Now that the group of Syrian nuns held captive for three months by jihadi forces have been released (in exchange for prisoners held by the Syrian government), they have confirmed that “they did not feel comfortable wearing their crosses and crucifixes.”
Indeed, back on February 18, I discussed how pictures of the nuns showed no pectoral crosses in “Kidnapped Nuns No Longer Bear the Cross.” This was in keeping with the fact that Islamic law bans Christian “dhimmis” from showing their crosses or Bibles around Muslims.
Still, the Guardian’s first line of the nuns’ release is “Nuns say they were not forced to remove crosses during captivity,” because “the group’s leader, Mother Pelagia Saayaf, who heads the Mar Takla monastery, said: ‘We took off our crosses because we were in the wrong place to wear them.’”
Yet does this diplomatic response not speak for itself concerning, not just contempt for the cross, but for Christians in general? For it simply means that, by wearing crosses they would have exposed their Christian identity — and that would not have been a wise thing, considering they were in “the wrong place,” that is, a place hostile to Christians.
And does it not stand to reason that those hostile to Christians would be hostile to Christian symbols?
Equally telling is the fact that other Christians in Syria were recently offered a “pact,” one modeled after the Islamic rules conquered Christians historically followed, and it specifically includes words banning the appearance of the cross.
At any rate, read my original article, including the now prophetic words of one Syrian priest who said:
St Paul says “But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world” (Galatians 6:14). You [jihadis] removed the cross from the nuns’ breasts. Remove it! We do not rely on the visible. But know that the cross is firmly planted in the hearts of each and every one of those nuns.