On the day the Global Christian Forum released an Appeal by Middle East church leaders calling on their co-citizens “to reject all forms of extremism and enmity” and for the world community to “to support a Christian presence in the Middle East in partnership with other religions” it was reported that two Orthodox bishops had been kidnapped in Syria.
Global Christian Forum leaders are concerned for the safety of Bishop Yohanna Ibrahim of the Syrian Orthodox Archdiocese of Aleppo and Bishop Boulos Yazaji of the Greek Orthodox of Aleppo, who were intercepted by armed men as they travelled from Turkish border areas where they were undertaking humanitarian work. It is understood that the bishop’s driver was shot and killed.
The secretary of the GCF, Rev Dr Larry Miller, has asked that global participants in the Forum join in prayers for the safe release of the two bishops and a cessation of violence in the region.
Meanwhile, an Appeal released today from twenty-one Middle East church leaders, covering the widest spectrum of denominations and communities said they “were particularly appalled by the horrific and bloody violence in Syria, the destruction, the displacement, and the dire circumstances of the victims of such violence.”
They were also “deeply concerned” about recent events in Egypt with its “repugnant sectarian tensions and undesirable consequences.”
Recognizing that many had suffered regardless of “religious, ethnic, social, and political identity” the group called on “ our brothers, sisters, and co-citizens to reject all forms of extremism and enmity, and to return to our shared human and spiritual values.”
They also urged governments, international bodies and church groups “to provide more efforts to insure the continuity of Christian presence in the Middle East by helping and encouraging people to remain in their own lands.”
The leaders met in Amman, Jordon, on April 8-9, in a gathering convened by the GCF.
The Global Christian Forum offers an open space for churches and Christian groups uniquely bringing extended families of the Christian traditions together, including Orthodox, Catholic, Anglican, liberal and evangelical Protestant, Pentecostal, charismatic, African Instituted and holiness groups.
Full statement in English and Arabic http://gcforum.businesscatalyst.com/activities.html