News / Europe

Pope Leads Prayers for Syrian Peace

View of St. Peter's Square during vigil for Syrian peace attended by Pope Francis, at the Vatican, Sept. 7, 2013.View of St. Peter's Square during vigil for Syrian peace attended by Pope Francis, at the Vatican, Sept. 7, 2013.
View of St. Peter's Square during vigil for Syrian peace attended by Pope Francis, at the Vatican, Sept. 7, 2013.
View of St. Peter's Square during vigil for Syrian peace attended by Pope Francis, at the Vatican, Sept. 7, 2013.
VOA News
Pope Francis has led a prayer vigil for peace in Syria, a country ravaged by civil war and facing possible U.S. military action in response to the alleged use of chemical weapons by the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Addressing tens of thousands of people at the Vatican Saturday, the Roman Catholic pontiff called violence and war the language of death. He asked the faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square to pray for peace and reconciliation in Syria and in the rest of the world.
Pilgrims from around the world answered the pope's call to Catholics to take part in a day of prayers for peace. Similar prayers were offered by Christians worldwide, including in Syria.
Earlier in the week, Pope Francis wrote to leaders of the G20 top world economies meeting in St. Petersburg, Russia, urging them to abandon pursuit of a military solution in Syria.
The United States, supported by France, is considering military action to punish the Assad government for an alleged chemical weapons attack on August 21 that killed up to 1,400 people. The Syrian government denies it carried out the attack or bears any responsibility for the carnage.
Syrian Christians in Damascus gathered to pray for peace Saturday in response to the pontiff's call.
Archbishop Matta Khouri, secretary of the Syrian Orthodox patriarchate, said followers of all religious doctrines were praying, in his words "all of one heart, all the Syrians, in the churches and mosques of our different doctrines," for peace.
At the Syriac Orthodox Cathedral in Damascus, Father Gabriel Dawood, one of the parish priests, said the faithful turned out in solidarity with the pope.
"We celebrated this divine Mass on this blessed morning to pray for Syria under the guidance of his Holiness St. Ignatius Zakka I Iwaz, Patriarch of Antioch, all the East and the Syriac Orthodox Church, in solidarity with his brother Francis, pope of the Vatican, who directed believers from all around the world to celebrate a day of fasting and praying for peace in Syria," he said.
The deputy patriarch of the Greek Catholic Church, Joseph Absi, said Syrian Christians are praying for dialogue instead of violence.
"The relief of Syria is impossible without prayers," he said. "When we say prayers, we mean a call to dialogue and refusing the violence and calling for peace. This is the goal of our prayer today."
Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

You May Like

Pakistan Among Developing Counties Hit Hard by Global Warming

Pakistani officials hope developed nations agree to scale back emissions, offer help in dealing with climate change

Video Speed, Social Media Shape Counterterrorism Probes

Speed is critical in effort to prevent subsequent attacks; demographics of extremists lend themselves to communicating, establishing profiles on digital platforms

Islamic State Oil Trade Seduces Friends, Foes Alike

Terrorist group rakes in up to $500 million a year in sales to customers such as Syrian government, US-supported rebels and Turkey

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
September 07, 2013 9:11 PM


Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: they shall prosper that love thee.

13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,

14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”
15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”

16 So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17 When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.

21 On the eighth day, when it was time to circumcise the child, he was named Jesus, the name the angel had given him before he was conceived.


by: archlingua from: Guatemala City, Guat6emal
September 07, 2013 9:02 PM
Catholic Church policy is now, and has been for centuries on end, to obscure valid, realistic discussions and actions in secular world events, through typically voicing self-serving platitudes, in order to maintain “an illusion of saintliness” for the institution and its leaders. Not to worry; just remember that <Love is action (“morals must be practiced”) and not voiced good reasons> and remember the sly way that that “so very organized” religion has covered its sins of child abuse over time.

by: Urban Legends
September 07, 2013 7:06 PM
Pray for peace and love in one hand, and then examine all your other thoughts, in the other hand, and see which hand is more full of what.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
With HIV, Can We Get to Zero?i
Carol Pearson
November 29, 2015 1:23 PM
The theme of this year's World AIDS Day is "Getting to Zero." The U.N. says new HIV infections have been reduced by 35 percent since 2000 and AIDS-related deaths are down by 42 percent since the peak in 2004. VOA's Carol Pearson takes a look at what it might take to actually have an AIDS-free generation.

Video With HIV, Can We Get to Zero?

The theme of this year's World AIDS Day is "Getting to Zero." The U.N. says new HIV infections have been reduced by 35 percent since 2000 and AIDS-related deaths are down by 42 percent since the peak in 2004. VOA's Carol Pearson takes a look at what it might take to actually have an AIDS-free generation.

Video Political Motives Seen Behind Cancelled Cambodian Water Festival

For the fourth time in the five years since more than 350 people were killed in a stampede at Cambodia’s annual water festival, authorities canceled the event this year. Officials blamed environmental reasons as the cause, but many see it as fallout from rising political tensions with a fresh wave of ruling party intimidation against the opposition. David Boyle and Kimlong Meng report from Phnom Penh.

Video African Circus Gives At-Risk Youth a 2nd Chance

Ethiopia hosted the first African Circus Arts Festival this past weekend with performers from seven different African countries. Most of the performers are youngsters coming form challenging backgrounds who say the circus gave them a second chance.

Video US Lawmakers Brace for End-of-Year Battles

U.S. lawmakers are returning to Washington for Congress’ final working weeks of the year. And, as VOA's Michael Bowman reports, a full slate of legislative business awaits them, from keeping the federal government open to resolving a battle with the White House over the admittance of Syrian refugees.

Video Taiwan Looks for Role in South China Sea Dispute

The Taiwanese government is one of several that claims territory in the hotly contested South China Sea, but Taipei has long been sidelined in the dispute, overshadowed by China. Now, as the Philippines challenges Beijing’s claims in an international court at The Hague, Taipei is looking to publicly assert its claims. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.

Video After Terrorist Attacks, Support for Refugees Fades

The terrorists who killed and injured almost 500 people around Paris this month are mostly French or Belgian nationals. But at least two apparently took advantage of Europe’s migrant crisis to sneak into the region. The discovery has hardened views about legitimate refugees, including those fleeing the same extremist violence that hit the French capital. Lisa Bryant has this report for VOA from the Paris suburb of Cergy-Pontoise

Video Syrian Refugees in US Express Concern for Those Left Behind

Syrian immigrants in the United States are concerned about the negative tide of public opinion and the politicians who want to block a U.S. plan to accept 10,000 Syrian refugees. Zlatica Hoke reports many Americans are fighting to dispel suspicions linking refugees to terrorists.

Video Thais Send Security Concerns Down the River

As Thailand takes in the annual Loy Krathong festival, many ponder the country’s future and security. Steve Sandford reports from Chiang Mai.

Video Islamic State Unfazed by Losses in Iraq, Syria

Progress in the U.S.-led effort to beat Islamic State on its home turf in Iraq and Syria has led some to speculate the terror group may be growing desperate. But counterterror officials say that is not the case, and warn the recent spate of terror attacks is merely part of the group’s evolution. VOA National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more.

Video Belgium-Germany Border Remains Porous, Even As Manhunt For Paris Attacker Continues

One of the suspected gunmen in the Nov. 13 Paris attacks, Salah Abdeslam, evaded law enforcement, made his way to Belgium, and is now believed to have fled to Germany. VOA correspondent Ayesha Tanzeem makes the journey across the border from Belgium into Germany to see how porous the borders really are.

Video US, Cambodian Navies Pair Up in Gulf of Thailand

The U.S. Navy has deployed one of its newest and most advanced ships to Cambodia to conduct joint training drills in the Gulf of Thailand. Riding hull-to-hull with Cambodian ships, the seamen of the USS Fort Worth are executing joint-training drills that will help build relations in Southeast Asia. David Boyle reports for VOA from Preah Sihanouk province.

Video Uncertain Future for Syrian Refugee Resettlement in Illinois

For the trickle of Syrian refugees finding new homes in the Midwest city of Chicago, the call to end resettlement in many U.S. states is adding another dimension to their long journey fleeing war. Organizations working to help them integrate say the backlash since the Paris attacks is both harming and helping their efforts to provide refugees sanctuary. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

VOA Blogs