“Religious and cultural diversity will be lost”

Iraqi Christians in a church © dpa

During his visit to the Syrian Orthodox monastery in Warburg, Bishop Markus Droge expressed his concern about the situation of Christians in Syria and Iraq. At the same time, he thanked the monks of the monastery for their commitment to refugees in Germany.

The civil wars in Iraq and Syria and the persecution of Christians by the IS terrorist militia threaten the existence of Christian churches, said Berlin's Bishop Droge during a visit to the Syrian Orthodox monastery in Warburg, Westphalia.

Without Christians, the religious and cultural diversity in the Near and Middle East, in which Christians, Jews and Muslims live primarily in the cities, is in danger of being lost.

Refugees in Germany should live traditions

Even the language of Jesus, Aramaic, could disappear for good, Droge warned, according to a spokeswoman. "Therefore, it is all the more important that the Oriental Christians can preserve their traditions with us and that everything humanly possible is done so that they can live their faith in freedom again in Iraq and Syria," said the bishop of the Evangelical Church of Berlin-Brandenburg-Silesian Upper Lusatia, who is also chairman of the Evangelical Middle East Commission (Emok).

Monks are contact persons for refugees

Droge praised Syrian Orthodox monastery's commitment to refugees. "I'm very impressed with how the monks have pulled together and are providing assistance to refugees as points of contact to help them live in Germany," he said.

Syrian Orthodox Archbishop Mor Philoxenus Mattias Nayis complained that life is becoming increasingly difficult for Christians in Syria and Iraq because there is hardly any food there.

Syrian archbishop grateful for German help

"We don't know how much longer we can tell our brothers and sisters in the faith to stay there and hold out," Nayis said. He is grateful to the German state, which has given a total of seven million euros to Christians in these countries to date.

On Thursday, Droge will visit the Coptic Orthodox monastery in Hoxter to talk with Bishop Anba Damian about the situation of Christians in Egypt and commitment to refugees.

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