Light a Candle
for Peace in Syria

Light a Candle

Pope Francis and the Syrian Children’s Plea for Peace

“Beloved Syria is tormented by a war lasting already for 8 years… At this time, I would like to make mine the hope of the children in Syria… May these flames of hope dispel the darkness of war” – with these words, Pope Francis lit a large candle calling for peace and reconciliation in a country torn apart by a war.

For the door of peace to open, we would like to invite all people of good will all over the world to help Christians to stay in Syria as witnesses of Divine Mercy, forgiveness and reconciliation.

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Syria is in its 8th year of war (March 15, 2011) leaving hundreds of thousands dead and millions internally displaced and living as refugees in neighbouring countries. Entire cities lie in rubble and dust. Those who suffer the most are the weakest: the children. Too many of them are orphaned, injured and traumatised – a lost generation.

The Holy Father supports our initiative!

At the beginning of Advent, on 2nd December, at the noon Angelus prayers at St. Peters Square in Rome, Pope Francis lit a candle for peace and reconciliation in Syria – a country torn apart by a war. A war which has now lasted longer than World War II. With the lighting of the candle, the Holy Father supported the start of the Candles for Peace in Syria initiative, an Advent campaign of the pontifical charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) seeking to raise awareness and support for the suffering Christians in Syria. While lighting the candle, decorated with the photos of suffering children and brought from Damascus, the Pope said “May this flame of hope and so many flames of hope disperse the darkness of the war”. Conscious that only Divine Mercy can bring back peace and stability, heal wounds and reconcile enemies, the Holy Father also calls upon all people of good will to become instruments of peace. “Let’s pray and help Christians to stay in Syria and in the Middle East as witnesses of mercy, forgiveness and reconciliation.”

“May these flames of hope dispel the darkness of war. Let us pray and help Christians to remain in Syria and the Middle East as witnesses of mercy, forgiveness, and reconciliation.”

Pope Francis

The Angelus, 2 December 2018

Hour for Peace

The Candles for Peace campaign started in Syria at the end of November Aid to the Church in Need, together with local Christian communities, invited school children throughout the country to convey to the world their longing for peace. United to work together and to speak aloud, Syrian Christian schools and other institutions granted one hour to allow children, under their teachers’ or volunteers’ supervision, to express their desire for peace, reconciliation and respect by drawing and writing prayers on the candle’s cardboard wind shields. These candle wind shields will then be distributed via the ACN national offices to benefactors with a call for prayer for peace in Syria. On the 24-25 November they gathered in and around their churches for processions, theatre, songs and dances for peace. The initiative has involved over 50,000 children, of different religions, from several of the Syrian cities most severely affected by the war, including Aleppo, Damascus, Homs, Marmarita, Hassaké, Tartus and Lattakia.

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The main candle given to the Holy Father was created during these events in Damascus, decorated with photos of Syrian children, the prime victims of the conflict which is still ongoing.

“Advent is a time for hope,” said Pope Francis, “this is why, joining the initiative of the Aid to the Church in Need, I will light now this candle. In Syria there are so many children who are doing the same.” We warmly invite you to join us in this effort and become a voice of the voiceless. Let us spare no effort to bring peace to the Middle East, the Cradle of Christianity.

events for peace

The Pope’s Call for Peace was followed by

The Conference for Peace

To draw policymakers’ attention to the fact that children are the first victims of war, Aid to the Church in Need together with the Polish embassy to the Holy See, held a conference on Monday, December 3 for the diplomatic corps accredited to Vatican. The conference featured expert witnesses to the situation on the ground including the emergency relief and rebuilding efforts. The conference highlight was a Skype link bridging a representative group of Christian children in Aleppo, Syria, offering songs and prayers for peace and a candle lighting ceremony in union with the ambassadors in the heart of Europe.

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Join us!

Through this effort ACN proposes to raise awareness to the realities children are facing every day in Syria. ACN hopes to raise concern, compassion and solidarity across the world and within the Universal Church. For many, peace seems impossible, but not for God. For the door of peace to open, we would like to invite you, upon the threshold of the season of Advent, to trust Divine Mercy and appeal for peace in Syria. We entrust Syria and whole world to the “Wonder-Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace”: Maranatha!