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Syria: Christians pack Damascus church to join Pope's plea for peace01:43

Syria: Christians pack Damascus church to join Pope's plea for peace

Syrian Arab Republic, Damascus
September 7, 2013 at 22:44 GMT +00:00 · Published

Syria: Christians pack Damascus church to join Pope's plea for peace

Dozens of Syrian Christians packed inside the al-Zaytoun Church in Damascus Saturday, joining in a day of fasting and prayer at the behest of Pope Francis to oppose external military intervention in the ongoing conflict in Syria. Elsewhere, roughly 100,000 people filled Vatican City's iconic St. Peter’s Square for a four-hour Syria peace vigil.

Greek Catholic Patriarch Gregorios III Laham of Antioch and All East presided over the Damascus service, saying most countries are against military action. "No to war. Yes for peace," he told parishioners.

A priest said: "We are today gathered in this church, in this house of God, Muslims and Christians, to close a day of fasting and prayer, in supplication to God asking Him to be our shield and our warrior for us against terrorism and against evil that is trying to squeeze in amongst us."

One parishioner lamented the destruction caused by the ongoing conflict, saying: "This is [a] prayer so that God protects us, our country, our president, our army, and protects Syria. We have children, we have young men and husbands - we are scared for them, we're scared for our country more than we are scared for ourselves. Why is our nation being destroyed? It used to be the most beautiful nation in the world."

Roughly 10 percent of the Syrian population professes Christianity. Damascus is mentioned several times in the Bible.

Syria: Christians pack Damascus church to join Pope's plea for peace01:43
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Syria: Christians pack Damascus church to join Pope's plea for peace

Dozens of Syrian Christians packed inside the al-Zaytoun Church in Damascus Saturday, joining in a day of fasting and prayer at the behest of Pope Francis to oppose external military intervention in the ongoing conflict in Syria. Elsewhere, roughly 100,000 people filled Vatican City's iconic St. Peter’s Square for a four-hour Syria peace vigil.

Greek Catholic Patriarch Gregorios III Laham of Antioch and All East presided over the Damascus service, saying most countries are against military action. "No to war. Yes for peace," he told parishioners.

A priest said: "We are today gathered in this church, in this house of God, Muslims and Christians, to close a day of fasting and prayer, in supplication to God asking Him to be our shield and our warrior for us against terrorism and against evil that is trying to squeeze in amongst us."

One parishioner lamented the destruction caused by the ongoing conflict, saying: "This is [a] prayer so that God protects us, our country, our president, our army, and protects Syria. We have children, we have young men and husbands - we are scared for them, we're scared for our country more than we are scared for ourselves. Why is our nation being destroyed? It used to be the most beautiful nation in the world."

Roughly 10 percent of the Syrian population professes Christianity. Damascus is mentioned several times in the Bible.