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The 'Martyrs are Children of Resurrection and Life'--Easter 2015
"Human beings have been instrumentalized and commoditized. Religious conflict has become marketable. Killing the innocent has become a commodity and instrument and slaughtering Christians has become a tool."
By His Beatitude Patriarch Gregorios III
Many of our parishioners and other citizens have fallen as martyrs and victims of savage warfare. We should like to mention especially three groups of events that have really shaken our feelings and destroyed our morale and have caused fear to well up in our hearts, bringing many of us to emigrate because of fear and lack of security. Firstly, our brothers and sisters in Mosul and on the Nineveh Plain have been driven out; secondly, Daesh (ISIS) slaughtered 21 Copts who were Egyptian citizens, and thirdly there occurred the expulsion, killing and kidnapping of many of our Assyrian brothers and sisters, the sons and daughters of 35 villages along the Khabur River in Northern Syria. We offer our heartfelt condolences to all those who are grieving. We shall remain always trusting in the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, who has destroyed death.
We say to everyone in the East and in the West: dismiss any idea that this conflict is over religion. When I look at what is happening in our countries, it seems to me that Daesh (ISIS) has nothing whatever to do with religion. ISIS is rather an instrument which takes on, very foolishly and insolently, the outward aspect and show of a religious movement. However, in reality they show Islam in a most hideous, deceitful and fraudulent guise.
This is in the line of what Pope Francis said in his New Year’s Day letter for the World Day of Peace (2015) and in his Lenten Letter, in which he draws attention to the fact that humans should not be used. So I say with great certainty and with great pain that religion has become a tool; human beings have been instrumentalized and commoditized. Religious conflict has become marketable. Killing the innocent has become a commodity and instrument and slaughtering Christians has become a tool.
The Syrian crisis, or world war on Syria, has become an instrument and commodity. Those who profit from this situation and the tragedy of our Arab world and societies are many amongst us. Even killing Christian brothers and sisters and expelling them from their villages, properties and sanctuaries has become a tool for unfathomable ends. Killing our children, Christian children is also a commodity and tool for other reasons. The war on Syria is also a commodity: everyone is buying it; every citizen, one way or another, even among us, is using this crisis as a profitable commodity and we wonder whether something of Daesh ideology has not found its way into every human being nowadays.
How greatly we shall rejoice at the great feast, when joy will enter the hearts of all the fighters in Syria and they will discard their weapons and walk all together in the light of resurrection and life.
Let us be agents to build up the culture of life and not be instruments of death, war and destruction. That is the meaning of life: that is its beauty.
Christ is risen! He is risen indeed.
+ Gregorios III
This text is excerpted from the 2015 Easter message by the Patriarch of Antioch and All the East of Alexandria and of Jerusalem for the Melkite Greek Catholic Church.
ACN Photo; Gregorios III