Pope Francis Informed of Kidnapping of Syrian Bishops

Metropolitans Mar Gregorios Ibrahim and Paul Yazigi Abducted During Humanitarian Mission

Vatican City, (Zenit.org) Junno Arocho Esteves | 1265 hits

The Holy See has expressed its sadness over the recent kidnapping of two Metropolitan bishops from Syria today.

On Monday, Metropolitans Mar Gregorios Ibrahim of the Syriac Orthodox Church and Paul Yazigi of the Greek Orthodox Church of Antioch were abducted in an area considered to be one of the most dangerous areas in Syria yesterday during a humanitarian mission.

According to a communique released by the  World Council of Arameans (WCA), their driver was shot and killed, though they are not certain whether his murder occurred before, during or after the abduction.

“Following conversations with rebel leaders surrounding the Aleppo region, the WCA understands that the Archbishops are currently held in Kafar Dael and are safe and sound at this hour,” the communique stated. “However, this is a critical dangerous and volatile situation which could end very badly for both Archbishops. The WCA’s contacts near Aleppo have tried to head to the area in order to meet with the rebels to understand their demands, but they were forced back due to the perilous situation in the area.”

The WCA said that all clues to the kidnapping indicate that it was carried out by a foreign group, possibly of Chechen descent, however that is yet to be confirmed.

In a statement released by Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, director of the Holy See Press Office, the Holy Father has been informed of the situation in Syria, saying that it is “a dramatic confirmation of the tragic situation in which the Syrian population and the Christian communities in Syria are living.”

“The Holy Father has been informed of this recent, extremely grave act, which comes on top of the increasing violence of the past days and a humanitarian emergency of enormous proportions. Pope Francis is following the events with deep participation and he is praying for the health and the liberation of the two kidnapped bishops,” Fr. Lombardi stated.

The director of the Holy See Press Office also said that the Holy Father is also praying that the Syrian people “may finally see tangible responses to the humanitarian drama and real hopes of peace and reconciliation rise on the horizon."

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On ZENIT's web page:

For the full text of Fr. Lombardi's statement, go to: 

http://www.zenit.org/en/articles/statement-by-holy-see-on-kidnapping-of-bishops-in-syria