Patriarch Ignatius Aphrem II, head of the Syrian Orthodox church, had a close shave on Sunday when a suicide bomber detonated himself at a commemoration of the World War One Turkish massacre of hundreds of thousands of Syria Christians.
Three brave guards from the local Syrian Christian self-defence forces were killed in the attack in Qamishli, in northern Syria, but the Patriarch himself was unharmed.
Patriarch Aphrem was the most senior church leader met by last year’s Knights Templar International mission to Syria (pictured right).
He explained to us the reasons that he and Syria’s embattled Christians all support the Assad government. This loyalty to their democratically elected government has made both the Patriarch and the country’s Christians special targets for all the Islamist ‘rebels’, ranging from ISIS through to the so-called ‘moderates’ backed by Western leaders.
The Syriac Christians make up 15% of Syria’s 1.2 million Christians. They are particularly remarkable for praying in Aramaic – the language spoken by Jesus Christ Himself and the one in which He spoke the Lord’s Prayer.
Say a prayer of thanks for the safe deliverance of this brave, charming and genuinely holy man!