Washington D.C., May 1, 2013 / 12:36 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- No news has emerged of the two kidnapped Orthodox bishops in Syria, more than a week since their disappearance, and reports have now surfaced that one is in grave need of medications for his health conditions.
“We still do not know where the two archbishops are or who has taken them,” a spokesman for the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Aleppo told Aid to the Church in Need April 29.
Concerns are escalating because one of the men – Archbishop John Ibrahim – requires medicine for high blood pressure and diabetes, the spokesman explained, and “it is a life-threatening problem if he does not receive his medicine.”
Archbishop Ibrahim of the Syriac Orthodox Church and Archbishop Paul Yagizi of the Greek Orthodox Church were kidnapped April 22 near Aleppo by armed men who apparently killed their driver, Deacon Fatha’ Allah Kabboud.
It remains unclear who carried out the kidnapping. The Syrian government and rebel groups have both traded accusations over who is to blame.
The bishops were abducted on their way back from the Turkish border, where they were negotiating the release of two priests, Fathers Michael Kayyal and Maher Mahfouz, who had themselves been kidnapped Feb. 9.
“What is so sad about this is that both men were among those working hardest for peace and yet in this time of conflict they are among those paying the highest price,” the spokesman said.
“There are many Christians being kidnapped now and this is the first time where we have absolutely no clue about what has happened, where nobody has taken responsibility for the abduction.”
The Syrian civil war entered its second year a month ago, and the country’s Christian minority has been caught in its midst.
Many Syrian Christians live in Damascus, Aleppo and Homs, all of which are cities strongly contested by the government and the rebels. Many have fled to nearby Lebanon.