BEIRUT (CNS) — Lebanon’s Maronite Catholic patriarch and Syria’s Greek Orthodox patriarch called for the release of two Orthodox bishops kidnapped in Syria.
“We demand the kidnappers and the countries concerned” to release the two bishops and the two priests kidnapped before them, and all those who have been kidnapped on Syrian territory, said Lebanese Cardinal Bechara Rai, the Maronite patriarch, and Greek Orthodox Patriarch John X in a joint statement from Bkerke, the Maronite patriarchate north of Beirut.
“We express our sorrow and regret for the continuation of the cycle of violence in Syria, which kills people and destroys their homes,” the two religious leaders said in their appeal on behalf of Orthodox Metropolitan Paul of Aleppo and Syriac Orthodox Metropolitan Gregorios Yohanna of Aleppo.
The Orthodox leaders were kidnapped April 22 in northern Syria while on a humanitarian mission.
Cardinal Rai and Patriarch John also urged all Lebanese parties, as well as regional and international powers to end their involvement in the Syrian conflict.
“On the contrary, we appeal to everyone to work for peace, safeguard the history of Syria and its civilization, which dates back to centuries,” they said.
The cardinal and the patriarch called for “a political solution through dialogue and negotiation” to the Syrian conflict that is “fair and equitable for all.” They emphasized that such a solution should be generated internally and not imposed on the Syrian people from outside powers.
They urged countries in the region, the international community and international institutions “to carry out their responsibilities towards displaced Syrians” and to help Lebanon as it struggles to host and accommodate more than 1 million displaced Syrians.
However, they said, what is needed is “the foundation to stop the violence and war, so that the displaced people can return to their homes and lands as soon as possible.”
“We ask God to inspire all consciences … to work to bring about a just and comprehensive peace, and respect for the dignity and sanctity of human life,” they said.
Help us keep you informed -- CatholicPhilly.com can't do it without youDuring CatholicPhilly.com's fall donation campaign, you have a way to help us deliver the kind of news you need to know about the Catholic Church, especially in the Philadelphia region, and the world in which we live. Every household's costs keep rising, and we're no different. We make sure your dollars in any amount go a long way toward continuing our mission to inform, form in the Catholic faith and inspire the thousands of readers who visit every month. Here is how you can help:
- A $100 gift allows us to present award-winning photos of Catholic life in our neighborhoods.
- A $50 gift enables us to cover a news event in a local parish, school or Catholic institution.
- A $20 gift lets us obtain solid faith formation resources that can deepen your spirituality and knowledge of the faith.
- A small, automated monthly donation means you can support us continually and easily.
Please join in the church's vital mission of communications by offering a gift in whatever amount that you can -- a single gift of $40, $50, $100, or more, or a monthly donation. Your gift will strengthen the fabric of our entire Catholic community.
Make your donation by check:
222 N. 17th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103
Or by credit card here: