The fruits of the ‘Arab Spring’ for Christians in Syria are also far from certain, according to a local Syrian Orthodox Church leader.
Standing in solidarity with Coptic Orthodox Christians at a prayer vigil in Victoria Park on Friday night, the Rev Deacon Theodore Issa prayed for the souls of Egyptian Copts killed in recent protests and persecutions.
The deacon recently returned from Jordan where he met the Patriarch of the Syrian Orthodox Church, His Holiness Moran Mor Ignatius Zakka. According to reports, he said, Christians in Syria were, for the moment, safe and free to worship.
“There is a lot at stake in countries like Syria and countries nearby if something goes wrong,” he said.
“What is the alternative (to the current regime)? The only alternative we can see is what is happening in Egypt and the Christians are not in a better place than they used to be before this revolution.”
“We’re hoping that it’s not going to become a platform for persecution of Christians all over the world and in the Middle East, precisely,” Deacon Issa said.
“We’re hoping for a peaceful resolution for the sake of our people; for the sake of Syria.”
The Syrian Orthodox Church had established a substantial and dignified presence in Perth, Deacon Issa said.
He came to Australia from his native Jordan in 1989, where his father, the Very Reverend Fr Chorepiscopus Boutros Touma Issa, served for 31 years before being asked to establish St Ephraim’s Syrian Orthodox Church in Western Australia.