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» 05/08/2013
SYRIA
Silence still shrouds kidnapped Orthodox prelates. Bishop of Aleppo: We’re groping in the dark
For Msgr. Jeanbart the act is inexplicable. The only certain thing is that no one knows where Msgr. Yohanna Ibrahim and Msgr. Boulos Yaziji are. Money, food, school, and spiritual comfort for the people of Aleppo plagued by war, famine and despair. Moscow and Washington seek a path of dialogue between rebels and regime.

Aleppo (AsiaNews) - Silence still shrouds the plight of the Orthodox Bishops kidnapped on April 22 on the outskirts of Aleppo. For weeks, the Greek-orthodox Patriarchate has been trying to establish contacts to start a negotiation and cannot understand the reasons behind the act, which remains unexplained. Interviewed by AsiaNews, Mgr. Jeanclement Jeanbart, the Greek-Melkite Archbishop of Aleppo, said that "we are groping in the dark", "the situation - he explains - is very delicate, for safety reasons the Orthodox Patriarchate is keeping quiet to avoid generating false news." For the prelate, the only thing certain is that no one knows where Msgr. Yohanna Ibrahim and Msgr. Boulos Yaziji and the two priests kidnapped in February are. "We Catholics - he adds - are close to our Orthodox brothers and sisters, with prayer and with our constant physical and moral presence."

Archbishop Jeanbart expresses his sorrow for a country, a people and a city like Aleppo destroyed and ravaged by war, hunger, despair. "The whole city is suffering - he says - people are tired and afflicted." The bishop explained that families are struggling to find food, fuel and other goods even the most basic are scarce. The Church tries to help everyone without distinction. Thanks to donations, the Greek-Melkite community has kicked off a program to support the poorest households, with subsidies amounting to 50% of the average salary of a worker. In addition, the daily distribution of food, medical care and free schooling for children.

For the prelate, "priests, bishops and religious leaders have the task of giving hope to the people with material aid and through words of comfort." "The population is aware that the Church does not deceive them with false promises."

And now, the whole country is isolated, with Internet communications down with mobile phones the only remaining bridge with the outside world. The cause of the blackout is as yet unknown.

Meanwhile, the United States and Russia have revived a channel of dialogue between rebels and the regime and the possibility of a cease-fire, taking up the role vacated by Kofi Annan in June 2012. On a visit to Russia, John Kerry, U.S. Secretary of State, has had several discussions on the issue with President Vladimir Putin and his counterpart Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. Moscow and Washington will work together to convince both the Syrian government and the opposition to stop the violence and to create a transitional government, which could also include officials of the regime. (S.C.)

 


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See also
04/23/2013 SYRIA
Two Orthodox Bishops abducted by an armed group on the road to Aleppo
04/24/2013 SYRIA
Mystery shrouds alleged release of two Orthodox bishops
03/07/2014 SYRIA
All contact lost with Ma'aloula nuns. Syria will sink further into war for another 10 years
by Paul Dakiki
01/16/2009 IRAQ
Mosul, fresh anti Christian violence. Murder and torture
02/10/2014 SYRIA
New video of abducted Ma'aloula nuns, calling for the release of "all detainees" in Syria

Editor's choices
IRAQ - ITALY
Almost 700,000 euros raised as the 'Adopt a Christian from Mosul' campaign continues
by Bernardo CervelleraA second instalment is sent with funds raised in September. The fate of East-West relations is being played out in the Middle East and Iraq. Pope Francis and the Synod issue an appeal. Governments are lukewarm. Aid is coming from around the world. A new international community is defeating the "globalisation of indifference."
IRAQ-VATICAN
"Adopt a Christian from Mosul": Archbishops’ thanks as first aid arrives
by Amel NonaMsgr. Amel Nona, the Chaldean Archbishop of Mosul, who is also a refugee himself, thanks all the donors to the AsiaNews campaign. The situation is increasingly difficult given the huge number of refugees and the arrival of winter and snow, making outdoor shelters and tents impossible. The crisis, an occasion that activates the faith of Christians.
ITALY - IRAQ
After raising € 350,000, 'Adopt a Christian from Mosul' campaign continues
by Bernardo CervelleraDonations raised up to 31 August have been sent to the patriarch of Baghdad and the bishops of Kurdistan. The campaign helps to feed, house, clothe, and bring comfort to more than 150,000 Christian, Yazidi, Turkmen, Shia and Sunni refugees who fled the violence of the army of the Islamic Caliphate. People in Italy and around the world have been generous, including the poor and the unemployed, a sign of hope for the world as well as those who suffer and those who give.

Dossier

by Giulio Aleni / (a cura di) Gianni Criveller
pp. 176
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