Two hundred delegates, representatives of the Catholic Church from across Europe, are currently meeting at the Continental Assembly of a Synod within the Church, in Prague, Czechia. There are fourteen Irish representatives including Archbishop Eamon Martin. The following statement is published on behalf of all of the delegates to express their closeness to the people of Southern Turkey and Northern Syria who have been heavily stricken by yesterday’s earthquake:
The death toll is still on the rise and the destruction, and the suffering of the population have profoundly affected and touched our souls. It is a deep wound, which in Syria is added to the war that has been raging on the territory for 12 years.
We are close to the community of the Vicariate of Iskenderun, which saw its cathedral destroyed, fortunately without paying the price in human lives. Next, our thoughts go to the Vicariate of Anatolia, which is experiencing a problematic situation. Finally, Aleppo, a city that was martyred in the war in Syria and is now experiencing another martyrdom.
Above all, our thoughts and gratitude go to those currently bringing relief efforts, in challenging conditions, worsened by winter temperature. Our Caritas is committed to dealing with the emergency, treating the wounded, consoling those who have lost family members, and finding a shelter for those who no longer have it. The local Churches are already providing all kinds of help and welcome, and they are a shining example to which we look with admiration.
With great sympathy, the Churches in Europe are close to the populations afflicted by the earthquake, renewing our prayers and assisting in every possible way to deal with the emergency.
- Archbishop Eamon Martin is Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland