The following letter was forwarded to me from a friend in the Midwest. Apparently it’s been circulated by email and church bulletins in the Antiochian Diocese of Wichita, which has a longstanding relationship with Met. Saba’s archdiocese.
Dear Brothers and Sisters, I hope my words find you and all the churches of the diocese very well.
We as Syrians and especially Christians are living in a very critical time. The tragedy in my country is terrible. The conflict is not just internal but it is a conflict of the world policies on my country.
The archdiocese has fared well until now ( in comparison to Homs and Aleppo). I can not guess what may happen in the next hour or day. We are living by God’s protectorate, He is our only refuge.
The archdiocese is now divided into two parts: Hauran and the mountains.
I have not been able to visit Daraa for the past 13 months. The last visit to Izraa was in the first week of the last Holy Lent. The roads are not safe anymore because many groups of Al-Qaeda (from all over the world) are fighting the Syrian army. These groups want to establish an Islamic regime in Syria. The majority of our parishioners left the village of Rakham after the killing of two of our men. While the parishioners of Maarbe are living in different villages ( 8 families of them are living in Bethany’s Monastery of Kharaba. Maarbe is the center of two groups: Al Qaeda and the Free army, while many gangster groups kill kidnap, steal cars and confiscate homes. Khraba is in danger because of some armed groups who have no leader. Also 600 Moslem refugees are living in the parish halls of Khraba’s churches since last summer and they are all from Maarbe.
The Arabic and Western media are making up events, there is a real media war against Syria.
The projects of the diocese have all stopped but thanks be to God they have not been destroyed. St. Paul hostel on the campus of Daraa, the nursry activities and the pastoral activities can no longer function. Alsweda where I reside is in peace compared to Daraa so the only the projects working are those on the campus. Those projects have generated the only money we’ve had for the last two years. I added some apartments through your donations of the Hauran Connection. It’s capacity is 140 students now.
We still hope that our country can overcome the global crisis. While the process of the Patriarchal election gave the people a great sense of hope it also conveyed to us that God does not want His Church to be kicked out of the motherland of Antioch.
Thank you for all you have done for our diocese. Please do not forget us in your prayers. My thanks and love to every sister and brother in the Diocese of Wichita and Mid-America.
Hawran, Jabal al-Arab and the Golan