Moscow, April 29, Interfax - Patriarch of Antioch and All the East John X has urged the world community to end the violence in Syria and help free the two abducted Orthodox leaders of Aleppo.
"I take this opportunity to extend, on your behalf, in the motherlands and abroad, an appeal to the international community, urging it to do everything it can toward the release of hostages whose absence affects us deeply," John X said in a message "To the Shepherds of the Holy Church of Antioch."
"The speedy closure of this issue is extremely important in order to avert the risk of terrible consequences that would follow," he said. "Our appeal also includes an urgent call for action in order to find a quick solution to the situation in our beloved Syria; for the salvation of the people who are the descendants of an outstanding human civilization of thousands of years, and in order to prevent the risky consequences that could affect the entire region," he said.
"Since we are the children of the Resurrection, we are not afraid of whoever takes violence as a way to achieve his purpose. To be killed, or kidnapped, or to have our institutions destroyed, will not change our resolve to uphold our civil life and our co-existence; to cling to our homeland and to seek the reign of justice and rights in our homelands," John X said.
"Therefore, each and every one of us, whether in the Antiochian motherlands or abroad, is invited to express his concern and personal rejection of the recent course of events, aside from any political realignment. Humanity is the object of Christianity, for our Lord was incarnated for our salvation," the message says.
"As we are entering the time of the Holy Passion and Resurrection of our Lord, I invite you to reveal the unity of our Church who fervently gathers Her flock in all that is right and just. In this time, let us exceptionally intensify our prayers and supplications. Just as our Lord was not afraid to walk on the path of Calvary, in the same way we are invited to walk with Him along this path, being fully aware that by the Cross we shall conquer," the message says.
Militants abducted John X's brother, Metropolitan of Aleppo Paul Yazigi, and Syrian Orthodox Metropolitan of Aleppo Youhanna Ibrahim, on April 22. The deacon who was accompanying them was killed. The church notables were on a humanitarian mission in the village of Kfar Dael near the Syrian-Turkish border.