Chaldean Bishop Antione Audo to Visit the UK
His Excellency Antoine Audo, Bishop of the Chaldean church in Aleppo, has accepted an invitation from Aid to the Church in Need to participate in giving first-hand testimony at the ACN annual Westminster Mass and Event on Saturday 20th October.
The ICIN council has invited Bishop Audo, in coordination with ACN, to discuss our projects in Syria and the current situation. The meeting will take place on Wednesday 17th October 2012.
Update on the visit of the Chaldean Bishop of Aleppo, Antoine Audo, to ICIN on Wednesday 17th October 2012
Bishop Audo visited ICIN at the house of Janan and Amal Allos where all members and friends of the charity welcomed him and heard the news of the events in Syria, especially the situation of the Christians both the Syrians and the Iraqis who have taken refuge in Syria.
In Aleppo where the bishop is centred, the situation has been very bad for both Christians and Muslims. Many areas in the suburbs have been heavily bombarded especially in Muslim areas though some Christian areas were also affected. About three hundred Christian families in Jabal al-Sayyida have become refugees.
Specifically Christian sites that have been attacked are:
- The bishopric of the Greek Catholic Church (twice)
- The bishopric and the Cathedral of the Maronites
- The convent of Our lady of Perpetual Succor (Greek Catholics)
- Saint Michael’s Church in Azizyya (Greek Orthodox)
- The Monastery of Saint Wartan, previously an Armenian school (Jesuits)
Many civilians have left the country to Lebanon especially the rich and the professionals, while the majority, whether Christian or Muslim, are now living in schools. Many Christian groups have taken the responsibility of helping these refugees in the schools supplying them with food, medicines and other necessities. Bishop Audo is now responsible for Caritas in Syria and he makes sure that both Christians and Muslims receive aid.
However, life in Aleppo has come to a standstill and there is an atmosphere of fear uncertainty about the future.
The majority of Iraqi refugees have already left. The number has been reduced from about one thousand families of all denominations to about one hundred. The Chaldeans used to make the majority, about 500 families, now only forty five families left.
In 2011 over 80,000 Christians were forced to leave their home from Hums and surrounding villages. They have taken refuge in the Christian villages of Wadi al-Nasara or The valley of the Christians (Tatoos, Banyas, Lathqyya, Marmarita, Safita, Kifroon, Mashtal Hiloo..etc). They are either with relatives or friends or in schools and churches and are now completely dependent on charity.
In Damascus, life is still more or less normal. Schools and offices are running despite violence in some parts of the city. The number of Iraqi Christians have also dwindled to about 1000 families remembering that at one stage there were about 30,000 families. The UNHCR has been speeding the processing of the emigration documents of many families to western countries over the last year who have, by now, joined their families abroad. Some however have returned to Iraq.