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2013-05-07

ASIA/SYRIA - International effort for the release of the Bishops kidnapped, but beware of fake mediators

Damascus (Agenzia Fides) - A great international and ecumenical effort is in progress to try to save the lives and release the two Bishops of Aleppo in Syria kidnapped two weeks ago, the Syrian Orthodox Gregorios Yohannna Ibrahim and the Greek-Orthodox Boulos to -Yazigi. This was confirmed to Fides Agency by the Metropolitan Bishop Timoteo Matta Fadil Alkhouri, Patriarchal Assistant in the Syrian Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch, Bishop Gregory Yohanna Ibrahim’s confrere. "We are anxiously waiting - the Bishop says to Fides – we do not know where the Bishops are and with whom. Let us wait and pray. Let us hope they are still alive. We have just celebrated Easter, the Resurrection of Christ. We have entrusted the life of the Bishops to the Risen Christ. "
Meanwhile, all possible paths are being covered to search for a channel with the kidnappers: "We continue to connect with other people, religious leaders and politicians at all levels. Our bishops in Turkey, Syria, and Lebanon have activated their channels. Some have contacts with the Syrian Free Army. We call on every person and every group, we knock on the door of every government. We have spoke with Bishops of other churches, nations and religions. The Greek-Orthodox Patriarchate in Lebanon, for example, has good contacts in Russia. We have sent messages to the Pope but also to the Anglican Church. Our Bishops in the United States are in contact with the civil authorities in America. There is an international effort."
In these attempts, "there are some Muslim leaders who are honest and are trying to help us, who love peace and love Christians." However, there are "shady characters who try to take advantage of the moment to get money, assing themselves off as mediators," notes the Bishop. The galaxy of false intermediaries, who tries to speculate on the tragic fate of Bishops, therefore, is another of the pitfalls that occur during these hours.
In particular, the Bishop says: "We are very happy to have received the support and prayer of Holy Father Francis. We know that the Pope prays for our Bishops and for Syria, he has Syria in his heart. We ask him to continue praying for us." Also the two priests Michel Kayyal (Armenian Catholic) and Maher Mahfouz (Greek-Orthodox) kidnapped by a group of armed rebels on February 9 have not yet been released: "We do not have news and we are concerned," says the Bishop.
During the Holy Mass of the Orthodox Easter, celebrated two days ago, even the Greek-Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch and All the East, Yuhanna X Yazigi, again expressed the wish that the two Archbishops kidnapped in Syria are released, re-launching a heartfelt appeal to the international community: "I hope that the two come back safe and sound: help us." (PA) (Agenzia Fides 07/05/2013)

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