Dear Brothers & Sisters in Christ,
I am very concerned by this news which I have just received and want to share it with you immediately. The monastery of Mor Gabriel (www.morgabriel.org/) is known to many of us as a wonderful example of the faithful continuity of Syriac learning and spirituality. Its loss would be a disaster for all Orthodoxy. Bishop Samuel Aktas of the Syriac Orthodox Church has been a tireless and staunch worker for decades and deserves the highest support and respect. In the light of the suffering of the Syriac Christian community in Iraq this is a terrible threat to our Syriac brethren and cannot be allowed to happen. Our prayerful and practical support can be vital in withstanding this threat. I would urge urgent action in their support by all church groups, councils and individuals. I am happy to help co-ordinate initial ecumenical efforts in the UK until something more formal can be established. Please email me to let me know what you propose doing - in the first instance letters to MPs and MEPs should be despatched immediately expressing deep concern.
Fraternally in XP,
British Orthodox Church (www.britishorthodox.org/)
within the Coptic Orthodox Patriarchate of Alexandria