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Pope, Christian leaders condemn use of violence against Syria

16 Apr 2018 – By Carol Glatz Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Sharply criticizing a failure to find nonviolent means of bringing peace to Syria and other parts of the world, Pope Francis appealed to world leaders to work for justice and peace.

“I am deeply disturbed by the current world situation, in which, despite the instruments available to international community, it struggles to agree on joint action in favor of peace in Syria and other regions of the world,” he said after praying the “Regina Coeli” with people gathered in St. Peter’s Square on 15 April.

“While I unceasingly pray for peace and invite all people of good will to keep doing the same, I appeal once again to all political leaders so that justice and peace may prevail,” he said.

The pope’s appeal came after the United States, France and the United Kingdom launched missiles on Syria on 13 April, targeting sites intended to weaken the nation’s chemical weapons capability. The missile strikes came one week after an alleged chemical attack in the Ghouta region, outside Damascus.

Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill of Moscow telephoned Pope Francis after the missile attack, he told reporters on 15 April at his residence outside of Moscow.

“We shared the common concern about the situation in Syria, and we talked about how Christians should influence this situation to stop violence, war and so many tragic victims as we have seen in these days,” he said, according to AsiaNews.

The patriarchate launched an initiative to unite Christian leaders from the East and West to promote peace and prevent a humanitarian crisis in Syria, said Father Aleksandr Volkov, spokesman for the Russian patriarchate.

Christians “cannot be silent when things like those of these days are taking place in Syria,” Patriarch Kirill said.

Other patriarchs taking part included Orthodox Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople, Greek Orthodox Patriarch Theophilos III of Jerusalem, Greek Orthodox Patriarch Theodore II of Alexandria and Greek Orthodox Patriarch John X of Antioch and all the East, according to Patriarch Kirill.

“Each of them has expressed a willingness to continue consultations to find a way to stop the bloodshed,” he added.

The Syrian Catholic and Orthodox patriarchs of Syria also publicly condemned the “brutal aggression” of the U.S.-led allied missile attack and called upon all churches in the countries that participated to likewise condemn the attack and urge their governments to work toward international peace.

In a statement issued 14 April from the Syrian capital of Damascus — the patriarchal seats of their respective churches — the patriarchs said they “condemn and denounce the brutal aggression that took place this morning against our precious country Syria by the U.S.A., France and the U.K., under the allegations that the Syrian government has used chemical weapons.”





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