Catholicos Aram I Shares Middle Eastern Christians’ Concerns with Obama

President Barack Obama meets withspiritual leaders of the Middle Eastern Maronite, Armenian, Syrian Orthodox, Greek Catholic and Syrian Catholic churches (White House photo)

WASHINGTON—On Thursday, September 11, the spiritual leaders of the Middle Eastern Maronite, Armenian, Syrian Orthodox, Greek Catholic and Syrian Catholic churches who had gathered with for a Christian conference in Washington, held an hour long meeting with President Obama, National Security Advisor Susan Rice and other key White House staff also attended the meeting.

At the request of the patriarchs, His Holiness Aram I, Catholicos of the Great House of Cilicia spoke, first offering condolences in memory of the victims on the 13th anniversary of the September 11th terrorist attacks in Washington and New York. He noted that terrorism, in its different forms and expressions, continues in various corners of the world, and particularly in the Middle East. His Holiness noted that the expanding terrorist movements in the region are not only a threat to Christians, but also to Muslims and the world as a whole. As such, collective and concerted efforts must be made to combat extremism. The participation of Arab and Islamic states in this effort is crucial, noted Catholicos Aram I.

Referring to the Christian presence in the Middle East, His Holiness noted that Christians are not new comers or outsiders to the region, nor should they be considered second class citizens, as their history is deeply rooted in the Middle East. Aram I welcomed President Obama’s announcement just one day earlier and the U.S. commitment to a united effort to eradicate extremist movements.

Following His Holiness Aram I’s remarks, each of the Patriarchs briefly shared their concerns, primarily focusing on the plight of Christian communities in Iraq. Patriarch Rai submitted to President Obama a previously prepared letter by the spiritual leaders.

President Obama, in turn, broadly outlined the key points of his address to the United States, stressing that freedom of conscience


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  1. Hrant A. said:

    His Holiness Catholicos Aram I is the spokesperson of the Middle Eastern spiritual leaders at the meeting with President Obama. He presented the plight of the Christian Communities in the Middle East – including the Armenian Communities in the right perspective. As the spiritual leader of the Great House of Cilicia he makes Armenians proud.

  2. zarkim said:

    Mr Obama has promised that he will get all ISIS terrorists. There is no where they can hide from him. However Mr Obama only mentions the ISIS in Iraq and Syria. Somehow, he overlooks the ones in TURKEY… ISIS is very active in Turkey.
    MAKE NO MISTAKE, Mr Obama is going to make Christians safe in Syria/Iraq and he is not going to endanger them by tackling the problem in the WRONG WAY.
    Mr Obama is going to WIN THE FUTURE by letting Turkey know that harbouring ISIS is against the UN and NATO rules and that Turkey’s membership of NATO and UN will be cancelled if they keep cooperating with ISIS.
    HERE’S THE DEAL, Mr Obama should eliminate ISIS from all areas including TURKEY and INVADE Turkey to liberate it from the dictator – Like they did to Iraq.

    LET ME BE CLEAR, Turkey should not be allowed to send terrorists to neighbouring countries like Syria (KASSAB) and terrorise Christians. How can Mr Obama miss this detail before threatening to eliminate ISIS?
    I know, IT WILL NOT BE EASY, for Mr Obama to please all of the people, all of the time but promise is a promise.
    Mr Obama used to hate terrorists. US/allies used to look for any excuse (Even if they had to INVENT one!) to “punish” terrorists like SADDAM. Now, unfortunately Americans have decided to tolerate some terrorists and call them GOOD GUYS like Al-Qaeda.
    Mr Obama is in charge now and is going to get all these terrorists. TURKEY has nowhere to hide anymore.
    Turkey MUST provide the full details of all ISIS in Turkey (And hand them all over to Obama) and full details of all others that have entered into Syria/Iraq from Turkey – Or – face Mr Obama’s fury!
    Just in case Mr Obama does not remember, Americans/allies funded, trained and encouraged Turkey to shelter ISIS. So, they know where to look…

    • fresnorian said:

      Honestly America cant kick Turkey for middle-east christians expect armenians or lebanese maronites they are ally and old and strong relationship their problem with Russia.

      • zarkim said:

        Hi there.
        Thank you for your comment hayrenakiz.
        American is not going to help Turkey. They have difficulty looking after themselves.
        Turkey is being used because of its strategic position.
        If Russia decides to take Turkey no one is going to help Turkey. This is why Turkey keeps spending with Russia and dances to their tune. Just like the Azeri dood.
        Turkey is safe as long as Russians say so! Turkey is very careful not to upset Putin.
        “All that glitters is not gold”

  3. Shahe said:

    While serious concern is reflected by the meeting, parallel to the Jeddah coalition plan, creating resistance in a way similar to that of Hizbullah and Hamas with heavy gun power and military tactics is the answer. Regular armies may not be efficient. Logically, the coalition planned may not be effective without ground presence and bloodshed.