Orthodox Patriarch urges Christians to remain in Syria

The head of the Greek Orthodox Church in Syria has urged all Christians to remain in the war-torn country and called for those on both sides of the civil war to accept each other and reach a compromise.

Making his first address in Damascus since taking over from the late Ignatius IV, John X (Yazigi), the patriarch of Antioch, said it was vital for Christians to refrain from leaving Syria.

“We Christians are in Syria and will remain here,” he said. “We believe Christ is always present in this area, which is the birthplace of Christianity.”

It is estimated that the Orthodox community in Syria numbers some 1.8 million people.

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