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Patriarchs Yazigi, Aphrem II Call for More Efforts to Know Fate of Two Kidnapped Aleppo Archbishops

DAMASCUS, (ST)-Patriarch of Antioch and All East for the Greek Orthodox Youhanna X Yazigi and Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II of Antioch and All the East for the Syriac Orthodox, the Supreme Head of the Universal Syriac Orthodox Church have appealed to concerned countries and governments for putting more efforts as to know the fate of the two kidnapped bishops, the Syriac Orthodox Archbishop Yohanna Ibrahim and Greek Orthodox Archbishop Boulos Yazig of Aleppo who were abducted by the terrorist organizations in Aleppo countryside six years ago.

 In a joint statement issued on Sunday, the two patriarchs said that the date April 22 marks the beginning of the Holy Week and Easter services. It is also the date in which bishops Youhanna Ibrahim and Boulos Yazig of Aleppo for the Syriac Orthodox and the Greek Orthodox were kidnapped while returning from Antioch at the Syrian-Turkish borders in 2013.

"Since that moment, analyses and inquiries about this file haven't stopped. We have spared no effort to look for even the least trace that can lead us to where they are," the two patriarchs' statement added.

They regretted the complete media blackout by the public opinion on this issue and criticized the deliberate ignorance of the two kidnapped bishops' file, urging super powers and international organizations and countries' governments to do what should be done to know the fate of the two bishops as to close this file.

"Abduction is one of terrorism sides. If it aims to terrify Christians and pressure them to immigrate, our answer will be that a two thousand-year Christian presence in the region can't be ended or weaken by a hardship, because we have deep roots in this land," Patriarchs Yazigi and Aphrem II said, pointing out that terrorism left no church or a mosque unharmed and its fire didn't differentiate between a sheikh or a priest, because terrorism target is man of the East."

Archbishop Attalah Hanna: World sheds crocodile tears on French church while keeps silent over destroying holy shrines in the region

Also, Attalah Hanna, the Archbishop of Sebastia from the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Palestine, affirmed in a letter marking the 6th anniversary of kidnapping the two Aleppo bishops that abducting the two clergymen is a terrible crime that will not be forgotten, because it is an important issue to all supporters of just causes, to the lovers of Syria and Palestine and to all Arabs both Christians and Moslems.  

He urged continuous efforts to know the fate of the bishops and release them.

Addressing those who are shedding crocodile tears on the French Notre Dame Cathedral which was devastated because of a huge blaze last week, Bishop Hanna asked "what about the crimes committed in the Arab region against our peoples, holy shrines, history, heritage and humanitarianism. What about targeting holy places and utilities in al-Quds?". He called on them to pay needed attention to the file of the two kidnapped Aleppo archbishops and to what is happening in Arab region 

Hamda Mustafa