In the words of His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew to the 3rd Archon International Conference on Religious Freedom in Washington, DC in December 2017: “All Christian brothers and sisters in the Middle East are facing dire consequences due to the constant upheavals and disastrous war-making that have afflicted the region for a season of intolerable length….In trust we turn to the almighty and merciful God in a prayer for peace in the Holy Land and in the Middle East in general. We especially pray for the Churches in Egypt, Syria, and Iraq, which have suffered most grievously due to recent events. We encourage all parties regardless of their religious convictions to continue to work for reconciliation and for the just recognition of peoples’ rights. We are persuaded that it is not arms, but dialogue, pardon and reconciliation that are the only possible means to achieve peace. Our appeal continues to this day, more urgent than ever.”

For previous coverage of the persecution of Christians in Syria, see here.

“Casualties reported in missile attack on Syria church opening ceremony,” The New Arab, July 24, 2022:

Deaths and injuries were reported after an attack on a church opening ceremony in central Syria on Sunday.

At least two people were killed and more than 10 others wounded when a missile targeted a mass gathering in the Al-Suqaylabiyah in the Hama governorate, reported state-run SANA.

The ceremony marked the opening of the Hagia Sophia church, the construction of which began in 2020.

SANA accused Turkey-linked “terrorist groups” of firing the missile, a label given by the Syrian regime to most opposition groups in the war-torn country.

It did not provide further information.

Videos on social media showed moments the attack happened as well as the aftermath.

Other pro-regime reports said drones spotted flying over Al-Suqaylabiyah were “being dealt with by the Syrian army and national defence units,” adding that one armed drone crashed near the site of the official attack.

It was not immediately made clear who was responsible….