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‘More than 120 Syrian churches destroyed by Islamists’

Middle East and North Africa

‘More than 120 Syrian churches destroyed by Islamists’

Patriarch John Yazigi. Photo: Wikipedia

More than 120 Syrian churches have been destroyed by Islamists during the conflict, according to the Patriarch of the Greek Orthodox Church on a visit to Moscow where he met with representatives of the government as well as the Russian Orthodox Church.

Patriarch John Yazigi of Antioch and All East, told Russian reporters that Christians from Russia were working to help rebuild the Christian community in Syria.

Following the ousting of Islamic State from most of Syria and Iraq, “the issue of providing assistance to people who need to return to their homes, creating jobs and bringing their lives back to normal comes to the fore,” he said.

The Patriarch added that there is now hope that the destroyed churches and other Christian buildings will be restored.

Churches have been deliberately targeted by Islamists in Syria. In July 2016, suspected Islamic State militants used explosives to blow up a church in the town of Qamishli, while Islamists destroyed a historic Armenian church in rebel-controlled Aleppo in April 2015.

Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and all Russia, told his Greek Orthodox brother, that the Russian Orthodox Church were organising fund-raising campaigns to support Syrian Christians.

“Now that practically the entire Syrian territory has been freed from terrorists, including the areas with the Christian population, the issue of providing assistance to people who need to return to their homes, creating jobs and bringing their lives back to normal comes to the fore,” Patriarch Kirill said.