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Report: 50,000 Syrian Christians seek Russian citizenship, blast nations that back rebels

Catholic World News - October 18, 2013

Sharply criticizing nations that support the Syrian rebels, 50,000 residents of historic Christian villages in Syria have applied for dual Russian citizenship, according to the Russian news agency Interfax.

“We are scared of the conspiracy of the West and hateful fanatics who are waging a brutal war against our country,” according to the residents’ appeal, as reported by Interfax.

“It is for the first time since the Nativity of Christ that we Christians of Qalamoun living in the villages of Saidnaya, Maara Saidnaya, Maaloula and Maaroun are under threat of banishment from our land,” the appeal continued. “We prefer death to exile and life in refugee camps, and so we will defend our land, honor and faith, and will not leave the land on which Christ walked.”

“The Christians of Qalamoun believe that the purpose of the Western-backed terrorists is to eliminate our presence in what is our native land, and with some of the most revolting methods as well, including savage murders of ordinary people,” they added. “We see the Russian Federation as a powerful factor of global peace and stability. Russia pursues a firm line in the defense of Syria, its people and its territorial integrity.”

An official of the Russian Orthodox Church said that the appeal “vividly indicates Russia's high authority in the Middle East, especially among the Christian minorities living there.”

“Their move was guided by the intention to stress that ‘the Christians of the East have known for centuries that no other country would take care of their interests better than Russia,’” added Archpriest Nikolay Balashov, deputy head of the Moscow Patriarchate’s External Church Relations Department. “It is not a secret that it is a great honor for me, as a Russian citizen and the Qalamoun residents’ brother in faith, to hear that.”

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  • Posted by: jg23753479 - Oct. 18, 2013 6:05 PM ET USA

    More evidence that Russia is becoming the true defender of Western civilization. I am disappointed to see that Pope Francis hasn't vociferously come to the defense of his fellow Christians in Syria. Are they somehow not as important as the African refugees in Lampedusa?

  • Posted by: Defender - Oct. 18, 2013 9:16 AM ET USA

    Wonder how many Christians have been killed with bullets bought by the United States or Saudi Arabia? The fact that so many want dual citizenship only serves to indicate how the West (which also means the Vatican) has no idea what is going on in the area, or doesn't really care.

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