Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Pope, Mufti of Lebanon Call for Nuns' Release

From the Daily Star here.

Lebanon mufti calls for release of Maaloula nuns

BEIRUT: Lebanon's Grand Mufti Mohammad Rashid Qabbani called Wednesday for the release of a group of nuns who were seized by rebels in the ancient town of Maaloula, north of the Syrian capital.

In a statement, Qabbani denounced “the criminal kidnapping of nuns in Maaloula in Syria.”

He also warned against dragging Christians into the region’s conflicts and targeting Christian figures and holy sites, saying “foreign powers” could use such acts as a pretext to intervene in the Middle East.

Qabbani called for "the immediate release of the two bishops [Boulos Yazigi and Yohanna Ibrahim] and the nuns in Maaloula because their abduction and mistreatment contradict the manners and teachings of Islam in treating monks and nuns, particularly during periods of wars and conflicts.”

On Tuesday, the Vatican’s ambassador to Syria said rebel fighters moved a dozen nuns and three female helpers from the ancient town of Maaloula to the nearby town of Yabroud, but it wasn’t clear if they had been kidnapped or evacuated for their safety.

Aleppo’s Greek Orthodox Archbishop Boulos Yazigi and Syriac Orthodox Archbishop Yohanna Ibrahim has been kidnapped by armed men in April while en route to Aleppo from the Turkish border.

And from the same source, here.

Pope prays for 12 nuns abducted in Syria by rebels

VATICAN CITY: Pope Francis on Wednesday called for prayers for a group of nuns seized from their convent in Syria and for all hostages held in the war-torn country.

"I invite you all to pray for the nuns of the Greek Orthodox convent of St Takla of Maalula in Syria who were forcibly taken away by armed men two days ago," Francis said at a general audience in St Peter's Square.

"We pray for these nuns and for all kidnap victims in the conflict," he said.

Syrian rebels this week took 12 nuns from the historic town of Maalula, which has been at the centre of fierce fighting for months, to the nearby stronghold of Yabrud.

It was not immediately clear whether the nuns had been kidnapped or merely evacuated for their own safety.

"The 12 nuns were forced from the convent by an armed group who they went with on the road to Yabrud," which is in rebel hands, the Holy See's nuncio Mario Zenari told AFP on Tuesday.

Reached by phone, the mother superior of the Saydnaya convent in Damascus province, Sivronia Nabhan, said she had spoken with her Maalula counterpart, who confirmed the nuns were in Yabrud.

Maalula mother superior Pelagia Sayyaf said "she and the 11 other nuns, accompanied by three young maids, were comfortably installed in a house in Yabrud and no one was bothering them," Nabhan said.

The two nuns spoke on Monday evening, Nabhan added.

Rebel forces, including jihadists from the Al-Qaeda-affiliated Al-Nusra Front, on Monday recaptured Maalula, which lies north of Damascus, from regime forces after three days of heavy clashes.

The nuns were among the few residents left in the hamlet, and were sheltering inside the convent.

In September, they were trapped inside the building with dozens of orphans during the first round of fighting between regime forces and rebels in the town.

Maalula has long been a symbol of the ancient Christian presence in Syria. Its residents are some of the few left in the world who speak Aramaic, the language that Jesus Christ is believed to have spoken.

1 comment:

The Anti-Gnostic said...

...their abduction and mistreatment contradict the manners and teachings of Islam in treating monks and nuns, particularly during periods of wars and conflicts.

Truly, the religion of peace.