EXCLUSIVE: How ‘Built To Stay’ May Be What Keeps Christians In World’s Most Oppressive Region [VIDEO]

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Ivan Plis Reporter, Daily Caller News Foundation
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Syria’s Christians are among those hardest hit by the country’s four-year civil war, and many have fled Syria as a result. But Jean-Clément Jeanbart, the Greek Catholic archbishop of Aleppo, has a plan to preserve Syria’s 2,000-year Christian heritage.

“I am very much concerned about the permanence of Christians in the country,” the archbishop told The Daily Caller News Foundation while on a recent visit to the United States. Jeanbart has teamed up with the international Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need, as well as the Knights of Columbus, to establish a project called “Built To Stay” in support of Syrian Christians

Since this interview, Islamic State fighters have kept advancing on Aleppo, further threatening the lives and livelihoods of its citizens. But White House policy, and the proximity of forces loyalty to President Bashar Assad, is likely to rule out any immediate onslaught against the Islamists.


More highlights from our interview:

TheDCNF: You’ve supported a project called “Built to Stay.” What is that project?

Archbishop Jeanbart: I am very much concerned about the permanence of Christians in the country. First of all because I am a citizen: I love my country, and my people should love their country. Our fathers and our ancestors are buried in this country.

Second, I am a pastor. I feel the duty to remain there and to witness Christ, and to help other brothers in this country to enjoy the values of Christianity — even if they do not become Christians, but to enjoy our friendly relation, to enjoy our respect, values, love, and truthfulness to God and to the others. Perhaps one day we’ll have the freedom to express ourselves and to present to the others the meaning of our faith and why we are Christians.

So we have to call many people, many laypeople, to join us and speak with us if they are convinced of what I’m saying. And to communicate with other Christians; give them reasons to resist and accept some sacrifices to continue.

TheDNCF: What other organizations have supported this project?

Jeanbart:  I am in partnership now with Aid to the Church in Need, who has invited me to come to the [United] States to see what they can do to help us. I thank them very much. And also now I have the Knights of Columbus, who are interested. They want to help us also. I invite any American or any person who is concerned and believes that it is important for Christians to live– to live with dignity and to remain in that country.

To build a church– it means to build a lively church, not a church of stone!

A previous installment in this series is available here.

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