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Greek and Syriac patriarchs issue joint communique on Aleppo church leaders’ kidnapping

Apr 24, 2013

As the uncertainty of the whereabouts of two Syrian church leaders kidnapped in Syria on Monday continued Wednesday, the patriarchs of the Greek Orthodox and Syriac Orthodox churches have issued a joint communique calling on churches around the world to “stand fast in the face of what is going on and witness to their faith in the power of love in this world.”

On Monday, 22 April, Greek Orthodox Archbishop Paul Yazigi of Aleppo and Alexandretta and Syriac Orthodox Archbishop Yohanna Ibrahim of Aleppo were kidnapped en route to Aleppo by unknown assailants after returning from a humanitarian mission near the Turkish border region.  Their driver, Fatha’ Allah Kabboud, a deacon in the Syriac Orthodox Church, was killed in the incident.

The communique from Patriarch Jhon X Yazigi of the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch and all the East and Patriarch Mar Ignatius Zakka I Iwas, of the Syriac Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch and all the East, expressed surprise and deep regret over the situation.  Both churches are members of the World Council of Churches (WCC).

The patriarchs called on the kidnappers to “respect the life of the two kidnapped brothers as well as everyone to put an end to all the acts that create confessional and sectarian schisms among the sons of the one country.”

To the churches around the world, the communiqué said, “It is necessary to take steps that reflect their refusal to all kinds of violence hitting the human beings living in the East.”

Late Tuesday evening news reports said the two Syrian archbishops had been released, but by mid-day Wednesday it was clear through WCC contact with the churches that in fact their release remained uncertain.

To read the full communiqué, click here.