» 06/24/2013 SYRIA Idlib: monk killed at Franciscan convent in Al-Ghassaniyah Fr Franҫois Mourad, a Syrian hermit, was a guest at the Franciscan monastery of St Anthony of Padua in Al-Ghassaniyah. What happened is still unclear. Some sources say a stray bullet killed him; others claim Islamist insurgents shot him as they plundered and destroyed the religious building.
Damascus (AsiaNews) - The Custody of the Holy Land
announced the death of Fr Franҫois Mourad (photo),
a Syrian monk, and
the assault of the Franciscan monastery of St Anthony of Padua in
Ghassanieh, a predominantly Christian
village in the district of Jisr al-Shughur in the province of Idlib, near the border with Turkey.
Fr Halim Noujaim, a Franciscan priest,
said in a letter to the Custodian that Frs
Hanna and Firas, both Franciscan religious from Kanaieh (Latakia), went to Al-Ghassaniyah
to collect Fr Franҫois's body,
confirming that the convent had been
In his letter, Fr Halim issued an appeal to the West,
underlying the dangers of helping
armed anti-Assad rebels,
who support religious extremists responsible for several attacks against the Christian minority.
At present, what happened is still unclear. In one version
of events, the monk, who had been
a guest at the convent for the past few months, was killed by a stray bullet that had come through
claim that the clergyman was murdered during an assault by Islamist insurgents. After they stormed the building, the latter shot the priest, and took everything of any value
in the convent. (S.C.)