A successor is found for Aleppo’s abducted Syriac Orthodox archbishop

Monk Boutros Kassis succeeds Mar Yohanna Ibrahim more than nine years after the latter was abducted. The new archbishop has been acting as patriarchal vicar for Aleppo’s battered community since 2019. The Greek Orthodox Church did the same thing for one of its top clerics kidnapped in 2013.

Aleppo (AsiaNews) – The Syriac Orthodox Church has officially picked a successor to Yohanna Ibrahim for the post of Archbishop of Aleppo.

Archbishop Yohanna was abducted on 22 April 2013 together with Greek Orthodox Archbishop Boulos Yazigi as they returned from Turkey to Syria at one of the worst moments of Syria’s civil war. They have not been seen or heard ever since.

Patriarch Ignatius Aphrem II of the Syriac Orthodox Church confirmed the unanimous election of Boutros Kassis by the Synod as the new archbishop.

According to a statement released by the patriarchate, the decision came after priests, members of religious councils, and heads of Church committees and diocesan institutions in  Aleppo met with the patriarch.

Boutros Kassis, 47, was consecrated patriarchal assistant in October 2019 with the additional role as Patriarchal Vicar of Aleppo.

Given the situation and the passage of time, it became clear that the local Syriac Orthodox community needed a new, permanent leader, and on July 27 the See was officially declared vacant.

The Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch took a similar step in October 2021 when it appointed Metropolitan Ephraim Maalouli to lead the See of Aleppo left vacant by the kidnapping of Metropolitan Boulos Yazigi.

Aleppo’s new Syriac archbishop, Boutros Kassis, studied electronic engineering at the University of Aleppo, before devoting himself to theological studies in Sednaya (Syria) and then Thessaloniki (Greece).