World Remains Silent About Bishops Missing in Syria

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.

Advertisement

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.

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

Catholic women may be part of a Democratic voting wave in 2018. They are ready to welcome women deacons.
Mark M. GrayJanuary 16, 2018
This issue of America presents the findings of the most comprehensive survey of U.S. Catholic women ever conducted.
Matt Malone, S.J.January 16, 2018
All the women who responded to this survey still identify themselves as Catholic, however far they may have strayed from a consistent practice of the faith they were raised in.
The EditorsJanuary 16, 2018
Women religious from the Children of Mary Convent in Newark, Ohio, gather during the 2015 annual March for Life in Washington. (CNS photo/Jim Lo Scalzo, EPA)
America spoke to a number of young women religious about the vital contributions they and their fellow sisters make to the Catholic Church.
Our readersJanuary 16, 2018