Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Deacon Keith Fournier

12/7/2013 (1 year ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Christians preceded Muslims in calling Syria their home. They must not be forced to leave this ancient and holy land

Pope Francis asked us to "Pray for these sisters and for all the people who have been kidnapped as a result of the ongoing conflict. We must continue to pray and work together for peace, entrusting ourselves to Mary". Maronite Bishop Samir Mazloum asked What fault is it of the nuns and the innocent civilians to become victims and turn into hostages? "Nuns spend their time praying. They do not fight or carry guns." Greek Orthodox Patriarch Youhanna X Yazigi, urged the Jihadist militia Jabhat al-Nusra to return the nuns from St Thekla monastery. He also asked for help from the international community. We appeal to the seed of conscience that God planted in all humans, including the kidnappers, to release our sisters safely. We call upon the international community and world governments to [help secure the] release the nuns of the St Tecla convent.

Highlights

By Deacon Keith Fournier

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

12/7/2013 (1 year ago)

Published in Middle East

Keywords: Syria, Maaluola, St Thekla, Jihadists, Pope Francis, Patriarch of Syria, Youhanna X Yazigi, Maronite Bishop Samir Mazloum, Deacon Keith Fournier


MAALOULA, SYRIA (Catholic Online) - During his general audience on Wednesday, December 4, 2013, Pope Francis called the 60,000 pilgrims gathered in St. Peters square and Christians around the world to prayer for the freedom of the Orthodox nuns of the convent of St Thekla in Maaluola. They were kidnapped by violent Jihadists.

The monastery is in Maaloula, which means "entrance" in Arimaic. It is a vital Christian stronghold in this ancient land with a profound Christian history. It is named after St. Thekla, a disciple of St. Paul who faced a heroic and miraculous martyrdom. These twelve women bring honor to her memory and carry forward the witness to the Gospel in this land ravaged by violence. Pope Francis asked us to " Pray for these sisters and for all the people who have been kidnapped as a result of the ongoing conflict. We must continue to pray and work together for peace, entrusting ourselves to Mary". Maronite Bishop Samir Mazloum asked in an interview with the European press, What fault is it of the nuns and the innocent civilians to become victims and turn into hostages?"Nuns spend their time praying. They do not fight or carry guns." The Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Syria, Youhanna X Yazigi, urged the Jihadist militia Jabhat al-Nusra to return the nuns from St Thekla monastery. He also asked for help from the international community. We appeal to the seed of conscience that God planted in all humans, including the kidnappers, to release our sisters safely. We call upon the international community and world governments to [help secure the] release the nuns of the St Tecla convent.

The Patriarch also indicated that orphans in the foster care of the nuns had also been abducted. When Pope Francis called for a day of prayer and fasting to stop the possible strike against Syria last September, I urged our readers around the globe to stand in solidarity with Pope Francis, the Bishop of Rome, the servant of the servants of God - and all who stand with us - beginning right now in praying for the intervention of heaven. Let us heed the invitation coming from Rome and join in this historic event on Saturday, September 7, 2013. I was deeply moved by his message and his manner during that crisis. he is a true peacemaker and a man who understands the true power of prayer. The one hundred thousand gathered in St Peters Square pleading for God's intervention opened my eyes to see what is really necessary in this time of global travail. There is no more powerful force on earth than the prayer of the Church of Jesus Christ.  In fact, we all know what happened. The strike was averted.

So, once again, I ask our readers around the globe to listen to this appeal from Pope Francis. Pray for the release of these twelve nuns.Make it a part of your daily prayer. Believe that God hears these prayers, because he does.    We regularly cover the plight of Christians in Syria and will continue to do so. That is because they are our brothers and sisters. We are called to "bear one another's burdens and fulfill the law of Christ." (Gal. 6:2) As we evaluate the various conflicts in the Middle East it is vitally important to be informed by news sources which paint the full picture of what is happening.  Christians preceded Muslims in calling Syria their home. They must not be forced to leave this ancient and holy land. We are living in a new missionary age and there is a growing persecution of the Church on a global scale. It has different faces. However, we must not forget what lies at the root of this horror. Whether in the West, where the memory of Christian influence fades under increasing persecution inflicted by intolerant secularism and godless materialism and nihilism, or in the East, which bleeds under the overt persecution from Jihadists, the challenge we face grows daily and cries out for prayer, solidarity and action.  It is also critically important for us to remember that Christians in Syria were there long before the Muslims. We have a two thousand year history in the Middle East. Syria was the home of many monks, mystics and missionaries of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Some of the most beautiful of the Patristic writings were penned by Syrian Saints and the Liturgy and hymnody of the early Church was enriched by the worship of those same wonderful saints. Now, our brethren are shedding their blood because they profess the Christian faith. We Must Not Remain Silent! I also caution our readers to be careful as they follow the news on this crisis and stay focused on the plight of the Christians in Syria. Both because of our special obligation in solidarity with them, but also because their plight is the key to understanding what is really happening in this growing conflict. I remind our readers of the spiritual warfare which is involved in the call to be peacemakers. That is indeed also our call if we are to be the children of God.(Mt. 5:9) We need to remember the words written by the Apostle Paul to the Christians in Corinth: For though we live in the world we are not carrying on a worldly war, for the weapons of our warfare are not worldly but have divine power to destroy strongholds. (2 Cor. 10:4,5) It is time to take our position, alongside of millions on earth and multitudes in heaven,and wield the weapon of focused, sustained prayer. We need to pray for these nuns to be returned to their monastery. We need to pray for the protection of all Christians in Syria. May the Lord give them the strength to endure and persevere. We need to pray for an end to the bloodshed and an end to the horrid persecution of Christians.

We ask the Lord to dispel the evil behind this ongoing assault on Christianity in that land of saints and martyrs. We also add our voices to the growing chorus of those urging international leaders to act together and find a way to halt the evil which is devastating that beautiful land. Free the nuns of St Thekla!

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


Copywriter 2015 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for March 2015
Universal:
Scientists: That those involved in scientific research may serve the well-being of the whole human person.
Evangelization: Contribution of women: That the unique contribution of women to the life of the Church may be recognized always.



Comments


More Middle East

ISIS RELEASES 19 kidnapped Assyrian Christians but what about the other 200? Watch

Image of

By Abigail James (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Nineteen of the more than 200 Assyrian Christians kidnapped by ISIS in north-eastern Syria have been set free. Taken from their homes in February, the fate and whereabouts of the remaining Assyrian Christians is still unknown. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Those ... continue reading


Emails from a MADMAN: 'Jihadi John's' horrific emails to reporter reveal his instability Watch

Image of Mohammed Emwazi as a young lad -- unaware of the chill he would bring the world in his later years.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

"Jihadi John," the Islamist State terrorist connected to at least six executions of Western journalists broadcast online is now identified as former London resident Mohammed Emwazi. People who knew the elusive murderer are now coming forward with insights on ... continue reading


(WARNING: Graphic Photos) ISIS throws another 'gay' man off rooftop to die Watch

Image of

By Abigail James (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

ISIS has, once again, resorted to throwing a man to his death off a high building. With a large crowd witnessing the procedures, the Islamic State carries out a guilty charge to a man accused of being a "child of lot." LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - According to ... continue reading


Destroying culture: New Islamic State video shows priceless statues beheaded Watch

Image of The five-minute video shows men going at statue after statue, knocking them to the ground and destroying them with sledgehammers and jackhammers.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

In another atrocity perpetrated against world history and culture, members of Islamic State are shown destroying priceless works of art in a museum in Mosul, Iraq. Some statues are beheaded in the manner of IS' squirming victims. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic ... continue reading


ISIS' leading man, the masked Jihadi John's true identity revealed Watch

Image of

By Abigail James (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The man behind the mask in brutal ISIS execution videos, known as Jihadi John, is assumed to be a British man named Mohammed Emwazi. Jihadi John appears in the beheading videos of American hostages, James Foley and Steven Sotloff and Britan hostages, Alan Henning and ... continue reading


Islamic State butchers 15 captured Christians, calls for Muslims to watch murder of 350 more Watch

Image of Islamic State fighters captured almost 400 Syrian Christians, and are reported to have executed 15.

By Matt Waterson (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

New reports from Syria reveal that the Islamic State may have murdered 15 of the more than 300 Christians it had captured earlier this week. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - A Catholic humanitarian group, Aid to the Church in Need, issued a report that the 15 of ... continue reading


Saudi Arabian man sentenced to death after rebelliously tearing up copy of Koran Watch

Image of Protesters simulate a flogging in front of the Saudi embassy in Washington DC in protest against the 10-year prison sentence given to a blogger.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Saudi Arabia has long been a friend to the United States and its allies, a very important hedge against militant Islamist groups and nations in the Middle East. This alignment does have limits - Western diplomats are expected to address the kingdom's many human ... continue reading


ISIS kidnaps 90 Christians from Assyrian villages Watch

Image of

By Abigail James (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

ISIS has kidnapped at least 90 Christians - mainly women and children - from their homes after launching dawn raids on Assyrian villages. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - "The ISIS fighters bust past a few men guarding the village of Tal Shamiram around 4 a.m. (9 ... continue reading


TRAPPED FOREVER: A first hand account on the horrific daily life in ISIS' terror captial, Raqqa Watch

Image of

By Abigail James (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Forced blood donations, daily executions, airstrikes and forced marriages are just a few things those stuck in ISIS' capital city, Raqqa experience. Getting in with ISIS is not the hard part; getting out alive is impossible. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Abu ... continue reading


Young Iraqi Christian's unexpected plans for ISIS will leave you stunned Watch

Image of Young Persecuted Christian's remain in good spirit despite losing everything.

By Abigail James (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Every day a Christian is persecuted or murdered at the hands of ISIS. Every day someone is forced to run from their homes in Iraq or Syria. It doesn't matter if it is a child or an adult; ISIS doesn't care. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Being uprooted and forced ... continue reading


All Middle East News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Isaiah 1:10, 16-20
10 Hear what Yahweh says, you rulers of Sodom; listen ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 50:8-9, 16-17, 21, 23
8 'It is not with your sacrifices that I find fault, ... Read More

Gospel, Matthew 23:1-12
1 Then addressing the crowds and his disciples Jesus ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for March 3rd, 2015 Image

St. Katharine Drexel
March 3: Saint Katharine Drexel, Religious (Feast Day-March 3) Born in ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter