2013-04-23 14:40:00

Russian Church working to release Orthodox clerics abducted in Syria

Moscow, April 23, Interfax - The Moscow Patriarchate has called on the international community to make a concerted effort in order to secure the release of two Orthodox metropolitans abducted in Syria's Aleppo Province.

"We are currently taking measures to establish their whereabouts in order to help them and secure their release from captivity as soon as possible," Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, head of the Moscow Patriarchate Department for External Church Relations, told journalists on Tuesday.

This task should be tackled by "joint efforts made by representatives of the international community, human rights and other international organizations such as the UN, as well as the civilian authorities of the states that are involved in what is happening in Syria today," he said.

This sad event comes as another reminder of the "need to stop the continuing bloodshed in Syria as soon as possible, as well as the fact that political dialogue, no matter how difficult it can be, is the sole way out of this situation," the metropolitan said.

"When Western powers provide weapons to cutthroats and murders, kidnappers and extremists, such acts cannot be justified by any far-reaching political goals," he said.

The media reported earlier that Syrian opposition fighters kidnapped Orthodox Metropolitan Paul of Aleppo, Patriarch John X's brother, and Syriac Orthodox Metropolitan of Aleppo Youhanna Ibrahim on April 22. Their driver, also a cleric, was killed. The archbishops were dealing with humanitarian problems of the local population in the village of Kfour Dael near the Syrian border with Turkey.

Metropolitan Hilarion said that he knows both abducted clerics very well.