Churches in Syria cancel Christmas celebrations in solidarity with Gaza – El Sol de México

Most of the churches in syria They restricted Christmas celebrations and limited them to prayers in solidarity with the Palestinians who suffer from the war between Israel and Hamas in Gaza.

“People are suffering in Palestine, the birthplace of Jesus Christ,” Dionysius Antoine Shahda, the Catholic archbishop of Aleppo (northeast Syria), tells AFP.

In the southern city of Azizia it was common for a tree to be placed Christmas and a christmas marketbut this year the central square is empty and The traditional decorations were not placed.

“In Syria, we have canceled all celebrations and events in our churches in solidarity with the victims of the bombings in Gaza” of the Israeli army, explains Antoine Shahda.

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This decision of the Syrian Catholic Church received the support of the Greek Orthodox and Syrian Orthodox institutions (Jacobites), who also limited their Christmas events.

“Taking into account the current situation, especially in Gaza, the patriarchs are sorry but will not organize Christmas events,” the religious leaders of the Catholics, Jacobites and Greek Orthodox said in a statement.

The Health Ministry in Hamas-ruled Gaza announced Sunday that Israel’s bombings and ground incursions into the Palestinian territory caused 20,424 deadmost of them women and minors, since October 7.

Nearly 1,140 people died in Israeli territory in the unprecedented attack of Hamas that unleashed the Israeli offensive.

The situation in the Palestinian enclave, completely besieged by Israel since October 9, is catastrophic. Most hospitals are out of service and the population faces high levels of food insecurity, according to the UN.

“This is not the time for joy”

Before the outbreak of the civil war in Syria in 2011, 1 million 200 thousand people of Christian denomination lived in that Middle Eastern country.

During that long conflict, the Christmas celebrations declinedbut they had recovered in recent years when the fighting lost intensity and the government in Damascus regained control of most of the territory.

But in this month of December he plans a gray atmosphere in the syrian capitalwhere the Christmas spirit is limited to a market and the Mariamite cathedral (Orthodox) of Damascus put a small tree and austere decorations.

“This year we are very sad. It started with the earthquake and ended with the war in Gaza,” says Rachel Haddad, 66, a resident of Damascus, referring to the earthquake in February that left a trail of 55 thousand deadSpecially in Türkiye and Syria.

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In addition, he regrets the fragility of the economic situation in Syria, where fuel is scarce and power outages often occur.

“There is no electricity. How do you want to see decorations and lights anywhere?” Haddad asks rhetorically.

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