» 05/22/2013, 00.00
Aleppo prays for Orthodox bishops kidnapped a month ago
Bishop Audo, Chaldean Archbishop of Aleppo, speaks of the pain of the Syrian Christian community. For a month the population has been waiting for news on the conditions of Msgr. Youhanna Ibrahim and Msgr. Boulos Yaziji kidnapped on 22 April. The appeal of Bartholomew I, for the liberation of the two prelates and peace in Syria. The hopes for an end to the conflict is supported by the hymn "Christ is Risen Alleluia", which is heard every day in all the churches of the city.
Aleppo (AsiaNews) -
"Pray for the release of Msgr. Youhanna Ibrahim and Msgr. Boulos Yaziji
and for all the people of Syria." This is the appeal of Msgr. Antoine
Audo, Chaldean Archbishop of Aleppo one month after the kidnapping of the two
Orthodox prelates, which took place on April 22 at the border with Turkey.
saddens us - says the prelate to AsiaNews - and what saddens the
population is the total absence of news about the conditions of the two bishops
and where they are prisoners." On 18 May, all the Christian churches of
Aleppo, Catholic and Orthodox, organized a day of prayer for Syria. Thousands
of people attended, braving the bombs, the risk of robberies and kidnappings. The
bishop says priests and religious leaders are an easy target for criminals and
extremists, "I myself cannot move freely for fear of being kidnapped. We
have to plan all our trips."
On May 24, the Catholic Church of Aleppo held a retreat of prayer and
reflection in the Melkite Cathedral. It will bring together the priests and
bishops of the diocese. "The spiritual exercises this year - says the
prelate - are focused on what happened to Msgr. Youhanna and Msgr. Yaziji. All
our prayers and celebrations will be offered for them."
The climate of a
city under siege, does not limit the life of the Church, which has become the
only sign of hope in a devastated country. "We are in Eastertime - Msgr.
Audo - and in all the churches we hear the song 'Christ is risen Alleluia.'
Listening to this music in a climate of sorrow and war, moves us."
In recent days,
Bartholomew I, Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, launched an appeal for
the release of the two prelates in the patriarchal and synodal encyclical
published in all the Orthodox communities on the occasion of the 17th
anniversary of the promulgation of the Edict of Milan. In the text, Bartholomew
expresses his deep concern and anguish for "the persecution still rampant
in the land, and in particular recently against the Christian populations of
the Middle East." "Murders, kidnappings, threats and lawsuits"
against Christians: "We share - we read in Patriarch Bartholomew's
encyclical - the pain, grief and the difficulties facing Christians in the
Middle East and Egypt, and in particular, in the ancient and venerable
Patriarchate of Antioch. Without taking any political position, we condemn
without hesitation and once again all forms of violence against Christians,
appealing to the powerful of the earth so that they respect fundamental human
rights, the right to life, to dignity and the right to have a future, knowing
and praising their behavior peaceful and quiet, and their constant effort to
stay away from all violence and conflict. " For his part, "the
Ecumenical Patriarchate will never cease to support with all the forces at his
disposal, the efforts of peaceful dialogue between the different religions for
a peaceful solution of conflicts and the creation of a climate of tolerance,
reconciliation and cooperation between people of every religion and every
ethnic origin. " (S.C.)
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