Thursday, October 25, 2012

Father Fadi Haddad Martyred near Damascus

See also the statement from the Patriarchate of Antioch here.

Arabic original here. It's a bit disjointed and compiled from multiple sources, but this is breaking news...

Who is Fr Fadi Haddad, the Priest who was Killed by Terrorists in Qatana?

Father Fadi Jamil Haddad was born in the city of Qatana on February 2, 1969, to zealous Christian parents, Jamil Haddad and Wadia el-Ayn. He studied in schools in Qatana, elementary school at el-Thaura School and middle and high school at Baath Secondary School for Boys.

After obtaining his secondary diploma, he studied at the Saint John of Damascus Theological Institute at Balamand in Lebanon, from which he graduated with good grades in 1994. He married and was ordained deacon in the Maryamiyya Cathedral in Damascus during the celebration of the name's day of His Beatitude Patriarch Ignatius IV Hazim.

During the liturgy on July 14, 1995 His Beatitude and Bishop Elias Kfoury, who was the patriarchal vicar and is now metropolitan of Sidon, Tyre, Marjayoun, and Rashaya el-Wadi, laid hands on him, ordaining him to the priesthood.

He took up service in the parish of Qatana as the cornerstone was being laid for the new church by His Beatitude. Father Fadi Haddad was a son of the Qatana parish and participated in the founding of the Orthodox Sunday School there along with other pious sons of the parish and with the help of priests who would come to Qatana, including Father Nicholas Baalbaki and Father Georges Baalbaki.

Terrorists assassinated Father Fadi Haddad, pastor of the Greek Orthodox Church of Saint Elias in Qatana, some days after his being kidnapped in the new town, Artouz, by a group of armed terrorists.

A source with the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate in Damascus stated that Father Haddad's body was found shot in the head near Drousha on the Damascus-Quneitra highway.

Fadi Haddad was priest of the Greek Orthodox Church of Saint Elias in Qatana in the outskirts of Damascus.

One of the residents of the city told Agence France-Presse that the body was found in the town of Drousha, near Qatana and Damascus, indicating that he was murdered.

He stated that the priest was acting as an intermediary for a doctor from Qatana who was kidnapped over ten days ago. He was communicating with the kidnappers, who demanded from the family more than 50 million lira ($700,000) to release him.

The source, who refused to reveal his identity, stated that Father Haddad succeeded in getting the kidnappers to reduce the sum to 25 million lira ($350,000) but that when he went with the kidnapped doctor's father-in-law to deliver the money, the two men were kidnapped.

The kidnappers returned to demand 750 million lira for the release of all three men. "Negotiations continued until yesterday morning, when the priest's body was found," according to the same source.

The fate of the two other kidnapping victims is not known.

The source indicated that the murder of the priest Fadi Haddad provoked anger in Qatana, because of his praying for all people in the area.

He said, "This is not the first time that he was asked to act as an intermediary in resolving  kidnappings and robberies. He was successful on many occasions in securing the release of kidnap victims and the return of stolen cars. He was a man of God who was trusted by all."

He added, "During Ramadan, he would invite Muslims to break the fast at the church. He was beloved by all religious groups and took no political position in the current conflict in Syria."

When Syrian state television announced that his body had been found, it stated that "He was one of the most prominent workers for national reconciliation and the healing of wounds."

May God have mercy on you, father, and may your memory be eternal now and unto ages of ages. Just as you taught us, holy father, to pardon and forgive all who hurt us in imitation of our Teach the Lord Jesus Christ, may God pardon and forgive you.

From Agenzia Fides, here.

The Orthodox priest kidnapped in Damascus found dead

Damascus (Agenzia Fides) - The body of the greek orthodox priest Fr. Fadi Jamil Haddad, pastor of the church of St. Elias in Qatana, was found today in the Jaramana neighborhood (north of Damascus) not far from the place where he was kidnapped, on October 19, by unidentified armed group (see Fides 24/10/2012). This was confirmed to Fides by Fr. Haddad’s greek-orthodox confrere, who asked for anonymity. "His body was horribly tortured and his eyes gouged out," he told Fides. "It is a purely terrorist act. Fr. Haddad is a martyr of our church. "

With regards to the responsibilities of the terrible act there is an ongoing rebound of responsibilities between the opposition forces and government authorities, that accuse the armed gangs of armed rebellion in the army. According to Fides sources, the kidnappers had asked the priest’s family and his church a ransom of 50 million Syrian pounds (over 550 thousand euro). It was, however, impossible to find the money and meet this exorbitant demand. A source of Fides condemns "the terrible practice, present for months in this dirty war, of kidnapping and then killing innocent civilians."

Among the various Christian communities in Syria, the greek orthodox is the largest (with about 500 thousand faithful) and is concentrated mainly in the western part of the country and in Damascus. (PA) (Agenzia Fides 25/10/2012)

From Saudi-owned al-Arabiya in English, here.

Priest who negotiated Syria hostage releases slain


A Greek Orthodox priest who tried to negotiate the liberation of a Christian doctor in Damascus province was found dead on Thursday, residents and the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

“The corpse of Fady al-Haddad, kidnapped last Friday (Oct. 19), was found this morning in Damascus province,” said the Britain-based Observatory.

Father Haddad served the St Elie parish in Qatana, a mixed Christian and Muslim town of 15,000 inhabitants 20 kilometers (12 miles) west of Damascus.

One resident said he was found murdered near the town.
“He was negotiating the release of a Christian doctor with the kidnappers, who demanded 50 million Syrian pounds ($660,000). He had managed to reduce their demand” by half, he told AFP on condition of anonymity.

Theft and kidnapping have become rampant in Syria, where criminals have taken advantage of the security vacuum caused by the fighting between rebels and the army.

“Last Friday, he went along with the doctor’s stepfather to pay the ransom, but they were also abducted and the kidnappers had increased their demands before the priest's body was found on Thursday,” the resident added.

The murder has sparked outrage in Qatana, where the priest was popular with Christians and Muslims alike for securing the release of a number of people, locals said.

Rare in a country plagued by civil war, state news outlets and opposition websites alike paid tribute to Father Haddad.

The Orthodox Patriarchate condemned the “savage crime” and denounced “attacks against civilians and religious figures who try to be messengers of peace under these difficult circumstances.”

It further called on humanitarian organizations and the public to “condemn all crimes and robberies which undermine the safety of citizens.”

The Syrian National Council, the main opposition bloc in exile, called Father Haddad a “symbol of national unity,” and blamed pro-regime militiamen for his killing.

“The gangs belonging to the regime killed Father Fady Haddad in order to drag the country into sectarian strife,” SNC spokesman George Sabra said, calling for an official judicial investigation into the murder.

“National unity in Syria and in the town of Qatana in particular is too solid to be undermined by ignorant and hateful acts,” Sabra added.

“Father Fady was one of the symbols of national unity. Grant mercy on Father Fady Haddad, a martyr of the nation and humanity, and shame on those criminal killers who are destroying the country.”

1 comment:

The Anti-Gnostic said...

“The gangs belonging to the regime killed Father Fady Haddad in order to drag the country into sectarian strife,” SNC spokesman George Sabra said, calling for an official judicial investigation into the murder.

So on the one hand, he blames anonymous gangs "belonging to the regime," and on the other, he wants the regime to investigate. Or maybe he's referring to the new Salafist regime that's yet to come.