Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Maaloula Update: 12 Nuns Kidnapped, Orphans Safe, Monastery Desecrated

Arabic original here.

Church Sources to an-Nahar: For Jabhat al-Nusra, Everything and Everyone in Maaloula is Fair Game
Church sources in Damascus have indicated to an-Nahar that the nuns of the Monastery of Maaloula were kidnapped by Jabhat al-Nusra, which includes armed groups from Chechnya and various Arab nationalities. Sources stated that the number of kidnapping victims is rising, since it now includes the nuns of Maaloula, in addition to the metropolitans of Aleppo, Boulos Yazigi and Youhanna Ibrahim, and two priests.

The sources said, "The Monastery of Maaloula is mostly made up of Syrian nuns, while a few of them are Lebanese." They stated that "The Monastery of Saint Thekla has been subject to vandalism and desecration: icons and statues there were attacked and the monastery's paten, given by the Russian [Imperial Palestinian Orthodox] Society was vilely desecrated." This confirms information provided by the Vatican yesterday about the kidnapping of 12 Orthodox nuns from the monastery by Jabhat al-Nusra. Sources stressed that "al-Nusra has declared everything in Maaloula to be fair game."

As for the fate of the orphans who live with the monastery's nuns in its orphanage, sources mentioned that the army of the Syrian regime, during its initial withdrawal from Maaloula, was careful to evacuate the orphanage and provide safety to those in it. Under intense fire from snipers and anti-tank rockets, a military truck transported the orphans-- 6 boys and 15 girls-- to Damascus.

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