Saint Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church
Grand Junction, Colorado

Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople (AD 73)
Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America (AD 1922)
Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Denver (AD 1979)

METROPOLIS OF DENVER
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12th Street & Horizon Drive
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The First-Century Christian Church for 21st-Century America!
Saint Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church
Reverend Luke Uhl, Presiding Priest
3585 North 12th Street
Grand Junction, Colorado 81506
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Parish phone: 970-242-9590
Father Luke e-mail: fr.luke@denver.goarch.org
Pray for Persecuted Christians!
The Arabic letter “ن” is pronounced “nun,” and is equivalent to the letter “N” in our English alphabet.

In lands controlled by the Islamic State, this Arabic letter “ن” is the modern day equivalent to the Star of David “” which was once used by German Nazis to mark the homes and businesses of Jews in Germany and in the lands they conquered.

Likewise, in lands controlled and conquered by the Islamic State (IS, also known as ISIL, ISIS, and DAESH), this symbol, ن, is used to target the homes and businesses of Christians marked for expulsion and obliteration.

The Arabic letter “ن” (“N”) stands for the Arabic word Nasrani (“Nazarene”). It thus signifies that the residents and owners of homes and business so marked are followers of Jesus of Nazareth, and therefore a Christian. Once marked in this fashion, they are singled out for persecution, and given the simple choice – convert, submit or die.

Since the rise of the so-called Islamic State, many gruesome stories have surfaced depicting the barbarity of this terrorist organization. Its horrific acts of violence have included summary executions, beheadings, and even crucifixion of their opponents.

Their behavior finally received the international attention and condemnation it deserves following the videotaped decapitations of three Western hostages in 2014, including American journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff.

Unfortunately, the plight of one minority being set upon in particular, but not exclusively, by the Islamic State has yet to become the subject of appropriate outrage around the world. Christian men, women and children are being rounded up, raped, robbed and murdered by these and other jihadists across much of the Middle East just because of their faith.

Orthodox Christianity absolutely deplores and condemns discrimination against, and persecution of, any human being for any reason: race, gender, culture, or faith. We unreservedly believe in, and support the universal human right to freedom of expression and freedom to practice one’s faith.

Orthodox Christians call on all men and women of good wil, from each and every religious faith, persuasion and belief to join in a universal struggle against discrimination. In particular we call upon all people to become aware of the present persecution against Christians in the Middle East and in Africa, as well as in other regions of the world.

Let us consider, and never forget, the immortal words of Pastor Martin Niemöller (1892–1984), a prominent Protestant clergyman who emerged as an outspoken public foe of Adolf Hitler and spent the last seven years of Nazi rule in concentration camps:

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out – because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out – because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out – because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me – and there was no one left to speak for me.

Please on the following links for more information about contemporary Christian persecution:

U.S. Commission on International Religious Fredom: “2016 Annual Report (April 2016)
http://www.uscirf.gov/sites/default/files/USCIRF%202016%20Annual%20Report.pdf

Wikipedia: “Persecution of Christians”
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Persecution_of_Christians

Open Doors USA: “Christian Persecution”
https://www.opendoorsusa.org/christian-persecution/

USA Today (US): “Persecution of Christians isn't rare: Franklin Graham” (May 2017)
https://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2017/05/07/christian-persecution-world-egypt-iraq-mexico-column/101279550/

National Catholic Reporter (US): “Global persecution of Christians is 'growing worse than ever'” (April 2017)
https://www.ncronline.org/blogs/distinctly-catholic/global-persecution-christians-growing-worse-ever

Fox News (US): “Christian persecution seen in more locations across the globe, new report shows” (February 2017)
http://www.foxnews.com/world/2017/02/02/christian-persecution-seen-in-more-locations-across-globe-new-report-shows.html

Fox News (US): “Christians the most persecuted group in world for second year: Study” (January 2017)
http://www.foxnews.com/world/2017/01/06/christians-most-persecuted-group-in-world-for-second-year-study.html

CNN (US): “Christian persecution reached record high in 2015, report says” (January 2016)
http://www.cnn.com/2016/01/17/world/christian-persecution-2015/

The Guardian (UK): “Dying for Christianity: millions at risk amid rise in persecution across the globe” (July 2015)
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/jul/27/dying-for-christianity-millions-at-risk-amid-rise-in-persecution-across-the-globe

Independent (UK): “Christians: The world's most persecuted people” (July 2014)
http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/comment/christians-the-worlds-most-persecuted-people-9630774.html

HuffPost (US): “The Most Persecuted Religion in the World” (undated)
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/kelly-james-clark/christianity-most-persecuted-religion_b_2402644.html

Email: fr.luke@denver.goarch.org
© 2003-2016, Saint Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church
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