COMMUNIQUE - On Sunday 9th March, after three months of captivity, 13 nuns – Syrian and Lebanese – and their three aids kidnapped in Syria, were liberated. The Patriarchs and Heads of Churches of the Holy Land thankfully welcome this humanitarian gesture.
Release of Nuns of Maaloula – an olive branch in the midst of the flood
On Sunday 9th March, after three months of captivity, 13 nuns – Syrian and Lebanese – and their three aids kidnapped in Syria, were liberated. The Patriarchs and Heads of Churches of the Holy Land thankfully welcome this humanitarian gesture.
The nuns came from the Monastery of St Thecla, located in the village of Maaloula, some 50 kms north west of Damascus, and were in charge of an orphanage. They were released last Sunday at the Lebanese border and arrived in Damascus on Monday, after a 9 hour trip, where they were welcomed by religious authorities.
They had been detained for three months in the hills of Qalamun area by “Jabhat al-Nosra”, an Islamist militia opposed to the Syrian regime. In exchange, the regime set free over one hundred militant anti-government women who had been held in the prisons of Damascus.
The Superior, Mother Pelagia Sayaf, expressed her feelings in these terms : “we missed nothing (…) God has not relinquished us”.
The Patriarchs and Heads of Churches in Jerusalem welcome this gesture in the midst of so much suffering and violence. This release is a sign of optimism, as was the olive branch in the midst of the flood.
We also pray for the long overdue release of other hostages, among whom are two bishops of Aleppo, Boulos Yazigi, Greek Orthodox, and Gregorios Yuhanna Ibrahim, Syrian Orthodox, and many other innocent people.
Patriarches and Heads of Churches in Jerusalem
+Patriarch Theophilos III, Greek Orthodox Patriarchate
+Patriarch Fouad Twal, Latin Patriarchate
+Patriarch Norhan Manougian, Armenian Apostolic Orthodox Patriarchate
+Fr. Pierbattista Pizzaballa, ofm, Custos of the Holy Land
+Archbishop Anba Abraham, Coptic Orthodox Patriarchate, Jerusalem
+Archbishop Swerios Malki Murad, Syrian Orthodox Patriarchate
+Archbishop Aba Daniel, Ethiopian Orthodox Patriarchate
+Archbishop Joseph-Jules Zerey, Greek-Melkite-Catholic Patriarchate
+Archbishop Mosa El-Hage, Maronite Patriarchal Exarchate
+Bishop Suheil Dawani, Episcopal Church of Jerusalem and the Middle East
+Bishop Munib Younan, Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land
+Bishop Pierre Malki, Syrian Catholic Patriarchal Exarchate
+Msgr. Joseph Antoine Kelekian, Armenian Catholic Patriarchal Exarchate