Voices from Russia

Sunday, 15 April 2018

A Statement Issued by the Greek Orthodox, Syriac Orthodox, and Greek-Melkite Catholic Patriarchates of Antioch on the Recent American Aggression in Syria


God is with us; Understand all ye nations and submit yourselves!

We condemn and denounce the brutal aggression that took place this morning against our precious country Syria by the USA, France, and the UK, under allegations that the Syrian government used chemical weapons. We raise our voices to affirm the following:

  • This brutal aggression is a clear violation of international law and the UN Charter, as it’s an unjustified assault on a sovereign country, member of the UN.
  • It causes us great pain that this assault comes from powerful countries to which Syria didn’t cause any harm in any way.
  • The allegation of the USA and other countries that the Syrian Arab Army uses chemical weapons and that Syria owns and uses this kind of weapon is an unjustified claim unsupported by sufficient and clear evidence.
  • The timing of this unjustified aggression against Syria, when an independent International Commission for Inquiry was about to start work in Syria, undermines the work of this commission.
  • This brutal aggression destroys the chances for a peaceful political solution and leads to escalation and more complications.
  • This unjust aggression encourages terrorist organisations and gives them momentum to continue their terrorism.
  • We call upon the UN Security Council to play its role in bringing peace rather than contribute to an escalation of the war.
  • We call upon all churches in the countries that participated in the aggression to fulfil their Christian duties according to the teachings of the Gospel, to condemn this aggression, to call their governments to commit to the protection of international peace.
  • We salute the courage, heroism, and sacrifices of the Syrian Arab Army, which courageously protects Syria and provide security for its people. We pray for the souls of the martyrs and the recovery of the wounded. We’re confident that the army won’t bow before external or internal terrorist aggressions; they’ll continue to fight courageously against terrorism until they cleanse every inch of the Syrian land from terrorism. We, likewise, commend the brave stand of countries friendly to Syria and its people.

We offer our prayers for the safety, victory, and deliverance of Syria from all kinds of wars and terrorism. We also pray for peace in Syria and throughout the world, and call for strengthening the efforts of the national reconciliation for the sake of protecting the country and preserving the dignity of all Syrians.

+ Greek Orthodox Patriarch Youhanna al-Yazigi of Antioch and all the East

+ Syriac Orthodox Patriarch Ignatius Aphrem of Antioch and all the East

+ Melkite-Greek Catholic Patriarch Joseph Absi of Antioch, Alexandria, and Jerusalem


Syrian Arab Republic

14 April 2018


Sunday, 21 August 2016

21 August 2016. God Preserve and Keep the Assyrian People

00 assyrian christians 210816


Assyrians aren’t Syrian… they’re the original Christian inhabitants of Northern Syria/Iraq… they’re not Arabs… they do speak Semitic languages (and most speak Arabic). That is, they’re related to Arabs linguistically and culturally, but they’re not Arabs. Assyrians are from the Church of the East, the Syriac Orthodox Church, and the Chaldaean Catholic Church. Most Assyrians are for President Assad, as the Syrian Arab Army and its allied forces protect them. In Iraq, the USA allowed extremist Islamists to persecute the Assyrians… the USA supports Islamists because of its Saudi and Gulf allies. The USA threw the Christians under the bus.

If you vote for Clinton, Trump, or Johnson, you stick a knife into the Assyrians and twist it. Tote it up for yourself… to protect the innocent Assyrian people, vote Stein…


Sunday, 19 October 2014

Armenian and Syriac Orthodox Patriarchs Ask Christians to Remember the 1915 Genocide as Centennial Nears

armenian genocide memorial


On Wednesday, the First Hierarchs of the Armenian Apostolic Church and the Syriac Orthodox Church urged all Christians to remember and reflect on the genocide of Armenians and Syriac Christians in Turkey in 1915, where up to 2 million people died or disappeared without a trace. A joint statement by Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of all Armenians Karekin Nersessian and Syriac Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch Moran Mor Ignatius Aphrem Karim said, “We invite the entire Christian world to unite in prayer at the Armenian Genocide and the Syriac Sayfo centennial commemorative events in 2015. We call upon the civilised world to recognise and condemn the crimes committed against the Armenian and Syriac peoples as well as other Christian communities”. Since Armenians made up nearly 1.5 million of the victims, many call the 1915 massacre during World War I in Ottoman Turkey the Armenian Genocide. The attacks on Christians eliminated almost the entire Christian population in present day Turkey, leaving almost an entirely Muslim nation {not so… the expulsion of the Greek Orthodox population from Ionia in the 20s did so: editor}.

As the centennial commemoration approaches, the Armenian and Syriac leaders want the international community to recognise and condemn the atrocities committed at the time. Earlier this week, the two patriarchs met at the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin, the spiritual centre of all Armenians, to sign a declaration affirming the shared faith of the two sister churches. In September, Assyrian International News Agency reported that a documentary film is in preparation on the 1915 genocide, scheduled to première in 2015 as part of the commemoration. Produced by the Assyrian Federation of Sweden and the Assyrian Youth Federation of Sweden, the documentary explains the circumstances and details behind the genocide to a wider audience. Directed by Aziz Said from Berlin, the film crew spent close to three weeks in southeast Turkey shooting footage for the film. The documentary also seeks to expose the denial of the genocide as maintained by the Turkish state, and highlight the effect the massacre still has on Assyrians today. The Genocide1915 website provides a comprehensive history of the conflict. It notes that 24 April is the commemoration day of the genocide as the genocide began that night in 1915, when the Turks rounded up and executed close to 250 Armenians within 72 hours, including doctors, lawyers, and politicians.

15 October 2014

Christian Post


Monday, 11 November 2013

11 November 2013. News Roundup on the Two Abducted Bishops in Syria

00 Metropolitans Boulos and Gregorios. Syria. 10.11.13


A day after the Syrian Grand Mufti claimed that the two kidnapped bishops were in Turkey, Lebanese Maronite Bishop Boulos Nabil al-Sayah said that there isn’t any clear information regarding the whereabouts of two bishops abducted in Syria earlier this year. On Monday, he told al-Mada radio, “There’s no clear information about the two abducted bishops in Syria, Boulos al-Yazigi and Youhanna Ibrahim, since they were kidnapped. Even Qatar doesn’t have a clear picture of the abductors and what they’re asking for in exchange for the bishops’ release”. In April, armed men abducted the bishops whilst they were en route to Aleppo from the Turkish border. Reports placed the bishops in the hands of a small group of rebels in the town of Bshaqtin, 20 kilometres (12.5 miles) northwest of Aleppo, but on Sunday, Syrian Mufti Ahmad Badr al-Din Hassoun said that they were in Turkey. Recently, Qatar promised to help resolve the case of the abducted bishops and try to secure their release. Bishop Boulos regretfully said, “The bishops were kidnapped and the countries supporting the gunmen are unable to determine their fate. The kidnappers have outside backing, so, it’s the duty of their backers to find out the fate of the bishops”.

28 October 2013

The Daily Star (Lebanon)



The Grand Mufti of Syria, Ahmad Badr al-Din Hassoun, the spiritual leader of Sunni Muslims in the country, claimed that he has information that the two Orthodox bishops of Aleppo, kidnapped in April, are alive and outside the country. Interfax-Religion reported on the story. Yelena Agapova, Vice President of the Imperial Orthodox Palestine Society, a Russian NGO that plays an active role in the Middle East and delivered aid to Syria stated, “According to information from the Mufti, they’re in Turkey”. Agapova stated that on 28 October Mufti Hassoun met in Moscow with representatives of the Imperial Orthodox Palestine Society. The Grand Mufti is of the opinion, “I see the hand of Chechen militants and Turkish special services behind the kidnappings”. The Mufti believed that the kidnapping might have a link to Ankara‘s request to transfer the seat of the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch and all the East from Syria to Turkey. During his visit to the Islamic University of Moscow {its web address still has the old “.su” suffix… fancy that: editor}, Mufti Hassoun complained that at least 2,000 Russians, mostly from the North Caucasus, are in the ranks of the armed Syrian opposition.

In April, a group of militants, who killed their driver, seized Metropolitan Boulos al-Yazigi (Greek Orthodox Church of Antioch) and Metropolitan Mar Gregorios Youhanna Ibrahim (Syriac Orthodox Church). The two Orthodox leaders were doing humanitarian work in the village of Kafr Da’el, near the Turkish-Syrian border. The MP expressed “deep concern” about their fate. Metropolitan Hilarion Alfeyev of Volokolamsk, chairman of the MP DECR, told AsiaNews in late August, “In all this time we haven’t any news of where they are and how they are. There are many rumours, but none of them have official confirmation”.

29 October 2013




According to a statement issued on Wednesday, the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs denied reports that two bishops kidnapped in Syria were in Turkey. Referring to earlier reports circulated on 12 August alleging that the bishops were in Turkey, the statement blamed the Syrian government for spreading false information, noting, “We’ve observed that similar allegations are now being repeated by Syrian officials in the context of their contacts with the Russian Federation. These accusations are completely baseless and untrue”.

In April, armed men abducted Greek Orthodox Archbishop Boulos al-Yazigi and Syriac Orthodox Archbishop Youhanna Ibrahim whilst they were en route to Aleppo from the Turkish border. Reportedly, they were on their way to negotiate the release of three missing priests. Reacting to reports that we now know who the kidnappers are, and that there’s evidence that at least one of the two bishops was alive, Lebanese Maronite Bishop Boulos Nabil al-Sayah reiterated that there was no indication pointing to their imminent release, saying, “There are no negotiations. If there were negotiations, there would’ve been the beginning of a resolution. This is what’s worrying, that there’s nothing”. He added that, so far, we don’t know whether the bishops are alive or who kidnapped them. Bishop Boulos went on to say, “The Emir of Qatar promised us explicitly to do his utmost to try and find who kidnapped them, where they are, and what their situation is, and if they have demands”, adding that the Qataris hadn’t yet followed up on their pledge. Boulos also observed that the Greek and Syriac Orthodox Churches of Antioch are following up on the issue, “What we find difficult to understand is that they [the bishops] were kidnapped by one or more factions fighting the [Syrian] government. Someone must be feeding these people money, arms, and support of all sorts. We don’t understand how the states that are arming these people can’t step in and [pressure] them [to release the bishops]”.

31 October 2013

The Daily Star (Lebanon)



Kathimerini understands that alleged comments made by Syrian Grand Mufti Ahmad Badr al-Din Hassoun last week over the fate of two Orthodox bishops abducted in the troubled Middle East country earlier this year raised hopes that the two clerics are still alive. According to the Russian media, during a visit to Moscow on Tuesday, Hassoun said that he had information that Greek Orthodox Archbishop Boulos al-Yazigi and Syriac Orthodox Archbishop Youhanna Ibrahim are alive and that they’re in Turkey. Subsequently, the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs denied the allegations. Bishop Luka al-Khoury, a representative of Patriarch Youhanna al-Yazigi of Antioch and all the East {he’s the brother of the abducted Greek Orthodox bishop: editor}, told Kathimerini that the Patriarchate was aware of the comments, but it didn’t have any firsthand information about their whereabouts, noting, “We hear all sorts of things, but all we can do right now is pray for them”. In April, gunmen seized the two clerics near the northern commercial and industrial hub of Aleppo, contested by rebels and forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. The Syrian government suggested that anti-Assad rebels carried out the abduction. Comments made by Lebanese intelligence chief Abbas Ibrahim on Tuesday reinforced optimism about their fate, as he said that he knew the whereabouts of the two bishops, adding that he was negotiating for their release.




There one has it. The only thing known is that the bishops are now in their eighth month of captivity, with no news whatsoever of where they are and who’s holding them. There’s nothing more one can say on the matter, kids… they’re in limbo. Light a candle and pray… that’s all that’s left to us.



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