As a young boy, Andre realized that the implications of war, hunger, and terror had far-reaching effects on every aspect of the human psyche, society and culture. Today, as a voice for the persecuted and Christian refugees, he cautions that western civilization and Judeo-Christian foundations are being targeted.
Father Andre Mahanna is a recognized Middle East thought-leader on the historical, religious, social, and cultural complexities of the many regions that comprise the Middle East. Specifically, his mission is to speak of the strategic, methodical, daily violence carried out by ISIS to accomplish their stated mission: To destroy and eliminate Christianity in the Middle East and beyond. Their Jihad is reality as we witness what many are identifying as a systematic Christian genocide in the very regions where Christianity first began and thrived. The threat is to the independence and peace of individual nations, as well as of the world.
“Our care is first for the Christians and then others who are persecuted. Not because they are a minority, but because they are on the frontlines of a modern day genocide. They are suffering barbaric situations now, so they are, in fact, the true harbingers of what Americans should be aware.” explains Father Andre Mahanna, an American citizen, Co-Director (with Archbishop Samuel Aquila, Denver, CO), PLACE Initiative, 2013, www.ipetition/the-place-intiative-peace-love-and; Founder and Director, Mission of Hope and Mercy for Christians in the Middle East, www.savechristianmiddleeast.org; Pastor, Saint Rafka Maronite Catholic Church, Denver, CO, www.strafkadenver.org; USA Founder, Referent and Director, Vatican-Associated Office of Apostolic Union of Clergy; and Director, Office of Ecumenism and Inter-Faith Relations, Eparchy of Our Lady of Lebanon, www.eparchy.org.
Father Andre is uniquely qualified to speak on the topic of ISIS and its hand on the Middle East, Europe, and the U.S. He grew up in war torn Lebanon. As a boy accompanying his father on government trips to Muslim and Christian regions, he heard stories of religious-based crimes by both Muslims and Christians. At 10, his family (along with 25 other families) escaped Christian massacres by living in caves at Mount Lebanon. His bed was a Phoenician tomb. By age 12, he had decided to become a monk. It was then that visions of precisely what the world is experiencing now – famine, torture and the massacre of women and children – gave him the resolve to advance ecumenical understanding and devote his life’s work to being an instrument of peace.
Today, he is an ecumenical and interreligious communicator. He served on the Vatican’s 2010 Synod on the Middle East, and in 2012, he was appointed head of the Apostolic Association of Ordained Ministers. He is frequently interviewed and has authored many articles on the unity of Christians, religious freedom, and the Biblical foundation of Judeo-Christian precepts, values and traditions and their implications in today’s world.
He founded The Mission of Hope and Mercy, www.savechristianmiddleeast.org in May, 2015. The Mission focuses raising awareness of the severity of the situation in the Middle East and its far-reaching implications for social justice and religious freedom for all. It also focuses on charity as a tangible way for Americans to aid persecuted Christian refugees from Iraq and Syria (now displaced and living in Lebanon) by providing hope and mercy: food, medicine, clothing, and hygiene supplies to families. Medical care has been provided to countless refugees with special attention given to those with serious ailments, including cancer. The mission also provides targeted psychological and medical assistance to women and children who, in particular, have been severely brutalized and are experiencing ongoing trauma.
His inspiration for the Mission was the declaration made by St. John Paul ll in 1989. “Lebanon is more than a country. It is a message of freedom and an example of pluralism for East and West.”