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ICC Note: Two Orthodox bishops kidnapped in a village near Aleppo, Syria two weeks ago remain in the custody of rebels, but are reportedly in good health. Eastern Catholic clergy held a Mass in Rome’s Basilica of Santa Maria to pray for two archbishops on Friday, Catholic News reports.
By Estefania Aguirre
5/11/2013 Syria (Catholic News Agency) – Eastern Catholic clergy celebrated a Mass in Rome’s Basilica of Santa Maria in Cosmedin to pray for two archbishops and two priests who remain the hostages of rebels in Syria.
Archimandrite Mtanious Haddad, rector of the Greek Melkite Catholic Basilica, said there are “so many” people who have been kidnapped.
“Our Mass today was to pray for all those Christians and moderate Muslims who have been kidnapped,” he told CNA / EWTN News.
According to Fr. Haddad, the rebels “want to show that there is no more coexistence between Christians and Muslims but this isn’t true.”
Greek Orthodox Archbishop Paul Yazigi and Syriac Orthodox Archbishop Yohanna Ibrahim were kidnapped by rebels on April 22 and are still being held in a village northwest of Aleppo.
Gunmen pulled the two Christian archbishops out of their car and shot their driver, a deacon.
They were on their way to Aleppo from the Turkish border in an effort to negotiate the release of two priests, Armenian Catholic Father Michel Kayyal and Father Maher Mahfouz, a Greek Orthodox Christian.
The priests had been abducted on Feb. 9 when the bus they were riding on from Aleppo to Damascus was stopped. They are still being held captive.
Fr. Kayyal was the student of Monsignor Georges Dankaye Noradounguian, the rector of Rome’s Pontifical Armenian College. Msgr. Dankaye concelebrated the solemn Mass in Rome on May 10.
He described Fr. Kayyal as “an excellent and very good person with a lot of faith.”
“He was trying to distribute humanitarian aid with three or four other priests so he has been living the war in a very special way,” the monsignor told CNA/EWTN News after the Mass.

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