands more people who are uncounted. Lebanese officials say the country needs more international aid to cope with the huge numbers of refugees…

Syrian refugees in Lebanon set differences aside (Al Monitor) The Syrian conflict has affected Lebanon on many occasions, with attacks against Hezbollah occurring in recent months alongside sectarian fighting in Tripoli. Refugees in precarious conditions, however, seem to have put their political differences aside in the face of dire odds. Most refugees agree that tensions about Syrians, though they exist, are minor compared with those between Lebanese and Syrians. Organizations dealing with Syrian refugees in Lebanon such as the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the Norwegian Refugee Council also report this finding. Dana Sleiman, an information officer for UNHCR, said that the organization has not observed “any form of political segregation” among Syrian refugees, but that “tensions appear mostly between Lebanese and Syrians, primarily on financial issues…”

Islamists torch statues, crosses in Syrian churches (AINA) Fighters linked to Al Qaeda set fire to statues and crosses inside churches in northern Syria on Thursday and destroyed a cross on a church clock tower, a watchdog said. Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) fighters entered the Greek Catholic Church of Our Lady of the Annunciation in the northern city of Raqa and torched the religious furnishings inside, the Syria Observatory for Human Rights said. They did the same at the Armenian Catholic Church of the Martyrs, and also destroyed a cross atop its clock tower, replacing it with the ISIL flag…

Orthodox patriarch shares pain of Syrian people with pope (Vatican Radio) The pain and suffering of Christians in Syria was at the heart of a meeting that Pope Francis had on Friday with Patriarch Youhanna X, head of the Greek Orthodox Church of Antioch and All the East. On Sunday the patriarch will attend Mass in St. Peter’s Square, celebrated by the pope to mark the Day of Catechists. In his encounter with the Holy Father, the patriarch spoke about the difficulties facing the Christian community in Syria and the surrounding region. He also talked about the plight of his own brother who was kidnapped last April, together with the Syriac Orthodox bishop of Aleppo. The two leaders also shared their hopes for progress on the journey towards full Christian unity…

Keeping the Khachkars (OCP Media Network) The cross is arguably the most familiar symbol of Christianity, but nowhere is this iconography as crucial or culturally entrenched as it is in Armenia. Wherever you go, thousands of khachkars, or cross-stones, provide a rare glimpse into the art of spiritual expression. Starting from the 4th century, the conversion of Armenians, and the instatement of Christianity — and by extension, the Armenian Apostolic Church — as a state religion in 301 issued a new era of national consciousness. Upon initial inspection, the khachkar bears resemblance to other forms of Christian art, namely the Celtic high cross and the Lithuanian kryzdirbyste, but in order to understand how a medieval stone became so charged with the Armenian spirit, a brief lesson in iconology is needed…

Tags: Lebanon Refugees Syrian Civil War Cultural Identity Armenia