Home/ACTIVITIES/RECENT ACTIVITIES/Athens, November 8, 2022. Meeting between the I.A.O. Secretary General and the Patriarch of the Assyrian Church of the East Athens, November 8, 2022. Meeting between the I.A.O. Secretary General and the Patriarch of the Assyrian Church of the East The Secretary General of the Interparliamentary Assembly on Orthodoxy (I.A.O.), dr. Maximos Charakopoulos had a meeting with His Holiness the Patriarch of the Apostolic Catholic Assyrian Church of the East Mar Awa III in the Hellenic Parliament on Tuesday 8th November 2022. In his address, the Secretary General stressed that «the Assyrians were also victims of the Genocide unleashed by the Ottomans, the Young Turks and then the Kemalists against all the Christians of Asia Minor, including the Greeks of Pontus and Ionia as well as the Armenians. And we are steadily seeking the recognition of this Genocide by the descendants of the perpetrators, the Turkish state. Not of course for reasons of revenge, but as a gesture of honor to those who lost their lives and their homelands in those years and mainly so that we do not have a repetition of these horrific events». Moreover, he added that “the I.A.O. from the very first moment called for the salvation of Christians in the cradle of Christianity, in the land of the Middle East. This is why we have taken initiatives, such as the establishment of an Observatory on Religious Persecution, which we are discussing together with Lebanon and other countries in the long-suffering Middle East. Additionally, we are discussing with various organizations from other continents the need to record the phenomena of religious persecution against Christian populations. We always promote the message of peaceful settlement, understanding and cooperation”. His Holiness Patriarch Mar Awa III in his address to the head of the inter-parliamentary institution he expressed his sincere thanks “for the fraternal meeting and the cordial welcome” and informed him about the situation of the parish of the Church of the East that has arisen in the Middle East, in the wake of the spread of fundamentalist terrorism Islamic State network in Lebanon and Syria (ISIS/ISIL). He highlighted that: “since 2014, the number of Christians in Iraq and Syria has been decreased dramatically and Christians have been exposed to internal and external displacement. Parishes and communities in Mosul and the Nineveh plains have been destroyed to establish the headquarters of ISIS and there was an attempt to destroy our cultural monuments. And in this case a modern day genocide was committed against our nation and against the Christians of the Middle East (…) Before the arrival of ISIS there were 10,000 Christian families in Mosul, while today there are only 50 families from all Christian denominations. Many Assyrian families fled to Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan and now they are trapped there. The International Community seems to be unaware or to some extent indifferent. The Middle East cannot exist without the Christian Faith. Its elimination would be a disaster for Humanity and the World Civilization”. He concluded that “I am glad that the I.A.O., under your leadership, as well as other parliamentary organizations in Europe, are interested in the persecution of Christians in the Middle East, and this fact encourages our communities”. Finally, the I.A.O. Secretary General invited the Patriarch of the Assyrian Church to the spring meeting of the I.A.O. International Secretariat to be held in Cyprus in March 2023. His participation in this meeting could give the opportunity inform the I.A.O. on these issues and to find joint initiatives to inform decision-making centers in Europe and the USA about the major problems facing Christians in the Middle East. In fact, he handed over the Volume: “Hagia Sophia: The Churches of Wisdom of God around the World” to the Assyrian Patriarch. The meeting was also attended by His Grace Mar Awraham Youkhanis, who is responsible for the Assyrian Community in Greece, the Chorbishop Stephan, the Rev. Fr. Shimshon Temmo and Fr. Ioannis, while the Assyrian Hellenic Association was represented by its President Mr. Kyriakos Batsaras.