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 John X of Antioch said in a statement he read at the conclusion of the Divine Liturgy April 19 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 April 22, 2013, in the province of Aleppo. Metropolitan Paul is the brother of the patriarch.
Patriarch John 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 John 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.
In a time to build, CatholicPhilly.com connects people and communities
As society emerges from the loss and separation of the pandemic, CatholicPhilly.com works to strengthen the connections between people, families and communities every day by delivering the news people need to know about the Catholic Church, especially in the Philadelphia region, and the world in which we live.
By your donation in any amount, you join in 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.
Won't you consider making a gift today?
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 credit card here:
Or make your donation by check:
222 N. 17th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103