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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
"Adopt a Christian from Mosul," the thanks of the Patriarch Louis Sako; the concerns of the Bishop of Kurdistan
by Bernardo CervelleraThe head of the Chaldean Church is grateful for the AsiaNews campaign and hopes that "this chain of solidarity will reach far and wide”. Helping refugees to remain in Iraq. But many want to flee abroad. The bishop of Amadiyah where thousands of displaced people have found haven in churches and homes: We also help the Arabs (Muslims), and Yazidis, for free and without looking at our confessional differences.
ITALY - IRAQ
"Adopt a Christian from Mosul" to respond directly to Iraq's emergencyAsiaNews is launching a fundraiser to support Christians targeted by the Islamic State, thus responding to a request by the Patriarch of Baghdad and Pope Francis's urgent appeal "to guarantee all necessary assistance - especially the most urgently needed aid - to the great multitude of people who have been driven from their homes, whose fate depends entirely on the solidarity of others." More than 100,000 people have been forced to flee their homes leaving everything behind and now have nothing to live on. To help them, five euros a day are enough. The funds raised will be sent to the Patriarchate of Baghdad, which will distribute them according to the needs of each family.
CHINA - VATICAN
Wenzhou bishop and priests slam government's campaign against crosses and churches in Zhejiang
by Eugenia ZhangFor Mgr Vincent Zhu Weifang, from the official Church, the campaign of destruction is increasing social instability. It is real persecution against the Christian faith. The bishop apologises for failing to intervene sooner. He was hoping that the campaign would end quickly. Catholics and Protestants suffer injuries as they attempt to defend their sacred buildings. For priests in Wenzhou, the campaign is unfair and touches buildings that have all the right papers. Such "stupid acts" by the government are undermining social harmony.

Dossier
by Giulio Aleni / (a cura di) Gianni Criveller
pp. 176
by Lazzarotto Angelo S.
pp. 528
by Bernardo Cervellera
pp. 240
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