Cyprus Mail
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ACN assisting threatened Christians

" saint john the merciful table" for syrian refugees and others in zahle area and bekaa valley
Food distribution to the Syrian refugees during the corona times under strict hygiene conditions. Photo: Archbishop John Darwish is helping to preare the take away for the needy. LEBANON / ZAHLEH-MLC 21/00070 " Saint John the Merciful Table" for Syrian refugees and others in Zahle area and Bekaa Valley (03/ 2021- 02/ 2022) LEBANON / ZAHLEH-MLC 19/00035 Humanitarian Feeding program „Saint John the Merciful Table" for Syrian refugees and others in Zahle area and Bekaa Valley (03/ 2019 - 03/ 2020) LEBANON / ZAHLEH-MLC 20/00058 ID: 2001204 " Saint John the Merciful Table" for Syrian refugees and others in Zahle area and Bekaa Valley (03/ 2020- 02/ 2021)

By Aid to the Church in Need

Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) helps Christians who are persecuted by violence, oppressed by terror, or are suffering outright discrimination and resulting poverty in various countries. As their tragic plight is rarely reported in the media, the civilised world is oblivious of what millions of Christians go through daily.

Together with many benefactors and project partners, ACN concentrates on supporting suffering local communities of various Christian denominations, thereby upholding the ideals of Christian charity. For example, in the predominantly Muslim northern Nigeria, last year alone, the terrorist group Boko Haram massacred 350 Christians in one attack. Despite the violence and threats, Nigerian Christians continue to stand firm in their faith. ACN is supporting these and other Christians during their difficult times with much needed assistance.

Stephen Axisa, national director for ACN in Malta, said: “The pandemic has made us painfully aware of how little we humans can rely on our own strength, but faith gives hope. A community of benefactors spread in 23 countries make it possible for ACN to fund over 4,000 support, advocacy and information projects in 138 countries.

Circa 400 projects concerned emergency aid against the coronavirus. Reconstruction of homes and facilities destroyed by jihadists accounted for the largest share of projects.

Africa was again the priority region for ACN projects in recent years. The situation is dramatic, especially in the Sahel zone, where Christians are victims of persecution, violence and expulsion. Other assistance concerned refugee and emergency aid and the provision of means of transport for medical, social and pastoral care to priests and religious sisters who are on the front line to assist those in extreme need.

Europe moved further up the priority list as funds went to countries in Eastern Europe, where many committed Christians are suffering existential hardships due to the pandemic.

In Asia, through ACN’s coronavirus emergency aid, local churches were at least able to purchase protective equipment and cushion their financial burdens.

Increasing poverty, persecution of Christians and acts of outright vandalism against religion are adding constant hardships in Latin America.

The situation in the Middle East remains uncertain, not only because of the outbreak of the pandemic, but also due to war, jihadist terror and economic decline. A significant amount of support was provided to ACN’s project partners, in particular in Lebanon, which has always been a refuge and a foothold for Christians in the Middle East.

The 4th August 2020 explosion in the port of Beirut devastated the Christian district closest to the harbour. ACN significantly increased its support on a daily basis to hundreds of Christian families who lost their homes and livelihoods.

Even after ten years, the war in Syria is not yet over. ACN helped mainly with ensuring survival, education, medical supplies and church reconstructions following ISIS’s departure.

Every year, ACN puts the concerns of the suffering faithful in the public eye. In accordance with its guiding principle of “inform, pray and act”, the foundation’s communication work gives a voice to those who no longer have one.  For the 14th time, ACN’s 1200-page ‘Religious Freedom in the World Report’, published in six languages earlier this year, examined 196 countries.

Stephen Axisa said:Aid to the Church in Need focusses on the human and spiritual support of persecuted and suffering Christians. Our long-standing experience and belief in the power of charity encourages us to continue on this path by inspiring people about our work around the globe.”

“In early November, an ACN (Malta) representation will be in Cyprus. We invite you to meet us either to discuss how you can help or even just to get to know more about the positive changes, tangible support and hope that ACN is providing to hundreds of thousands of ill-treated and persecuted Christians. You may contact our friendly team at [email protected] or on + 356 7945 2114, or + 356 9942 7457 to find out how and when you can meet us in Cyprus in the coming days,” said Mr Axisa.



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