Hundreds of thousands of Christians are trying to leave Lebanon after last August’s explosion, raising fears for the future of the Church there.
In an interview with Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN), Father Jad Chlouk, parish priest at Beirut’s Maronite Cathedral of Saint George, said Christians feel alienated from their homeland.
Fr Chlouk, 38, said: “The statistics show that more than 380,000 requests for immigration were presented to the embassies of the EU and countries of North America, and that most of them were from Christians, who unfortunately now feel like strangers in their own home country.
“This is negatively affecting the whole Christian community, because it is losing most of its brightest and best, and especially its young people, who are supposed to be the future of the Christians here.
“Hence, the number of Christians in the country is decreasing day by day, and this is badly affecting the situation and causing still more pressure for those who remain, in a situation where they might soon suffer from persecution.”
Lebanese media has reported that around 380,000 immigration applications have been made following the explosion. Father Chlouk stressed how across the Middle East Christian numbers have plummeted.
Iraq had 1.5 million Christians before 2003 but now there could be fewer than 150,000. In Syria, Christians were estimated to be below 500,000 in mid-2017 – down from 1.25 million before the civil war began in 2011.
Source: Independent Catholic News