ISIS and other extremist movements across the Middle East are enslaving, killing and uprooting ancient Christian communities, with practically no end in sight until the last communities are extinguished. The Western governments have been paralyzed, dealing with other issues on their doorstep like the massive refugee crisis, the growing conflict between Russia and Turkey and domestic terror threats like the recent Paris attacks.
There hasn’t been much said or expected of governments up to now but the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Chicago has taken a stand, asking for the United Nations to recognize the events as an official genocide of the Christian population of the Middle East.
The Metropolis of Chicago, which covers almost 60 parishes throughout the Midwest and claims over a quarter of a million faithful, held it’s Biannual Clergy Laity Assembly in Madison, Wisconsin, from November 14th – 18th.
Led by Metropolitan Iakovos and Bishop Demetrios, approximately 400 clergy and parishioners from parishes throughout the region gathered to hear from a wide range of speakers addressing numerous subjects of interest to Greek Orthodox Christian followers.
One such speaker was Bassel Korkor, a Syrian American attorney who serves as United States Counsel to the Syrian Coalition’s Washington and United Nations offices. He advises the Coalition on various legal and policy issues, including sanctions compliance, economic development, and diplomatic matters.
His presentation entitled “Contemporary Martyrs of the Middle East” educated the gathering as to the current conditions in Syria and throughout the Middle East, especially concerning the status of the significant and diverse historical Christian population.
Following Mr. Korkor’s presentation, looking for a way to bring assistance in the protection of the Christian population of the Middle East currently subject to numerous documented examples of Ethic Cleansing and Genocide, a proposal for the need for action by the Clergy Laity Assembly was introduced by Father Mark Munoz of Rochelle, Minnesota.
The result was the following Resolution, written by Metropolis of Chicago Council Member John C. Ackerman of Peoria, Illinois, and edited by Father David Bissias of Hammond, Indiana and Bishop Demetrios.
This Resolution received unanimous support and will soon be mailed to the President of the United States as well as each and every United States Senator and Representative within the jurisdiction of the Metropolis of Chicago.
“It is the hope of the assembly that other Metropolises as well as other Orthodox denominations and other Catholic and Protestant Christian denominations will consider sending similar resolutions to their United States National Leadership,” said Bishop Demetrios, who is also chancellor of the Metropolis, adding that “Together we can bring about positive change to help protect Christians throughout the Middle East and bring an end to this destructive bloody conflict.”
Resolution Calling on United States Political Leadership to Officially Recognize the conflict in Syria and throughout the Middle East as a Genocide, and thus Initiate the United Nations Resolution called Responsibility to Protect.
Whereas, Since the end of the Second World War, an international effort has been undertaken to protect civilians in armed conflict and prevent genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes,
And Whereas, Recognizing the failure to adequately respond to the most heinous crimes known to humankind, world leaders made a historic commitment to protect populations from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity at the United Nations 2005 World Summit,
And Whereas, This commitment, entitled the Responsibility to Protect, stipulates that:
1. The State carries the primary responsibility for the protection of populations from genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity and ethnic cleansing
2. The international community has a responsibility to assist States in fulfilling this responsibility
3. The international community should use appropriate diplomatic, humanitarian and other peaceful means to protect populations from these crimes. If a State fails to protect its populations or is in fact the perpetrator of crimes, the international community must be prepared to take stronger measures through the United Nations Security Council,
And Whereas, We of the Greek Orthodox Christian Faith have been subject to past Genocide, War Crimes, Ethnic Cleansing and Crimes against Humanity,
And Whereas, Greek Orthodox Faithful have repeatedly throughout history made historic stands in response to these atrocities both before the international community’s efforts following World War II and since,
And Whereas, The current conflict was originally confined to Syria but is now enveloping Iraq, and much of the Middle East has been engulfed for far too long in endless bloody conflicts,
And Whereas, The international community has seen numerous examples of War Crimes, numerous examples of Ethnic Cleansing, far too many examples of Genocide against Christians,
And Whereas, Just earlier this year in a barbaric, visual display, 21 men were executed for no other reason than being Christians, an incident that is itself the very definition of Ethnic Cleansing and Genocide,
And Whereas, Despite signing to support the principles of Responsibility to Protect, our United States Elected Leadership has yet to officially enact this important resolution,
Therefore Be It Resolved… That we by this gathering of the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Chicago 2015 Clergy Laity Assembly representing all of the faithful within the states of Illinois, Wisconsin, Iowa and Minnesota as well as large parts of Indiana and Missouri, that we call on our President, Senators and Congressman to take the steps required to officially enact the United Nations Resolution entitled Responsibility to Protect.