(CNSNews.com) -- As the Christian Holy Week begins, the Knights of Columbus has announced that it is sending more than $1 million to persecuted Christians in Syria and Iraq to help them recover and rebuild from the devastation caused by the ISIS-led genocide in the Middle East. The Knights have donated nearly $19 million since 2014 to help the Christians in that region.
"As we recall the passion, death and resurrection of Jesus, it is particularly timely for us to remember and support our brothers and sisters in Christ who have, in places like Iraq and Syria, endured so much persecution for their faith,” said Knights of Columbus CEO Carl Anderson in a Mar. 27 statement.
“Having faced suffering and even death at the hands of ISIS, we hope that our assistance will help these communities to rise up again and rebuild for the future," he said.
With this latest donation, $800,000 will be in financial assistance for food and other material aid programs. Another $250,000 will be allocated to help rebuild the predominantly Christian town of Karamles on the Nineveh Plain, which was nearly razed by the Islamic State. Many homes were destroyed and churches were desecrated.
At least $300,000 of the financial assistance will go to the aid programs run by the Syriac Catholic Patriarchate, reads the statement. This will help "the nearly 3,000 families from Iraq and Syria who have lost everything and are in need of assistance with food, clothing, shelter, and access to education and medical care," said the Knights of Columbus.
The Catholic Archdiocese of Erbil will receive $500,000 for its food program.
“Our people know that without the direct support from the Knights of Columbus to Christians in the region, and without its assistance in making our case to the United States government, Christianity might already have been driven out of Iraq completely,” said Chaldean Archbishop of Erbil Bashar Warda, CSsR.
Thanks to the work of the Knights of Columbus and a detailed, 300-page report it published on the brutal violence perpetrated by the Islamic State against Chrisitans and other religious minorities, the U.S. State Department officially declared ISIS's actions "genocide" in 2016.
To learn more about the humanitarian efforts of the Knights of Columbus, visit www.ChristiansAtRisk.org.