The Patriarchate of Antioch and All the East reports:
His Beatitude, John X, Patriarch of Antioch and all the East, presided over the Divine Liturgy of Palm Sunday in the Monastery of Our Lady of Balamand. His Grace Bishop Ghattas (Hazim) the abbot, Bishop Ephraim (Malouli) and many priests and deacons took part. A large congregation of the faithful, a number of other religious persons, civil dignitaries and the Balmandian family, (that is to say: the university, the school and the Institute of Theology), filled the monastery. At the end of the Divine Liturgy, a precession with the icon of the Palm Sunday took place. His Beatitude, the clergy and the people carried the candles supplicating the Virgin Mary and chanting “to thee O Champion Leader” as an expression of the condemnation of all the Church, in the mother countries and beyond, of the abduction of Metropolitan Paul (Yazigi), Greek-Orthodox Archbishop of Aleppo and Alexandretta and their dependencies, and Metropolitan John (Ibrahim), Syriac-Orthodox Archbishop of Aleppo and as a supplication for their return and for the return of all kidnapped persons and refugees to their own homes and for the peace and an end to all violence. His Beatitude also invited all the faithful to make the period of the passion and resurrection as a time for expressing the unity of the Church whose members are gathered in fervent commitment to the truth. He also called for the resurrection of the heart as the best expression of the resurrection of humanity in this land. In conclusion, His Beatitude wished that service, love and courage would be a path toward the joy of the resurrection; a joy which cannot be taken away.
To see the Patriarchate's announcement in Arabic, please see the attached PDF .