The Maronite Archbishop: "In Damascus people flee, pray and hope, and turn their gaze to the martyrs

Damascus (Agenzia Fides) - Bombs, shootings, violence, screaming, deaths rage in the city of Damascus in these hours. People "suffer, hope, escape, pray and, in these tragic hours, turn their gaze to the Blessed Martyrs of Damascus, of whom on July 10 we celebrated the memory," says to Fides His Exc. Mgr. Samir Nassar, Maronite Archbishop of Damascus. The Archbishop describes the situation in the Syrian capital: "On the streets of Damascus you see people fleeing, there are refugees who, desperate, cross the city in search of a refuge. The lack of charity structures, the embargo and the limited resources available do not help to face this emergency and contribute to fuelling anxiety." In the sad testimony, sent to Fides, the Archbishop says: "In this period of mindless violence, our voices are drowned by the long ordeal of the country and by a complexity that is blocking any diplomatic solution. The country is sinking in sorrow and gratuitous violence and there is still no end in sight, we have been in a protracted conflict for more than sixteen months". Mgr. Nassar stresses the serious practice of kidnapping: "Beyond the political divisions, unemployment and insecurity have favored the terrible phenomenon of people kidnapped for ransom. They are often abducted from school or factory. One should see the panic and anxiety of families struggling to collect from relatives, neighbors, friends and parishes a sum of money sufficient to save a kidnapped son, brother or father. This horrible practice paralyzes social life. We note that faith has weakened, children no longer go to catechism and pastoral activities languish. Many Christian families, terrified, think only about how to leave the country." "The Christian community, exhausted - concludes the Archbishop - turns, in silence and prayer, to the martyrs, that on July 10 last year we solemnly remembered: the three brothers, Francesco, Abdel-Mooti and Raffaele Massabki, Maronite Catholic laity , blessed and martyred during the persecution unleashed by the Turks in 1860 against the Church. They remind us of what Jesus said: Do not fear." (PA) (Agenzia Fides 18/7/2012)