Syria: Seven Years Pass Since Kidnapping of Greek Orthodox and Syriac Orthodox Bishops

April 27, 2020

Persecution of Christians in Syria: April 22 marked the seventh year since Syriac Orthodox Archbishop Yohanna Ibrahim and Greek Orthodox Archbishop Paul Yazigi went missing. To date, no one has claimed responsibility for kidnapping them. We continue to pray that they are still alive and in good health, and that they will soon be released as those who seized them will soon be identified and arrested. Their plight is an indication in microcosm of the precarious situation of Christians in the Middle East in their daily lives.

For previous coverage of the persecution of Christians in Syria, see here.

“7 Years Pass Since Syrian Bishops’ Kidnapping,” International Christian Concern, April 22, 2020:

04/22/2020 Syria (International Christian Concern) – Today marks the passage of seven years since two bishops were kidnapped in Syria, with no concrete information revealed as to their fate or abductors. Msgr. Yohanna Ibrahim, head of the Syriac Orthodox Church in Aleppo, and Msgr. Boulos Yazigi, head of the Greek Orthodox Church in Aleppo, were traveling together in a car on April 22, 2013. They were kidnapped by armed men, and their driver killed. They were traveling to the Turkish border with the intention of trying to secure the release of two other kidnapped Aleppo priests.

Since their kidnapping, rumors have swirled as to what their fate could have been. The incident occurred during a time when targeted assassinations of Christian leaders were commonplace throughout Syria. Terrorists—often with connections to al-Qaeda—are frequently credited for the priests’ kidnapping. The Syrian regime is also at times credited with the kidnapping. Last year, Turkey also came under the journalistic microscopic for possibly supporting al-Qaeda in the kidnapping. Despite all these rumors, nothing has ever been proven. The church still holds hope that the priests are alive, since there has been no definitive confirmation otherwise. Most Christians have left Syria because of the violence and persecution.