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WCC renews call to prayer for peace in Syria

WCC renews call to prayer for peace in Syria

Statue of Saint Thecla near the Maaloula convent from where the nuns were abducted. Photo: Bernard Gagnon

21 December 2013

The World Council of Churches (WCC) general secretary is calling on the council's 345 member churches and churches around the world to continue to pray for the safe return of the twelve nuns abducted from the Convent of St Thecla in the historical town of Maaloula on 2 December 2013, as well as the two Archbishops of Aleppo in Syria Mar Yohanna Gregorios Ibrahim from the Syriac Orthodox Church and Archbishop Paul Yazigi from the Greek Orthodox Church of Antioch who were kidnapped in April 2013 near Aleppo, Syria on their way back from a humanitarian mission.

“As the Christmas season is upon us, it is important to remember in our prayers and thoughts that the 12 nuns and Archbishop Ibrahim and Archbishop Yazigi remain missing,” Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit said on Friday.

“The nuns and both archbishops are deeply missed by their church communities and families,” Tveit said. “The pain of this separation has added to the ongoing suffering inflected upon all people of Syria because of the conflict. It is very sad and tragic that thousands of Syrian peoples have disappeared in prisons.”

The WCC calls on all the actors in the Syrian conflict to spare all civilians including religious people and not take them as human shields. The WCC calls also on the international community to stand in solidarity with all victims of kidnappings and forced disappearances and mobilize all their efforts in order to release them and prevent such events from taking place again.

“We continue to pray that God will bring peace to Syria and an end to the suffering of millions of people throughout Syria who have lost their beloved ones, who have been disabled and injured, who have been internally displaced or have become refugees, who have lost their homes, their properties and their places of worship,” Tveit said.

WCC general secretary condemns kidnapping of Syrian church leaders (WCC news release of 23 April 2013)

WCC 10th Assembly statement affirming the Christian presence and witness in the Middle East

June 2013 statement from the WCC general secretary on the manipulation of religion in the Syrian crisis