» 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."
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 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
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.)