Captors Release Kidnapped Priest in Syria : No word on other community members taken

Captors released a Franciscan priest who was among about 20 Christians kidnapped from a Syrian village near the border with Turkey, said the Franciscan Custody of the Holy Land. Franciscan Father Hanna Jallouf was being held under house arrest in a convent in Knayeh, a small Christian village in northwestern Syria, an Oct. 9 statement from the Franciscan organization said. It gave no details.

There was no immediate word on the others who were abducted the night and early morning of Oct. 5-6.

Advertisement

Bishop Georges Abou Khazen, who heads the apostolic vicariate of Aleppo, Syria, told Fides, news agency of the Vatican Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, that among those kidnapped were young people, including boys and girls. Brigades linked to the Al-Nusra front, a branch of al-Qaida operating in Syria, are believed to be behind the abductions, the church agencies said.

A statement from the Latin Patriarchate said there had been no contact with the priest or his captors and that Franciscan nuns who were in a convent in the village took refuge in neighboring homes. Father Jallouf was one of two priests living in the village of 700 Catholic families.

Franciscan priests have been present in the village and the surrounding valley of Orontes for more than a century, the Latin Patriarchate said. Before Syria's civil war began in 2011, the Franciscan community operated a youth center, kindergarten and health clinic in the village.

The kidnappings come as fighting between rebel forces and the Syrian army increased in northern sections of the country in early October.

The Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary in Rome said Franciscan Sister Patrizia Guarino, 80, was among those who fled the convent and was staying with a family in Knayeh, according to the ANSA news agency Oct. 7.

 
Comments are automatically closed two weeks after an article's initial publication. See our comments policy for more.

Advertisement

Don't miss the best from America

Sign up for our Newsletter to get the Jesuit perspective on news, faith and culture.

The latest from america

The news from Ireland and the United States reminds us of Herod, of Pharaoh. What culture betrays its children?
The EditorsMay 26, 2018
A woman religious casts her ballot May 25 in Dublin as Ireland holds a referendum on its law on abortion. Voters went to the polls May 25 to decide whether to liberalize the country's abortion laws. (CNS photo/Alex Fraser, Reuters)
The repeal of Ireland's Eighth Amendment, which guarantees the right to life of the unborn, has passed with a nearly 2-1 margin.
Education Secretary Betsy DeVos testifies at a House Committee on Education and the Workforce, Tuesday, May 22, 2018, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
The Secretary of Education stirred up controversy when she said it was up to schools to decide if an undocumented student should be reported to authorities.
J.D. Long-GarcíaMay 25, 2018
Thousands gathered in Dublin May 12 to say "Love Both" and "Vote No" to abortion on demand. They were protesting abortion on demand in the forthcoming referendum May 25. (CNS photo/John McElroy)
“Priests and bishops get verbal abuse by being told, ‘How can you speak for women? You don’t know what it’s like!’”
America StaffMay 25, 2018