BEIRUT — In a strong message of solidarity, Muslim clerics across Damascus on Friday denounced the kidnapping earlier this week of a pair of Syrian Christian bishops abducted at gunpoint.
Imams and preachers at mosques throughout the Syrian capital said in Friday sermons that the kidnappers were “violating the sanctity of Christian and Islamic clergymen,” the official Syrian Arab News Agency reported.
Greek Orthodox Archbishop Paul Yazigi and Syriac Orthodox Archbishop Yohanna Ibrahim were abducted Monday when gunmen stopped their vehicle near the battleground northern city of Aleppo, where both are based. The deacon who was driving their car was shot and killed in the attack.
The two were on their way back to Aleppo from a “humanitarian mission” to neighboring Turkey, church officials said.
Religious leaders worldwide, including Pope Francis, have called for the release of the bishops. Orthodox communities in the United States and elsewhere have prayed for their safe return.