Seraphim Danckaert is Director of Mission Advancement at St. Tikhon's Orthodox Theological Seminary. He holds an M.Div. from Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology and is a Ph.D. candidate in theology at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam.
Welcome to “This Week in Orthodoxy,” the world’s only online video newscast focused on events in the life of the Orthodox Church.
Segment 1. News from the Middle East
After Children Executed, Christians Flee Ancestral Home
Our top story this week. According to the World Council of Arameans, ISIS terrorists brutally executed two Christian children and a mother last week in Northern Iraq. Fearing for their lives, more than 40,000 Aramean families – at least 200,000 human beings – fled in the middle of the night from their ancestral homes, towns and villages in the Nineveh region.
Another unprecedented humanitarian disaster is now unfolding in Iraq.
In recent weeks, thousands of Aramean families had already escaped the Mosul region to the Nineveh province, after ISIS terrorists took control.
But now, the entirety of the Nineveh plains are emptied of their native Christians, who belong to the Syriac Orthodox, Syriac Catholic, Chaldean and Assyrian churches in the region.
This is the second region that has been emptied from its native Christian population for the first time in its millennia-old history. Thus, an ancient civilization, cultural heritage and population are being destroyed and erased from Iraq’s future.
“It’s genocide, ethnic cleansing,” said Syriac Orthodox Archbishop Nikodimos Daoud of Mosul in an impassioned — and now famous — interview to MEMRI TV.
In the interview, the Archbishop says that he waited to speak out against ISIS beccause he did not want his flock in Mosul to suffer any repercussions. Now that all of the Christians have fled the city and surrounding region in order to escape horrific executions of men, women, and even children, the Archbishop says there is no longer any reason to remain silent.
Here at OCN, we’ve been reporting about this story since it first started happening. Please follow us on Facebook and visit our website for breaking news, commentary, and more information on what you can do to help prevent this genocide and help those being persecuted.
2,400 Children and Parents Now Taking Shelter at Greek Orthodox Church in Gaza City
Next, an update from Gaza, where St. Porphyrius Greek Orthodox Church in Gaza City is providing emergency shelter to displaced families, many of whom have lost their home, possessions, and livelihood in the ongoing hostilities with Israel.
As the conflict has only gotten worse, the number of people sheltering at the church has swollen well beyond what anyone expected. As of this week, 2,400 displaced children and their parents are packed onto the church’s property, sleeping in the community center as well as outside in the church courtyard.
International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC) is on the ground in Gaza to provide humanitarian relief to families in urgent need of food and basic supplies.
IOCC distributed hot meals to hundreds of displaced families seeking refuge at the church, for many their first hot meal in weeks.
“We were not able to provide meals like this,” explained Hani, one of the church council members, who expressed gratitude for the critically-needed assistance. “With this support we are able to help feed these people who have come to us for help.”
You can help provide relief in Gaza by making a financial gift to the IOCC Gaza Relief Fund, which will provide immediate relief through the provision of emergency assistance as well as longer-term support. To make a gift, please visit www.iocc.org or call toll free at 1-877-803-IOCC.
Segment 2. News from OCN
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That’s it for “This Week in Orthodoxy,” a program made possible by a generous gift from the National Philoptochos Society in memory of the Dr. George Mekras.
Until next time, let’s go forth in peace.