During the Angelus of Sunday 25 August 2013, His Holiness Pope Francis launched an appeal for peace in Syria, which he was pleased to describe as “beloved.”
It was said in this appeal that His Holiness continues “with great distress and anxiety to follow the situation in Syria… in a war between brothers and sisters with the escalation of massacres and acts of atrocity.”
His Holiness raises his voice with prophetic boldness, repeating the call that “the clash of weapons may be silenced.”
His Holiness expresses in heartfelt tones his love and “closeness with prayers and solidarity to all the victims of this conflict, to all who are suffering, especially the children,” and asks us “to keep the hope of peace ever alive.”
His Holiness addresses his appeal “to the international community to …help … find a solution to this war that is sowing destruction and death.”
He ends his appeal by praying to the Virgin Mary, Queen of Peace.
We should like to thank His Holiness in the name of the Church here in Syria for this very impressive appeal; or rather we thank him in the name of all Christian and Muslim denominations of the Syrian nation for his sincere fatherly feeling.
We regret that the stance of many Arab Eastern and European and Western countries is one of pride, a bullying attitude, with warning threats, muscle-flexing and sending weapons, and mercenary fighters.
We regret seeing many countries, instead of hastening the preparation for Geneva II for peace, scrambling to raise the tone of threats with more means of war and destruction.
In the face of all this, we ask you: who drove people in Syria to this so-called “red line”? Who brought the country to the risk of chemical weapons? Who drove this country to almost systematic destruction? Those very countries!
We pray for those heads of state to heed the Holy Father’s voice, and that of the bishops and spiritual leaders of Syria and all those who are calling for reconciliation, dialogue and peace in the world.
We ask all our bishops to disseminate Pope Francis’ appeal by all means, especially in our parishes and churches.
Patriarch of Antioch and All the East
Of Alexandria and of Jerusalem