YouTube Rewind 2012
Mystery shrouds alleged release of two Orthodox bishops
Archbishop of Aleppo Jean Clement Jeanbart, denies reports of the
release of Msgr. Ibrahim and Msgr. Boulos al-Yaziji. The two were being
held prisoners until last night
- "Archbishop Ibrahim and Metropolitan Boulos al-Yaziji until last night were still in the
hands of their kidnappers. Reports of their release yesterday afternoon were
false." This is
according to Msgr. Jean-Clement
Jeanbart, Greek-Melkite Archbishop of Aleppo, who emphasizes that the
negotiations with the kidnappers are in progress, pointing out that at the
moment "we know nothing" about their eventual release.
Reports have been circulating since yesterday about the alleged release of the two
the afternoon, all of the major news agencies and global networks had announced
the release of the two bishops. The
first to have leaked the news were journalists of Agence France Press (AFP),
which quoted a statement by the Oeuvre d'Orient. They
were followed by Reuters who also confirmed the release, citing Msgr. Tony Yaziji, bishop
of the Greek orthodox church. Archbishop
Jeanbart explains that "this news spread in Syria, resulting in great
confusion." But for the moment
there has been no official confirmation.
Yohanna Ibrahim, Syriac Orthodox bishop of the diocese of Aleppo and Boulos
Yaziji, Greek orthodox Metropolitan of the diocese of the city, were abducted
on the afternoon of April 22 in the village of Kafr Dael about 10 km from
to witnesses they were negotiating the release of two priests Fr. Michel
Catholic) and Fr. Maher Mahfouz (Greek-orthodox), seized in February and
still in the hands of their kidnappers. On their return they ran into a roadblock
set up by rebel militias, the car carrying the two bishops was surrounded by some
armed men, perhaps Chechen jihadists, who opened fire on the vehicle, killing
the driver deacon and seizing the prelates.
kidnapping of the two prelates has rocked the Syrian Christian community,
Orthodox and Catholic. Yesterday,
the pope said in the statement that he "follows the events with deep participation
and intense prayer for the wellbeing and the release of the two abducted
Pope praying for the release of Mgrs Ibrahim and Boulos al-Yaziji
Speaking to AsiaNews, Archbishop Jeanbart calls on the West to ends its "indifference". All Catholic bishops in Aleppo are "saddened and concerned" about the kidnapping of the two Syriac Orthodox and Greek Orthodox prelates. Kidnappers are thought to be foreign fighters. Even the Orthodox Patriarchate in Moscow shares the pain of Syria's Churches.
Aleppo (AsiaNews) - From Pope Francis to the Orthodox Patriarchate in Moscow, the Catholic and Orthodox Churches are praying for bishops Youhanna Ibrahim (Syriac Orthodox) and Boulos al-Yaziji (Greek Orthodox) who were abducted yesterday afternoon in Aleppo. Both Churches have launched an appeal for their release. In a statement, the pope said, he was "following the events with deep participation and [. . .] is praying for the health and the liberation of the two kidnapped bishops."
The kidnapping of Mgrs Ibrahim and Boulos al-Yaziji has shaken the Christian community in Aleppo, battered for months by the fighting between the army and rebels. Interviewed by AsiaNews, Greek-Melkite Archbishop Mgr Jean-Clement Jeanbart has called on "Christians around the world to pray for peace in Syria, for the liberation of the two Orthodox bishops and that of Fr Michel Kayyal and Fr Maher Mahfouz, who were abducted in February and are still in the hands of the kidnappers."
Archbishop Jeanbart said that the whole Christian community, Catholic and Orthodox, is saddened by what happened to the two prelates on the day the Church celebrates Saint George, patron saint of Syria.
"What makes our suffering even worse," the bishop said, "is the indifference of the West, which continues to be blind. Western leaders are unable or unwilling to understand the situation in Syria, that the war between rebels and the army could see the area overrun by jihadists and criminals from every nation who have nothing to do with the Syrian people."
The Greek-Melkite bishop explains that according to the latest information, the kidnapping of Archbishop Youhanna Ibrahim, Syriac Orthodox bishop of Aleppo, and Mgr Boulos al-Yaziji, Greek-Orthodox archbishop of Aleppo and Iskenderun, took place at around 5 pm (local time) in the area of Kafr Dael, a rebel-controlled area ten km from the city. The armed men who stopped the two prelates, included foreigners who did not speak Arabic, witnesses said.
"Unfortunately, the information is not entirely reliable," Mgr Jeanbart explained. "However, everything is being done to free them." A Mass and a prayer vigil are planned for tomorrow in all of the churches in Aleppo, with thousands of people expected.
"We want to give people hope," he said. "The Church has been entrusted to us pastors. At a difficult and tragic time, it is our duty to do everything possible to hold it together and bear witnesses to Christ's love."
"We ask European nations and all Western countries to look seriously at the problems of Syria," the prelate explained. "Foreign governments and parties to the conflict must work for a peaceful solution to the war, which is the only way we can save innocent people."
Vatican Press Office director Fr Federico Lombardi released a statement today about the kidnapping of the Orthodox bishops in Syria. In it, he said that Pope Francis shared the pain Aleppo's Christian community feels following the kidnapping of the two prelates.
Such an act "is a dramatic confirmation of the tragic situation in which the Syrian population and the Christian communities in Syria are living. The Holy Father has been informed of this recent, extremely grave act, which comes on top of the increasing violence of the past days and a humanitarian emergency of enormous proportions. Pope Francis is following the events with deep participation and he is praying for the health and the liberation of the two kidnapped bishops. He is also praying so that, with the support and prayers of all, the Syrian people may finally see tangible responses to the humanitarian drama and real hopes of peace and reconciliation rise on the horizon."
The Moscow Patriarchate has called on the international community to take concrete steps to secure the release of two prelates.
"We are currently taking measures to establish their whereabouts in order to help them and secure their release from captivity as soon as possible," Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, head of the Moscow Patriarchate Department for External Church Relations, told journalists on Tuesday.
This sad event comes as another reminder of the "need to stop the continuing bloodshed in Syria as soon as possible, as well as the fact that political dialogue, no matter how difficult it can be, is the sole way out of this situation," the metropolitan added. (S.C.)
Pubblicato da lorenzoALLAH Mahdì leviathan Mohammed Messiah