Editor-In-Chief: Charbel Baini

Delegation of Australian Bishops travelling to Iraq and Lebanon in solidarity with the Christians of the Middle East

On 14 December 2014, a delegation of Australian Bishops from the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference as well as the Conference of Bishops and Representatives of the Middle Eastern Apostolic Churches in Australia and New Zealand will travel to the Middle East to be with displaced Christians in Erbil, Iraq and refugees in Lebanon, offering spiritual support and humanitarian aid in this Christmas season.

The delegation will comprise: Most Reverend Christopher Prowse, Archbishop of Canberra and Goulburn, Most Reverend Julian Porteous, Archbishop of Hobart, Most Reverend Robert Rabbat, Eparch of the Melkite Eparchy of Australia and New Zealand, Most Reverend Mar Jibrael Kassab, Archbishop of St Thomas The Apostle Chaldean and Assyrian Catholic Diocese of Australia and New Zealand, Most Reverend Antoine-Charbel Tarabay, Maronite Bishop of Australia, Most Reverend Bishop Daniel, Coptic Orthodox Bishop of Sydney and Affiliated Regions, Most Reverend Danil Bolis, Archbishop of the Ancient Church of the East.

Bishop Tarabay stated: “This trip is consistent with our understanding of Christmas and the true spirit of the Nativity of Our Lord, when we are all called to think of others, especially the marginalised and persecuted. Some 10% of Christians in Australia are from the Eastern Churches. On this trip, a gesture of compassion and solidarity, we do not represent ourselves, but the thousands of Australia’s Christians who share the pain of these innocent people.”

Bishop Tarabay added: “We say no to terrorism, and to war and aggression against the defenceless. Christ, the Prince of Peace, was born in Bethlehem to share the suffering of the innocent, and to show us to how to ameliorate it. By visiting the region in person, we say that no one will stop us from working for peace and helping those in need. We hope that this trip is but the start of a journey of more solidarity with the persecuted Christians in the Middle East and everywhere in the world.”

The Maronite Eparchy of Australia acknowledges and thanks the support of the faithful of the Maronite Catholic Church who have generously donated to the appeal and asks for their prayers that the trip may carry a ray of hope and a message of unity for the Christians in the Middle East.

This Christmas, let their suffering remind us to be grateful for our own blessings, to be moved to compassion for our brethren, and to work so that such suffering may cease.

For further information, contact the Maronite Eparchy of Australia on 02 8831 0000 or by email to bpoffice@maronite.org.au

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