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Sunday, November 23, 2014

Exclusive: Inside Syria's 1,500-year-old Christian community VIDEO



Home to one of the oldest Christian communities in the world, the Syrian agricultural town of Izraa has stood the comings and goings of many empires over the centuries.
But as the country's civil war creeps closer, it is threatening to force the town's Christians into permanent exile: never to return, they fear. 
Exactly how many Christians have left Syria is difficult to say, but according to the Christian charity Open Doors, some 700,000 have left the country, which equates to some 40 per cent of Syria's pre-war Christian population. 

   

Christian leaders in the country warn of an exodus on the scale of Iraq, where the 1.5 million-strong community that lived there prior to the first Gulf War is now down to as little as a tenth of its former size. 
The threat to towns like Izraa will be uppermost in the mind of the Pope during his visit to Turkey this week, amid warnings from Christian leaders worldwide that their religion might soon lose its foothold in the very region where it was born. 

Looking around Izraa's 1,500 year old church, Father Elias Hanout warned: "In this land the Word started. And if you delete the Word here, then Christianity across the world will have no future." 


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