- (Photo: Frank Mushmel)
As news on the two Christian bishops kidnapped in Syria remains scarce, Pope Francis called for the release of all those taken against their will in the war-torn country.
"This troubled situation of war bears with it tragic consequences: death, destruction, massive economic and environmental damage, as well as the scourge of kidnapping. In denouncing these events I wish to assure my prayers of solidarity for those who have been kidnapped and their families and I appeal to the humanity of the kidnappers for the release of the victims," Pope Francis said on Sunday at the Vatican.
The Archbishop of Aleppo, Mar Gregorios Ibrahim, and Greek Orthodox Archbishop Metropolitan Paul Yazigi, still remain unaccounted for since they were kidnapped in Syria in April.
Sat-7, which covers Christian news in the Middle East and has been providing coverage on the two bishops, shared in an email to The Christian Post on Tuesday that there still is no verified information on the bishops' current location or well-being.
"There was news from Greece a few days ago that said they were in good health, but this was never confirmed by a reliable source," SAT-7 Communications Coordinator Greg Garrett told CP.
The bishops were reportedly taken against their will while travelling back from a meeting seeking to negotiate the release of other captives.
Pope Francis has commented on their case specifically, saying: "The kidnapping of the Greek Orthodox and the Syriac Orthodox Metropolitan bishops, regarding whose liberation there has been conflicting news, is a further sign of the tragic situation that the beloved Syrian nation has been undergoing, where violence and weapons continue to sow death and suffering."
In May, Christians in Aleppo marked one month since the kidnapping of the bishops and released a statement reading:
"One month in abduction is more than enough for the two Archbishops. As it is painful for them in their abduction, it is also painful for all the faithful of their two communities, the people of Syria and the world. The continuous abduction of the two Archbishops is damaging the structure of Syria in its diverse components and its long history of coexistence and citizenship."
On Sunday, however, the leader of the Roman Catholic Church said that there are "many signs of hope" for reconciliation and peace, and called on believers to continue praying for a resolution to the many conflicts still raging around the world.
"Everything is lost in war. Everything is gained with peace. I ask you to pray for the fallen, the wounded, and their families," the pontiff said.