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How the church is keeping the flame of hope burning in Syria

Find out what the local church is up to and join us in prayer for peace in Syria and around the world.

Bishop Botros Kassis and Rachael Adams | 11 Mar 2022

Night shot of Convent of Saint Takla in Maloula, Syria | Image credit: Christoph Hilger/Shutterstock

As Syria marks 11 years of conflict this month, it can be easy to become disillusioned. More than a decade of families being torn apart by violence and fear. But the local church in Syria hasn’t lost hope. In fact, it is leading the way in rebuilding and restoring communities. Bishop Botros Kassis, from one of Tearfund’s church partners in Syria, gives the following update and calls us into a time of prayer:

The church has made a great effort to keep the flame of hope burning in the hearts of people who are suffering. The first thing it did was keep its doors open to receive people in need and provide them with what they need to help and support them.

The doors of the churches were kept open, and prayers were not interrupted, even in the most difficult and harsh security conditions.

In their sermons and their lives, the ministers of the Word gave the best example of patience, courage, endurance of pain, and faith working in love. They were before the people of Christ in all their sufferings and helped them, using all their energy, and with spiritual support and practical items.

But this has not been without trial.

Bishop Botros Kassis is one of the church leaders Tearfund works with in Syria. He invites us to join with the church in Syria to pray for peace | Image credit: Bishop Botros Kassis

In the midst of a storm

After long years of conflict, no aspect of life in Syria has remained without damage or brokenness. It could be described as tragic on all levels.

There has been a dramatic increase in need across Syria as prices for essentials – like fuel and food – keep going up. High levels of inflation have hit the economy hard. The monthly income of most Syrian families is five times less than what they need – and that’s if they only wanted to cover their basic needs.

The medical situation has become very difficult in Syria – especially after the coronavirus pandemic struck. Most medical supplies are imported, and due to price increases, it is no longer possible for most people in Syria to bear these expenses. Medicine to treat cancer, for example, is unaffordable.

The hardest problem in society though is how we care for the most vulnerable; the elderly, women and children. Our society is proud of our strong family relations, but the prolonged conflict has led to major changes and family breakdown.

I expect we may be in the midst of a storm and the end result will be bad for community safety. Because poverty – and the diminishing of resources – can breed violence and discord.

How the church is helping

My Syriac Orthodox Church plays an active and vital role in supporting both individuals and society as a whole. My church has a special relief body, St. Ephrem the Syriac Patriarchal Commission for Development. This was established ten years ago and it provides support to all segments of Syrian society without any discrimination, neither religious nor ethnic.

Among the things we do are:

I would like you to join us to pray for peace in Syria, the region and across the whole world. We miss peace. We would like the whole world to strive to enable peace to flourish in all societies. Blessed are the peacemakers, because they are called children of God (Matthew 5:9). Let us pray.

Pray with us

O King of kings and Lord of lords, King of Peace and Saviour of the world, who taught us to ask for anything in your name, and it is ours.

You said to us, ask, and it will be given, seek and you will find, and whatever we ask for by faith we will receive. We ask for your mercy for the sake of our suffering country, Syria, where the forces of evil resided and proved their great potential in sowing despair and spreading war and destruction everywhere.

O Lord, show that you are the God who is capable of everything. You are the victor and the strong, you are the Saviour and the lover of mankind. The Earth needs you, Lord; it needs your grace; it needs your peace. Do not delay from us. Show your glory, which was shown to the disciples, so that they may believe that you are the Son of God in truth. Show it in our lives and help us.

Hear our prayers; we are your servants who are waiting for your mercy. And send, O Lord, from the treasures of your mercies, healing for the sick and wellness for the afflicted. A release for the captives and a relief for the hurt, a fulfilment for the hungry and a sustenance for the needy.

We worship and glorify your holy, glorified and blessed name of all mankind. O Father, Son and Holy Spirit at all times, amen.

  Bishop Botros Kassis and Rachael Adams

Bishop Botros Kassis is with the Syriac Orthodox Church and works with the St Ephrem Patriarchal Development Committee – one of Tearfund’s local partners in Syria.


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