2013 Assembly Statement on the Middle East

From the Assembly of Bishops

To our Orthodox Faithful

1. We, the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of North and Central America, representing millions of Orthodox Christians in the United States, Canada and Central America, express our grave concern over the escalation of political unrest and ongoing violence in countries throughout the Middle East, especially in Palestine, Egypt, Iraq and more recently in Syria.

2. Our Assembly repudiates any and all attacks on human beings, irrespective of race and religion, by means of violence, kidnapping, torture and killing. Moreover, we deplore the destruction of all places of worship. We are especially disheartened at the inexcusable indifference and unjustifiable inaction of authorities, which have failed to protect the Christian population and the broader public in these regions.

3. We implore all involved parties and political authorities, especially those of the countries we represent, to pursue vigorously all peaceful means for the resolution of the conflicts and the termination of the murder of men, women and children.

4. Finally, we appeal once more to the responsible persons for the release of all those kidnapped, especially the Greek Orthodox Metropolitan Boulos Yazigi (brother of His Beatitude Patriarch John X of Antioch) and the Syriac Orthodox Archbishop Yohanna Ibrahim, both of Aleppo, Syria.

5. The Assembly of Bishops urges people to remember that Christians in the Middle East, Egypt, and Syria have peacefully coexisted with all people in the region for two thousand years. As such, they must be respected and included in all decisions toward social and political justice.