24-April-2013 -- ZENIT.org News Agency |

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Pope Appeals for End of Violence in Syria

No News on Release of Abducted Metropolitan Bishops

By Junno Arocho Esteves

VATICAN CITY, April 24, 2013 (Zenit.org) - At the conclusion of his weekly General Audience address, Pope Francis called for an end to the bloodshed in Syria.

The Holy Father's plea comes at a difficult moment for the Church in Syria as there is no new developments in the abduction of two Metropolitan Bishops: Metropolitans Mar Gregorios Ibrahim of the Syriac Orthodox Church and Paul Yazigi of the Greek Orthodox Church of Antioch

"The kidnapping of the Greek Orthodox and Siro-Orthodox Metropolitans of Aleppo, about which there are conflicting news releases, is a further sign of the tragic situation that is enveloping the dear Syrian nation, where violence and weapons continue to sow death and suffering," the Pope said.

On Tuesday, several media sources, including ZENIT, reported the release of the two prelates but as of now those claims have been rescinded. Metropolitans Ibrahim and Yazig were abducted on Monday in an area considered to be one of the most dangerous areas in Syria during a humanitarian mission. Their driver was killed during the abduction.

The Holy Father prayed for the two missing prelate's safe return to their communities. "I ask God to enlighten the hearts and I renew the pressing invitation that I made on the day of Easter to stop the bloodshed, that the necessary humanitarian assistance may be given to the population and that a political solution to the crisis is found as soon as possible," Pope Francis said.

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