His Holiness Moran Mor Ignatius Zakka I Iwas sends Mor Eustathius Matta Roham to Homs, Syria to convey His care, prayers and blessings to Mor Selwanos Boutros Alnemeh and all the faithful of the Archdiocese of Homs & Hama.
On Monday early morning, 2nd April, Mor Eustathius Matta Roham traveled from Damascus to Homs to meet his brother in Christ Archbishop Mor Selwanos Boutros Alnemeh. He was accompanied by Father Matta Khoury, the Patriarchal Secretary, and Father Elias Akkary. Mor Eustathius met with Archbishop Selwanos and with some of his priests from Homs and the two nearby villages of Fayrouzeh and Zaydal. The meeting took place in the Church of St. Elias in Fayrouzeh. Also, some faithful, who work in the church, joined the meeting.
Mor Eustathius conveyed the love, care, prayers and blessings of the Holy Father Moran Mor Ignatius Zakka I Iwas to Mor Selwanos, the priests and the faithful. During the meeting, Mor Eustathius listened to their worries and fears as well as to the needs of the Christian Community in Homs. It was obvious that the tragedy in Homs is very huge, and it bleeds our human hearts.
During the meeting at the parish house in Fayrouzeh, a man came in and everybody started to say to him:"al- hamdulillah ‘al Salama", which means in Arabic” thanks to God for your safety”. This man was kidnapped for two days and set free on Sunday, 1stApril. Mor Eustathius wanted to congratulate him by giving him a warm hug. While doing so, he painfully said to Mor Eustathius:” Please hug me gently, because I am hurt”. Mor Eustathius said to him: “Are you wounded”? The man said:” I have been tortured”. Later on, the man took Mor Eustathius to a private room and showed him the torturing on his back. He said that he was kidnapped by a group, who first brutally tortured him and then kept him in a flat for two days. After negotiations between the local clergymen of different faiths in the area, the man was set free.
Also, Mor Eustathius visited a paralyzed man in bed at his house in Fayrouzeh. He was shut by a sniper from a top position. The bullet went through the chest and hit his spine.
From Fayrouzeh, Mor Eustathius went to Zaydal in order to reach Arman (Armenian) neighborhood. In this neighborhood life looks normal. The two archbishops visited the house of Father Matta Khoury’s parents. Father Matta could not visit his family since August 2011. This was his first chance to see his family after more than seven months. Mor Eustathius met there some faithful who lost their houses in the Christian neighborhood of Hamidieh and now are staying with their relatives in Arman neighborhood. This phenomenon of uprooting people is widely practiced. Mor Eustathius heard a man saying that there are very few Christians, who are still in Hamidieh, Bestan al-Dywan and Bab Sbaa and some other areas. He said that his parents refused for many months to leave their house in Hamidieh, but only six days ago they decided to move out in order to save their lives, otherwise the house will become their grave.
When the two Archbishops came back to the parish house in Fayrouzeh, a man in his forties stopped Archbishop Selwanos inquiring about the future of his family. The man is an engineer by profession. His house was burnt and he was unable to know anything about his office since three months.
Such stories are sample of thousands of cases. The most important work for future is forgiveness and reconciliation among the communities. Right now people are in need of shelters, food and medicine in order to survive. Mor Eusthathius assured them that His Holiness will do all his best to lessen the suffering of the faithful. At the end of the day Mor Eustathius, Father Khoury and Father Akkary returned to Damascus to report to His Holiness on their visit to Homs.