2013-06-28 10:00:00

Moscow condemns murder of Catholic monk in Syria

Moscow, June 28, Interfax - Moscow has condemned the June 23 murder in Syria of a Franciscan monk and said it is working for the release of two Orthodox bishops kidnapped in the Arab country in April.

"On June 23, extremists raided a Catholic monastery in Idlib governorate in northern Syria. Franciscan monk Francois Mourad was murdered as he was trying to stop the outrage and plunder of Christian holy sites and protect fellow believers," Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said in a statement posted on the ministry's website.

"We resolutely condemn this new barbaric act of the Syrian armed opposition, which shows the image of those who fight in its ranks and create an atmosphere of fear, chaos and religious intolerance in the country," he said. "Killings of civilians, including religiously motivated crimes, are unjustifiable."

"In this context, Russia is continuing efforts to rescue Paul Yazigi, the Orthodox metropolitan of Aleppo, and Yohanna Ibrahim, the Jacobite Syrian metropolitan of Aleppo, who were kidnapped on April 22. We once again urge those involved in these kidnappings and those that can influence armed antigovernment groups to ensure the immediate and unconditional release of the Christian bishops," Lukashevich said.