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Praying for the kidnapped Syrian bishops

(Vatican Radio) The Rome based St. Egidio Community on Tuesday held a prayer vigil in Rome, dedicated to the two Syrian Orthodox bishops kidnapped on the outskirts of Aleppo in Syria.

Syriac Orthodox Metropolitan Bishop Mar Gregorios Ibrahim and Greek Orthodox Bishop Paul Yazici were abducted en route to Aleppo from a town on the Turkish border where they were carrying out humanitarian work. Their driver was killed.

A statement issued by the Director of the Vatican Press Office on Tuesday said Pope Francis is following the events with deep participation and he is praying for the health and the liberation of the two kidnapped bishops. Father Lombardi also said “He is also praying so that, with the support and prayers of all, the Syrian people may finally see tangible responses to the humanitarian drama and real hopes of peace and reconciliation may rise on the horizon.”

Vatican Radio’s Linda Bordoni spoke to Mario Giro, Head of the International Department of the Community of St. Egidio about the Syran bishops whom, Giro says, are close friends of the Community and were habitual participants in St. Egidio’s inter-religious meetings, but also about the involvement of St. Egidio in the Syrian crisis…

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Mario Giro explains that the Community of St. Egidio in Rome and all over the world every day celebrates vespers . In Rome the prayers take place at 8.30pm and this evening the prayer service will be dedicated to the two bishops, Mar Gregorios Ibrahim and Paul Yazigi, two close friends of the Community because for years they have participated in St. Egidio’s Inter-religious Meetings.

Speaking of the Community’s involvement in the Syrian crisis, Giro says “we are bringing humanitarian aid through the Church network – it is very difficult to intervene directly in Syria – and for months we have been involved on one hand trying to find a political solution, and on the other providing humanitarian aid, not only to Christians of course, but using the networks of the Churches that are the only real networks that you can activate with difficulty in this particular moment. The two bishops were in fact distributing humanitarian aid. The situation of the Christians is very difficult in Syria and many of them are refugees. We are also helping them in Lebanon where many have sought refuge”.