By Joseph DeCaro
(Worthy News) - A Syrian Catholic leader has issued an impassioned plea for young people to stay in Syria, according to the Catholic Herald.
Melkite Greek Catholic Patriarch Gregorios III said the mass exodus of young believers from the country raises questions about the future of the church in Syria.
"The almost communal wave of youth emigration, especially in Syria, but also in Lebanon and Iraq breaks my heart, wounding me deeply and dealing me a deadly blow," he said.
"Given this tsunami of emigration … what future is left for the Church? What will become of our homeland? What will become of our parishes and institutions? … Despite all your suffering, stay! Be patient! Don’t emigrate! Stay for the Church, your homeland, for Syria and its future! Stay! Do stay!"
At least 450,000 Christians of Syria’s previous population of 1.17 million are either internally displaced, or living abroad as refugees.