Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Deacon Keith Fournier

12/7/2013 (10 months 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 (10 months 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'


2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for October 2014
Peace:
That the Lord may grant peace to those parts of the world most battered by war and violence.
World Mission Day: That World Mission Day may rekindle in every believer zeal for carrying the Gospel into all the world.



Comments


More Middle East

Islamic State takes mounting death count in Syria Watch

Image of Both Kurdish and Iraqi forces have been battling ISIS on the ground.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Islamic State has taken heavy casualties over the past several days. At least 70 fighters for the terror group have been dropped off over the past several days at a hospital in the Syrian town of Tal Abyad. The town is on the Turkey-Syrian border about 50 miles ... continue reading


Christians, Yazidis and Turkmen face genocide in Iraq Watch

Image of At least half a million people have been forced to flee their villages in Ninewa province, home to minority communities for thousands of years, according to the report, From Crisis to Catastrophe: the situation of minorities in Iraq.

By Kieran Guilbert, Thomson Reuters Foundation

More than 12,000 civilians have been killed in Iraq so far this year, mainly by Islamic State (IS), and minorities facing ethnic cleansing are the principal victims, according to a report published on Thursday. LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Minority Rights ... continue reading


Deadly Sarin bombs now in hands of Islamic State Watch

Image of Officials warned that they had witnessed equipment there being looted on CCTV whereupon the militants shut the surveillance cameras down.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

An even more alarming fact has risen to the fore in the war in the Middle East, ISIS controls a vast compound in Iraq containing 2,500 rusting chemical weapons rockets, according to the Iraqi government. While the site was bombed by the U.S. during the 1991 ... continue reading


Do you still think Islam is a 'religion of peace?' These 10 verses from the Koran will show you the truth Watch

Image of Islam is the religion of peace. Care to disagree?

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

From Christian apologist and blogger David Wood, comes more evidence, ripped directly from the pages of the Koran, that Islam is not a religion of peace. Wood located ten verses which will help readers understand the Islamic State's religious motivation for their ... continue reading


180,000 people flee Iraqi city of Hit after ISIS claims town Watch

Image of ISIS has been on the offensive in the desert province of Anbar, bordering Syria, in recent weeks. The town of Hit fell on October 2 and nearby Kubaisa on October 4.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The Iraqi city of Hit fell to Islamic State earlier this month. The bloodshed in Iraq's western Anbar province has forced up to 180,000 people to flee, according to the United Nations. ISIS has been on the offensive in the desert province of Anbar, bordering ... continue reading


ISIS justifies enslavement of women as 'the revival of slavery before the Hour' Watch

Image of ISIS forced tens of thousands of Yazidis to flee their homes in August when troops stormed many of the community's towns and cities in Iraqi Kurdistan.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The kidnapping, enslavement and trafficking of women would not be condoned by any true religion - Islamic State, according to an online publications justifies their practice as "the revival (of) slavery before the Hour," referring to Judgment Day. While that ... continue reading


ISIS continues push for control of Kobani Watch

Image of Monday was among the most violent days in Kobani since ISIS launched its assault. Sounds of fierce fighting, including gunfire and explosions, have been heard along the Syria-Turkey border.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Kobani, a key Syrian city on the border Turkey remains under attack as Islamic State troops push for control. If it retains control of the town, Islamic State will also score a major victory in neighboring Iraq, taking a strategically important military base in ... continue reading


Between lulls in the fighting, screams can be heard in Kobane Watch

Image of An Islamic State terrorist shared this image of himself posing with the severed head of a female Kurdish fighter.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The battle for the city of Kobane in Syria continues as Kurdish defenders fight to the last bullet against the Islamic State. Survivors who have escaped across the Turkish border have told reporters of beheadings, mutilations, and other atrocities committed by Islamic ... continue reading


WAKE UP - Islamic State magazine makes plain - There is NO SUCH THING as a 'moderate' Muslim Watch

Image of the Islamic State is publishing a magazine with a picture of their flag over the Vatican. It's a deliberate message.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The Islamic State has made very clear that "moderate" Muslims are apostates and that they alone represent true Islam. They have stated this in an English language publication where they also promise to conquer Rome (Catholics). LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - ... continue reading


Islamic State poised for massive victory near Baghdad Watch

Image of Kurdish soldiers in Iraq have so far managed to halt the advance of the Islamic State in the north, but Iraqi army forces are seeing defeat after defeat in western Iraq.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Fighters from the Islamic State are nearing victory in Anbar province, Iraq's westernmost region, while also nearing another victory in northern Syria. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Iraqi army forces and Kurdish militia forces are struggling to contain the ... 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, Ephesians 2:12-22
12 do not forget, I say, that you were at that time ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 85:9-10, 11-12, 13-14
9 His saving help is near for those who fear him, his ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 12:35-38
35 'See that you have your belts done up and your ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for October 21st, 2014 Image

St. Hilarion
October 21: Abbot and disciple of St. Anthony the Great, companion of St. ... 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