*Aleppo 15th September 2012
Your Grace Dr. Rowan Williams
The Archbishop of Canterbury
Peace in the name of Jesus our Saviour and Redeemer, and greetings from the wooded city of Aleppo.
My sincere apologies for not being able to attend our meeting at Lambeth scheduled on 17th September. This is due to the current situations in Syria in general and Aleppo in particular.
Your Grace will understand that our Archbishopric is in Aleppo ancient city centre. Our movement is restricted to one square kilometre. The way to Aleppo International Airport is impassable and unsafe with road blocks and ambushes. Many have lost their lives, including four returning Armenians, and a Syrian Orthodox doctor of medicine martyr today, and another Syrian orthodox martyr few weeks ago.
We are suffering immensely as a result of the uncontrollable changes which are currently under way. My fear is that citizens will lose confidence in their homeland.
This war has shaken to the core our confidence in each other, and also our confidence in our country, to which we belong, cherish, and are proud of its history and potential.
It is difficult for me to capture and summarize for Your Grace all that has happened and is happening daily on the ground.
But if and when the hostility ceases, the world will stand astonished and very surprised for the extent of civilian lives lose and the magnitude of devastation and sacrileges. In addition to the damage to the infrastructure and great havoc to the economy.
I could not travel to Lebanon either to attend the annual Synod and participate in the discussions which have to do with the current situation in Syria. I was not also able to greet His Holiness Benedict XVI during his historical visit to Lebanon. As your Grace may know i was one of the participants to the Synod for the Middle East in October 2010. In both my presentations; first on behalf of my church the SOCA, and the Second on behalf of the WCC, i tackled some important issues such as the present and witness of the Christians of the MD today and the impact of the Christian immigration from the ME, and the high number of the refugees from the ME also. Because of my absence in Lebanon during this visit, I sent my letter to His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI on the occasion of his visit to Lebanon and the signing of the Apostolic Exhortation on the Middle East. My letter is attached.
Finally, I look forward to seeing Your Grace on another occasion.
I wish you heavenly blessings and graces.
Mar Gregorios of Aleppo