April 23, 2013
In the message to His Beatitude Patriarch John X of Great Antioch and All the East, Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, chairman of the Moscow Patriarchate’s Department for External Church Relations, expressed his sympathy over the abduction of hierarchs of the Patriarchate of Antioch and of the Syrian Orthodox Church. The text of the message is given below.
His Beatitude John X
Patriarch of Great Antioch and All the East
Please, accept these words of sympathy and prayerful support over the tragedy that has befallen you and the whole Syria – the abduction of Metropolitan Boulos of Aleppo, a hierarch of the Orthodox Church of Antioch, and Metropolitan Mar Gregorios Yohanna Ibrahim of the Syrian Orthodox Church.
The abducted hierarchs are religious figures, authoritative and respected in Syria; they enjoy respect and love not only among representatives of the Orthodox and Syrian Jacobite communities, but among all strata of the Syrian society as well. They were heading to Aleppo in order to fulfill their pastoral obligation and meet with their parishioners at the threshold of Holy Week and the Feast of Pascha.
This abduction violates basic human moral principles. It is incompatible with the traditions of the East to insult respected people and oppress clergymen who, by their words and deeds, underscore their non-participation in political processes and only preach peace. There are no political goals that can justify it.
Together with Your Beatitude, I lift up my prayers to God for this tragic situation to be resolved. I hope that every effort will be exerted to release the abducted hierarchs as soon as possible.
With respectful love in the Lord,
Metropolitan of Volokolamsk
Department for External Church Relations