The Middle East is the cradle of Christianity. But in this region marked by war, terror, flight and economic decline, fewer and fewer Christians see good prospects for themselves and their families. In the year under review, ACN’s primary commitment was to the local churches in Syria and Lebanon. The goal of this assistance is to inspire hope among the Christians residing there and to support them in their efforts to remain in their native land. Here, the Church plays an important mediating role between the different religious communities.
Numerous Christians in the Middle East still experience a sense of insecurity. The economic and political situation often seems hopeless, resulting in many leaving their homeland to go abroad. Our project partners in Syria report that during the war, people still held hope that the situation would improve after the war. But now they have no prospects at all. Additionally, many Christians feel unwelcome in societies where Islam is the predominant religion. This sometimes manifests itself in social exclusion and discrimination, e.g. when it comes to job opportunities or the interpretation of family law.
Many Christians no longer see prospects for themselves in the Middle East.
The situation in Lebanon also remains catastrophic. The country, which has historically provided a sanctuary and a place to call home for Christians, in particular, and has been hailed as the “Switzerland of the Orient”, is presently facing significant economic and political turmoil. In addition, the people there are still burdened by the trauma of the heavy explosion that occurred in the port of the capital Beirut on 4 August 2020, claiming hundreds of lives and severely damaging large parts of the city – including numerous churches and church facilities. Here the Church is faced with a monumental task, and once again in 2022, ACN has not abandoned it.
In the year under review, we were able to support the Church in the Middle East with a total volume of 19.3 million euros. The projects funded included emergency aid covering basic needs for food and medicine, aid for seniors and students, subsistence help for religious sisters and Mass stipends for priests. Additionally, building and reconstruction projects were also supported.