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

The latest from america

Boston Cardinal Sean P. O'Malley and Deacon Bernie Nojadera, executive director of the U.S. bishops' Secretariat for Child and Youth Protection, are pictured during the 2017 Catholic convocation in Orlando, Fla.  (CNS photo/Bob Roller)
“Our first job is to listen, to be empathetic,” said Deacon Bernie Nojadera, the executive director of the U.S. bishops’ Secretariat for the Protection of Children and Young People.
 In a screen grab taken from video, Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro speaks during an Aug. 14 news conference to release a grand jury on a months-long investigation into abuse claims spanning a 70-year period in the dioceses of Harrisburg, Pittsburgh, Scranton, Allentown, Greensburg and Erie. (CNS photo/Reuters video)
At least 1,000 children identified in the investigation were raped in Catholic places of worship, in schools, and in diocesan owned vehicles.
Pity and punish the powerful but take no delight in their fall.
Terrance KleinAugust 15, 2018
The state’s attorney general said that his office’s two-year investigation identified 301 priests who abused children and more than 1,000 victims.