An archbishop in Iraq has appealed for Christians to stay in the Middle East, saying that they have “no choice” but to help bring about peace to the troubled region.
Bashar Warda, the Catholic Chaldean archbishop of Erbil, in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, said that the Church must play a role in “rebuilding the future”, providing jobs for communities and helping people to preserve their dignity.
Archbishop Warda, who is opening the Catholic University of Erbil, told the National Review: “The Middle East needs Jesus. Christians need to stay. And not just to stay, but to live in a dignified way, and to be able to preach and to give Jesus. In the midst of all this violence, Jesus is needed.”
He continued: “A violent, troubled Middle East needs mercy. Jesus is mercy … Most of the communities that you have here – they came running from violence, from persecution, looking for a better life … Enough of wars, enough of violence, enough of all these atrocities. We have to help people live a peaceful life. There’s no other choice.”
Warda said that Christians and the Church must not accept “victim status” in the region. “I would like that the Church would have a role in rebuilding the future,” he said. “I don’t like to see our people marginalised. Being a victim is a sad story, but to accept this status that you are a victim is a tragedy. So you have to encourage people to really speak and act and to take an action, provide also some decent jobs for our community.”
Currently, there are more than 1.4 million displaced people in refugee camps in northern Iraq, and many Christians stuck in these camps feel abandoned by Christians in the West, according to a report published this month by Aid to the Church in Need.
Around 125,000 Christians were forced from their homes when ISIL launched its offensive in northern Iraq in 2014.
- Pray for Iraq’s Christian population, for courage and enduring faith in the face of the ongoing threats to their communities. Pray for peace to surround them, and that they will catch the vision of Archbishop Warda for their region, to be the hands and feet of Jesus to their troubled nation.
- Pray for Iraq as it continues with ongoing power struggles in the government and with ISIL. Pray for good government, for and end to the conflict that continues to kill so many innocent people, and for God’s grace and healing to flow through this land.
- Pray for Christians in refugee camps around Iraq and the Middle East, for protection over them and their families, and for Western countries to open their doors to more Christian refugees.
- Pray for a move of the Holy Spirit over Iraq and the Middle East, for many people to encounter Jesus through dream, vision and the witness of Christians around them, and for communities and lives to be transformed and healed through the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Matthew 5 vs 14: “‘You are the light of the world. A city built on a hill cannot be hidden.”
Source: http://www.christiantoday.com/article/, http://www.persecution.org