Two Armenian Christian leaders from Syria have been in the UK to remind us of the realities facing a country where half the population are either refugees or have been internally displaced.
Bishop Armash Nalbandian, the Armenian Orthodox Bishop of Damascus, and Reverend Harout Selimian, a pastor of the Armenian Armenian Evangelical Church in Aleppo met with Church leaders in England, Scotland and Wales – including the Chair of our International Affairs department Bishop Declan Lang.
The Armenian clerics discussed the challenges they are facing both from the established political institutions on the one hand and terrorist organisations on the other. They asked that the Christian communities in the UK hold the people of Syria in their prayers and actions.
Dr Harry Hagopian, consultant to the Catholic Bishops’ of England and Wales on the Middle East North Africa region, joined the two men and Bishop Declan Lang at Bishop’s House in Clifton, Bristol for a frank and candid conversation on the situation in Syria:
“The impression I got was one of pain, one of grief and one of frustration. When I explained the geo-politics of how we view this conflict, with the regime on one side and Daesh on the other, I then asked what they want us to do over here.
Bishop Armash told me just before he went to the airport ‘One thing only… please help to stop the war.'”