“Christian faith was born in the East, in Syria, and the Christian rebirth must start precisely from there”. This is the belief of mgr. Jean-Clément Jeanbart, archbishop of Aleppo, who, in an appeal to SIR, asks the Western countries to “encourage the refugees to go back to Syria”: “Help us stay where we were born and where the Church was born”. “I have been a bishop for 22 years – he tells – and five years ago I was thinking about preparing to step down and settling things. Then, the war broke out and I said to myself: ‘This is not my time, I must do something to help my people’”. A “very big problem” is the exodus of Christians: “The first church settled in Syria, and, while in Palestine Christians were outlaws, here they publicly gathered. There is something very special in Syrian Christians. I have devoted the rest of my life to making them stay in this land, hallowed by the blood of millions of martyrs and by the relics of thousands of Christians who died in Syria. I fight to do all I can against this haemorrhage”.
The bishop also launched “Aleppo is waiting for you”, a programme that calls Christians to go back to their country: “We are ready to help all those who want but cannot. We pay for their travel and give them a house for 4 years, we help them find a job and we keep their children in Catholic schools. If some families start to come back, the cycle can change and the future will be better. When the war ends, there will be work and people will be happy to live in Aleppo”.