Archbishop of Canterbury talks about 'endless heartbreak' of persecuted Middle East Christians

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, brought up the plight and "endless heartbreak" of persecuted Christians in the Middle East during his visit to the Holy Land on May 8.

(REUTERS / Baz Ratner)The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby (C) lights a candle during his visit to the Church of Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem's Old City June 28, 2013.

During a sermon at the St. George's Anglican cathedral in Jerusalem, Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby said Christians in the Middle East have been suffering for centuries. He talked about his trip to the Zaatari refugee camp in Jordan and to Gaza, where he witnessed the deplorable situation of the believers there, The Guardian details.

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"Whether it is the utterly disrupted lives of the refugees we met in Zaatari refugee camp last week, or the tears of the Iraqi Christians later that day, seemingly forgotten by the world, one sees endless heartbreak," Archbishop Welby told the faithful listening to his sermon.

Welby also described the heroism of doctors in Gaza amidst "ever-looming" fears. He also talked about the "voices of anger, or of fear and insecurity, of division and of the impact of almost a century of struggle and conflict" that he heard in Nazareth.

In light of the sufferings that Christians in the Middle East are going through, Archbishop Welby appealed for more help so that the believers can stay in the region despite the threat of Islamic extremism. He highlighted the importance of Christian presence in the area, saying the believers "are the past in the Middle East, they are the present and they must be the future," Christian Today reports.

Before leaving Jordan, Archbishop Welby prayed that God will protect the Christian community there. He also prayed that the Western Church will do something to help and support the persecuted believers in the Middle East by welcoming migrants and the homeless, and by taking steps to improve the situation in the region.

Meanwhile, Archbishop Welby told BBC Radio 4 that he will never forget the things he saw in Gaza. He saw  how devastated the place was and how traumatized and anxious the people were. At the same time, he found inspiration in the resilience of some people who have chosen to stay in the region despite the situation.

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