|Chaldean Bishop Ibrahim Ibrahim, Antiochian Orthodox Metropolitan Joseph and Syriac Catholic Patriarch Ignace Joseph III Younan at an ecumenical service in Washington (CNS)|
United in the suffering of their people, five Catholic and Orthodox patriarchs from the Middle East urged Westerners to take action to help ensure that Christians and other minorities can remain in the Middle East.
“Christians are not (just) looking for humanitarian aid. They are looking for humanitarian action, to save Christianity in the Middle East,” said Catholicos Aram of Cilicia, patriarch of the Armenian Apostolic Church.
The Armenian patriarch said a comprehensive strategy is needed to defeat Islamic State extremism that “threatens the very survival of Christianity” in places like Iraq and Syria. He said it was essential to promote human rights, pluralism and religious freedom.
The September 11 panel was part of an inaugural summit, In Defence of Christians (running from September 9-11), a new Washington-based group formed to promote awareness of the plight of Christians in the Middle East, and to lobby US policymakers on their behalf.