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Greek Orthodox Patriarch: World Remains Silent About Missing Bishops

20 Apr 2015 – By Doreen Abi Raad

BEIRUT (CNS) — Commemorating the second anniversary of the kidnapping of two Syrian bishops, the Greek Orthodox patriarch lamented the indifference of the international community about their fate.

“We hope that the bishops are alive, but unfortunately the world is silent and nobody has provided physical evidence,” Greek Orthodox Patriarch Youhanna X of Antioch said in a statement he read at the conclusion of the Divine Liturgy on 19 April at Our Lady of Balamand Monastery in northern Lebanon, near Tripoli.

The bishops — Syriac Orthodox Metropolitan Gregorios Yohanna and Greek Orthodox Metropolitan Paul, both of Aleppo, Syria — were kidnapped on 22 April 2013, in the province of Aleppo. Metropolitan Paul is the brother of the patriarch.

Patriarch Youhanna called for “the whole community and international organizations to mobilize” to inquire about the fate of the missing bishops.

“We tried to negotiate with those who can help in this matter, but unfortunately there was total silence,” he said.

In a joint statement recognizing the second anniversary of the bishops’ kidnappings, Patriarch Youhanna and Syriac Orthodox Patriarch Ignatius Aphrem II of Antioch said, “Your wound is our wound, and your pain is our pain, and your tears are our tears and your life is our life.”

“Our [Middle] East,” the patriarchs said, “has become an open arena for all evils.” The aim of the atrocities in the region “is to demolish life in its cradle, shatter civilizations, remove the rudiments of its landmarks, conceal its characteristics, displace man, destroy history and disfigure the identity of God,” they stated.

The two Syrian-born patriarchs called for dialogue.

“Let us shake hands, talk to each other, have peace, reconciliation, mutual understanding, cooperation, and integration. The solution is not achieved by violence, but by multiple forms of dialogue,” they said.





Tags: Syria Violence against Christians Syriac Orthodox Church Greek Orthodox Patriarch Youhanna X of Antioch