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World Council of Churches demand release of Archbishops abducted in Syria

by Cara Bentley

Syriac Orthodox Archbishop Yohanna Ibrahim and Greek Orthodox Archbishop Paul Yazigi were abducted by gunmen on their way back from the Turkish border to their city of Aleppo.

The World Council of Churches (WCC), a global fellowship of churches, have now issued an official announcement calling for the release of two metropolitans. 

The communique said: "In the years since their abduction, the World Council of Churches has expressed its concern and called for the release of the two archbishops of Aleppo,

"There is still no word on the whereabouts and condition of these two archbishops."

No group has ever claimed responsibility for their kidnapping and the organisation said they wanted to express "its solidarity with Orthodox churches in Syria and Lebanon who still suffer from the abduction". 

The WCC referenced how both archbishops served their communities faithfully: "In particular, H.E. Metropolitan Boulos (Paul Yazigi) helped strengthen this place as a foundation for Orthodox theology and Antiochian spirituality, strengthening the presence of Orthodoxy not only for Antioch but also throughout the east,

"Through its students, this institution continues to extend the Orthodox voice throughout the world."

"Both archbishops demonstrated the love of Christ for all persons without exception, and are considered spiritual Orthodox leaders.The Permanent Committee asks that all continue to pray for the safe return of the archbishops to their churches, their communities and their families, as a sign of hope for all the Christians of Syria and the region."

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