Syrian Community Archbishop of Aleppo Comes to the Archdiocese of Boston

On Wednesday, April 22, 2015,  Melkite Archbishop Jean-Clément Jeanbart of Aleppo Syria landed in Boston with the mission of making the plight of Christians in Syria known and to testify to their courage in trying to rebuild their existence in the face of constant threats to their lives. Archbishop Jeanbart oversees the provision of pastoral and humanitarian care to local Roman Catholics, Maronites, Syrian and Greek Orthodox, Armenian Christians, adherents of other Eastern Churches as well as Muslim victims of violence and poverty of Aleppo. Aleppo was the country’s major commercial hub prior to the the Syrian civil war which began 4 years ago, but today the city of Aleppo is under threats by ISIS and lies in ruins and fear.


Photo Credit: Greg Tracey, The Boston Pilot

Bishop Jeanbart held an audience at the Pastoral Center of the Archdiocese of Boston, where he was welcomed by Bishop Kennedy, Director of Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs, and Episcopal Vicar for the New Evangelization, and delivered his plea to the many employees, priests, deacons, lay people and members of the community. Bishop Jeabart gave a beautiful and education history on the reality of Aleppo. He expressed that Aleppo is the oldest city in Syria and one of the earliest Christian Communities, the Apostles themselves were the ones who baptized the people after Pentecost.  Bishop Jeanbart went along to say that Aleppo was not only a holy ground but also a very prosperous and advanced city, where people lived in peace and embraced a fraternal ecumenical way of life . For years, Jews, Christians and Muslims have lived in peace in Aleppo,  all lived like brothers and sisters. Bishop Jeanbart even expressed that he was even closer to some of his Muslin Priest friends then his Christian Priest friends. Bishop Jeanbart partook in the building of shared/ecumanical churches where Roman Catholics and Orthodox Catholics and other Christians have shared the worship space. Sadly, this reality has now been lost and the persecution of Christians has been very hard. ” Aleppo is suffering very much” said Bishop Jeanbart “A lot of harm has been done, so much blood has been shed, there is destruction everywhere, bombing, churches being destroyed, and the people are scared” .


Photo Credit: Greg Tracey The Boston Pilot

Even among all of the suffering, Bishop Jeanbart still has hope, and that was his message to the people at the Pastoral Center. He talked about his movement “Build to Stay” in which the people are encouraged to stay in Syria. Bishop Jeanbart expressed that the people do not need to immigrate, that they are called to live in Syria, it is their mission to be there and be witnesses to the world, and that is what he wants to the the United States, the people do not need to immigrate they need to stayand be helped there. He said with great love and conviction that he will not stand to see the Church be destroyed in his life time. Bishop expressed that Syria need to be reconstructed not abandoned.

Bishop Jeanbart concluded his address with a call for help, a call for moral support and prayers, for this is not any regular war, it’s a spiritual war. He asked people to spread the word of the fact that his people want to stay in Syria, and they need support to do so, that is their mission, their calling. Bishop Jeanbart hopes that Aleppo will once again relive it’s brotherhood, where all live in peace no matter their religion. He hopes to create a Christian social movement which, sustained by a “solidarity fund,” will put local Christian professionals, tradespeople and artisans in a position to reestablish their professional lives and find the concrete means to remain in the country from which they are at risk of disappearing for good.


Photo Credit: Greg Tracey, The Boston Pilot



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