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Metropolitan Joseph Leads Prayer Service for Kidnapped Metropolitans

On Bright Thursday, April 20, 2017, the Antochian Archdiocese was joined by co-hosts—the Syriac Orthodox Archdiocese and the St. John of Damascus Fellowship of New Jersey—in sponsoring a timely prayer service at St. George Antochian Orthodox Church in Little Falls, for the abducted Archbishops of Aleppo, Metropolitan Paul and Mar Gregorios Yohanna Ibrahim. Metropolitan Paul and Metropolitan Yohanna vanished without a trace on April 22, 2013, after they drove together in hopes of negotiating the release of hostages in captivity. Metropolitan Yohanna’s deacon escaped, but his driver was killed. 

(Read the Paschal Message of His Beatitude John X, in which he issues a call for the liberation of Metropolitans Paul and Yohanna, and sign the petition that will be presented to the White House and the United Nations, "Help release the kidnapped archbishops of Syria.") 

Metropolitan Joseph was joined by His Eminence Mor Dionysius John Kawak of the Syriac Archdiocese of the Eastern United States. In the service, Sayidna Joseph implored our Lord, God, and Savior Jesus Christ, for the freedom of the two beloved bishops and an end to the Syrian war. He also encouraged the attendees to urge their representatives and senators to continue their efforts to free the captive bishops, and called on the governments involved in the Syrian conflict to do the same in order to secure political and humane solutions towards peace in the region.

As well, the other speakers expressed their deep concern for the two bishops, and described the emptiness that has been left in the hearts of the clergy and faithful who are hoping and praying for their release. All present prayed to God for peace in Syria, the Middle East, and in all countries affected and besieged by wars and tribulations.

Archbishops of Aleppo, Mar Gregorios Yohanna Ibrahim and Metropolitan PaulArchbishops of Aleppo, Mar Gregorios Yohanna Ibrahim and Metropolitan PaulAlso present at the prayer service were: His Excellency Bishop Yousif Habash of the Syriac Catholic Church; His Grace Bishop Gregory Mansour of the Maronite Church; hierarchs and representatives of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, the Coptic and Armenian Orthodox Churches, and the Maronite, Roman, and Syriac Catholic Churches; representatives from the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York; elected officials and leaders from Passaic County, New Jersey; and the clergy and faithful of St. George. 

(Photos courtesy of the St. John of Damascus Fellowship of New Jersey. The Fellowship is a humanitarian and charitable group that serves the needs of Syrian Christian communities in both North America and overseas.)