- (Photo: Reuters/Zain Karam)
Patriarch Theophilos III of Jerusalem and Jordan condemned the kidnapping 12 nuns from the monastery of St. Takla in Maaloula, Syria, adding that the goal of this crime is to harass Christians and push them to emigrate.
According to Palestine's Maan news agency, Patriarch Theophilus said the kidnappers cannot claim they are fighters or revolutionaries who want to achieve national goals, and are "just criminals who have lost religious and human values."
The patriarch pointed out that the abducted nuns are from Syria and Lebanon and have dedicated their lives to care for the Muslim and Christian orphans in the monastery of Mar Takla, which is an important Orthodox monasteries in Syria.
He added that Maaloula, where the monastery of Mar Takla is located, still keeps the Aramaic language of Jesus, and has a great treasure of monuments and religious heritage, which some "ignorant criminals are trying to destroy."
"Christians will withstand here as the Church of Resurrection and Al-Aqsa Mosque have withstood," he said.
Muslim militants stormed the Greek Orthodox monastery of Mar Takla in Syria on Dec. 2, after they seized the historical Christian town of Maaloula. They forcibly took away 12 nuns and the motivation for the kidnapping is yet unknown.
Syrian Christians have been subjected to continuing attacks and their churches and monasteries have witnessed acts of violence since the start of demonstrations against the regime of President Bashar al-Assad in March 2011.
Syriac Orthodox Archbishop Youhanna Ibrhaim and Greek Orthodox Archbishop Bolous Yazigi were kidnapped on April 22 near the Syrian city of Aleppo after unidentified gunmen stopper their car and killed the driver.