Church of the Brethren ecumenical partners continue to request prayer for two Orthodox archbishops who were kidnapped one month ago in Aleppo, Syria. Following is a message received May 22 by Church of the Brethren general secretary Stan Noffsinger from the Syriac Orthodox and Greek Orthodox dioceses of Aleppo, as forwarded by Larry Miller, secretary of the Global Christian Forum:
One month on the abduction of our two archbishops
One month lapsed and we are still living the nightmare of the abduction whereabouts our two archbishops. Mar Gregorios Yohanna Ibrahim Metropolitan of the Syriac Orthodox Archdiocese of Aleppo, and Boulos Yazaji Metropolitan of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Aleppo, were kidnapped on the 22nd of April, 2013. An unknown group has abducted them without claiming its responsibility until now, neither announcing the reasons for the abduction nor knowing their place.
We the Syriac and the Greek Orthodox Archdioceses of Aleppo and in coordination with our two Patriarchates in Damascus, express day after day our sadness and increasing pain about the abduction and the absence of these two eminent Prelates, and to what they represent in terms of their holiness, their local and international rank, their active role on all levels including the spiritual, the thoughts, the academic, the education, and the social; but above all the humanitarian work which they were carrying within the current crisis which is engulfing our country Syria.
Today, and after one month of abduction, and despite all the prayers and the supplications in the local churches and worldwide; as well as the calls, the statements, and the efforts from the Christian and Muslim organizations in the world and the international community, we renew our request for the abductees to revise their action, fear God, and release the two archbishops without hurting their health or physical situation; and release all other abducted priests and innocent civilians. One month in abduction is more than enough for the two archbishops. As it is painful for them in their abduction, it is also painful for all the faithful of their two communities, the people of Syria and the world. The continuous abduction of the two archbishops is damaging the structure of Syria in its diverse components and its long history of coexistence and citizenship. Such a catastrophe will be remembered and recorded in history, likewise the devastating and the grieve of Syria. Such acts will not terrify us because we are the sons of the “Resurrection.” We trust that the mercy of the one God whom we all believe in, will guide the abductees and induce them to release the archbishops without any pre-conditions, because there is no price equals the freedom of the two archbishops, and no condition equals their safe return to their communities and churches.
We renew our supplication and continue our prayers with solemnity to our God for the release of the archbishops, the priests, and all those who are in abduction.
— Find the message and photos of the archbishops online at http://new.alepposuryoye.com/topic/380 .