NEW HAVEN, Conn., April 27, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Melkite Catholic Archbishop Jean Clément Jeanbart of Aleppo, Syria, will speak on the genocide being waged against his people and the future of Christianity in the Middle East at St. Mary's Church, 5 Hillhouse Ave., New Haven, on Sunday, May 1, at 6:30 p.m.
The event will be sponsored by St. Mary's Church and the Knights of Columbus, which is also based in New Haven, Conn. Admission is free and the public is invited to attend.
The largest city in Syria, Aleppo has been shattered by civil war and genocide at the hands of ISIS. In 2013, American aid worker Kayla Mueller was kidnapped by ISIS in Aleppo and killed while in their custody. Aleppo's Syriac Orthodox and Greek Orthodox archbishops were also kidnapped that same year and have not been heard from since.
"We have seen people killed, slaughtered, women violated, priests and bishops kidnapped, houses destroyed, churches and convents invaded," said Archbishop Jeanbart at the Knights' 2015 convention in Philadelphia. "We persist with the help of God."
The Knights of Columbus began its Christian Refugee Relief Fund in 2014 to aid persecuted Christians and other religious minorities, especially those in Iraq and Syria. To date, nearly $10 million has been raised to provide housing, food, medical aid, education and general relief.
A petition drive spearheaded by the Knights drew nearly 150,000 signatures and urged the State Department to declare that a genocide is being carried out against Christians and other religious minorities in the Middle East.
Secretary of State John Kerry announced a declaration of genocide on March 17, one week after release of a nearly 300-page report -- prepared by the Knights at the request of the State Department -- that chronicled the evidence for a finding of genocide.
The Knights of Columbus was founded in 1882 at St. Mary's Church in New Haven by the Venerable Father Michael J. McGivney. It is today the world's largest Catholic fraternal organization with nearly 1.9 million members worldwide. The Knights donated more than $173.5 million and 71.5 million hours of service in 2014.
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SOURCE Knights of Columbus