The courageous bishop from embattled Aleppo spoke of the Holy Land he comes from: Syria, where millions of martyrs for the Christian faith are buried in its soil and many continue to be persecuted and killed for their faith in Christ today. As he led the university community in prayer in the Byzantine Chapel, he asked all those present to pray for his country and region, that the Christians might be able and willing to stay in their ancestral homelands. The most important reason for this need, the Archbishop noted, is that the oriental Christians are the only possibility for the Muslims in those lands to meet the living images of Jesus Christ. Only when Christians - who are the original inhabitants of the Middle East - live, work and pray in this region, can the Gospel be spread effectively. For centuries Christians in the Middle East have been impeded from proclaiming their faith, but in recent decades new freedoms have allowed them to live their faith more openly, especially through new media opportunities and better communication possibilities. It is thus vital that Christianity not be chased away from the lands where Christ and his apostles first worked. Archbishop Jeanbart insisted that he will work until the end, until his last breath, to make sure that Christians stay in Syria and other Middle Eastern countries. He asked all those present to pray for this fervently.
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