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Kidnapping of two archbishops in Syria

Statement from the WCC General Secretary about the kidnapping of two archbishops in Syria

23 April 2013

Statement from the WCC general secretary about the kidnapping of two archbishops in Syria

We have received with great concern and sadness the alarming news of the kidnapping of Archbishop Mar Yohanna Gregorios Ibrahim from the Syriac Orthodox Church and Archbishop Paul Yazigi from the Greek Orthodox Church.

We join with several heads of our member churches and together with them condemn this outrageous violation of human rights and ask for the immediate release of the two Archbishops.  Such events are a threat to all religious communities.

This is only one more sign of the senseless and unacceptable use of violence ongoing in Syria in which on a daily basis innocent people continue to suffer.

We also express our sympathy to the family of the driver who was killed in the kidnapping.  His life was at risk in his service to the bishops and finally sacrificed by the kidnappers.

Archbishop Ibrahim and Archbishop Yazigi are prominent leaders in Syrian society. Through their commitment in various local, national and global initiatives they are well known as actors for peace and justice not only for the Christians of Syria but for all the Syrian people.

We call on all the actors in the Syrian conflict and the international community to stand in solidarity with the two archbishops and mobilize all their efforts in order to release them and prevent such events from taking place again.

Together, we pray to God for the safety and security of God’s servants and all people of Syria. May God bring peace to Syria and to all the communities that are struggling for justice, peace and human dignity.

Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit
WCC general secretary