Date: April 28, 2017
At the fourth anniversary of their disappearance the whereabouts of two Syrian bishops is still unknown.
Syriac Orthodox Mar Gregorios Yohanna Ibrahim and Greek Orthodox Boulos Yazigi were abducted on 22 April 2013. Several attempts to locate them have been so far unsuccessful. According to Asia News, Mgr Daniel Kourie, Syriac Orthodox bishop of Beirut and chairman of the commission in charge of the search for the church leaders, said that as far as he knew “the two bishops are still alive. [. . .] Those who believe otherwise must give us evidence for their claim.”
Contact by the head of the Lebanese General Security, General Abbas Ibrahim, was allegedly made with the kidnappers six months after the two Bishops were abducted, but there have since been no further reported developments.
At the time of their disappearance the Bishops were travelling near the Turkish border where they had been negotiating the release of two priests kidnapped two months earlier. The Bishops’ driver was killed on the spot.
In their Easter message the two Patriarchs of Antioch, Greek Orthodox Yohanna X and Syrian Orthodox Mar Ignatios Aphrem II, reflected on the fate of their colleagues and reminded the faithful that nothing would drive them out of the land: “We are staying here next to the tombs of our fathers, and their hallowed ground. We are deeply rooted in the womb of this East”.