At then end of a joint morning prayer at the Armenian Church, in the week of prayer for Christian Unity, we stood by the memorial in the church to the victims of the Armenian genocide. The memorial commemorates the one and a half million Armenian people who were systematically exterminated in the Ottoman Empire between 1915 and 1918.
Within the memorial is a small urn of ashes of some of the Armenian victims. The ashes came from north Syria, near the city of Aleppo. It was a poignant moment as we heard how Armenian Christians of that same area of Syria today are being persecuted, made to convert to Islam, or forced out of their country – over 100,000 have recently fled to Armenia.
In July 2013 Archbishop Justin Welby said ‘It’s absolutely clear that Christians in Syria are being persecuted. We know for example that in many areas of Aleppo – historic Christian areas since the first century – people are being chased out in large numbers. I would encourage people to pray very strongly, continue to pray, to support campaigns, and to write to MPs ..’
In our multi cultural area we have welcomed many fleeing from injustice and violence. We do well to pray for, and remember, our sister and brother Christians of Syria who today suffer greatly because of the Christian faith.Guide us, O Lord our God, And teach us to walk in thy paths of righteousness. Keep our lives in peace, and our ways pleasing in thy sight. Guide thy servants on their earthly and heavenly course along thy paths of purity unto thine only begotten Son, Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. (An Armenian Prayer of Guidance)