2010-10-17 13:39:46

Intervention of Mons. Giuseppe NAZZARO, Titular Bishop of Forma, Apostolic Vicar of Alep (SYRIA)

The Apostolic Vicariate of Aleppo takes pastoral care of the Latin rite faithful who live in the Arab Republic of Syria. The origins of these faithful go back to the time of the Italian maritime republics: Venice, Genoa, Pisa and Amalfi. The merchants of these republics had established in Aleppo, a strategic city on the Silk Route that led to the Far East, their commercial emporia, and over time they settled there permanently. The Franciscans, present in Aleppo since far-off 1238, looked after them spiritually.
Today the faithful of the Latin rite in Syrian territory number about 12,000. To these can be added just as many foreign faithful in the various embassies, technicians and workers of various categories.
There are 40 or so priests in the Vicariate of Aleppo, the majority of whom are Friars Minor for the Custody of the Holy Land who take pastoral care of the faithful in a special way.
We have the grace of having in the Vicariate two monasteries of contemplative religious (the convent of the Carmelite sisters in Aleppo) and the monastery of the Cistercian nuns of strict observance (better known as Trappists) that has only been open for a couple of months in the area of Azeir (Talkalakh). To these can be added another 80 religious belonging to 12 different congregations who mostly provide their service and assistance in the parishes of the different Eastern Churches in the territory.
The Apostolic Vicariate intends serving the faithful of the Latin rite and at the same time offering a hand to all persons who ask to cooperate with it in the service of the whole Church in Syria and for the glory of God.
In this seat I wish to encourage the work carried out by the Assembly of the Catholic Hierarchy of Syria. However, I hope for greater collaboration; only if we are united, only if we manage to respect each other, will we give the Church in Syria the courage to accept the difficulties it will have to face.

The Church in Syria is made up of little communities, none of whom can feel bigger or stronger than the others. We are all in the same precarious position. This means that it is absolutely essential to walk hand in hand. We have to unite our forces and overcome our sectarian feelings to ensure that in the land that saw the birth of the faith of the Apostle Paul only the common good will prevail.

[00158-02.02] [IN104] [Original text: Italian]

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