Mass media: Two Syrian metropolitans suffer martyrdom

Metropolitans Paul Yaziji and Gregory John Ibrahim. Photo: RIA Novosti

One of the victims, Metropolitan Paul (Yaziji) of Aleppo, was the brother of the Head of the Antiochian Orthodox Church, Patriarch John X.

A team of investigators, led by Syrian journalist Mansour Salib, published the findings concerning two hierarchs, according to which representatives of the Syro-Jacobite and Antiochian Orthodox Churches were killed in December 2016, Blagovest-Info website reports citing Medium social journalism platform.

According to the investigation, Orthodox Metropolitan Paul (Yaziji) and Syro-Jacobite Metropolitan Gregory John Ibrahim were killed by militants of the Nur ad-Din al-Zenka group, considered to be an "independent" participant in the Syrian conflict and receiving money and weapons from Saudi Arabia and the United States.

The authors of the inquiry suggest that they tried to forcibly convert metropolitans to Islam and thus, sow fear and insecurity among Syrian Christians: according to the journalists, both metropolitans were tortured; one of them was treated in a hospital in the Turkish city of Antakya in 2015.

It was concluded that the hierarchs were killed and buried in an unknown place in December 2016, when government troops were ready to regain full control of the Aleppo region.

The official investigation into the abduction of Metropolitan Paul and Metropolitan Gregory John Ibrahim was not closed, since the bodies of the missing hierarchs were not found.

Earlier, the UOJ wrote that the Patriarchate of Antioch condemned international silence regarding the abduction of the metropolitans and "called for the release of bishops and an end to this case, which is a manifestation of afflictions of a Middle Eastern man."

On April 22, 2013, the metropolitans left Aleppo to negotiate the release of two priests – the Armenian Catholic Michel Kajal and Orthodox Maher Mahfuz, abducted by jihadists. The car was driven by a Roman Catholic, father of three children, Fatha'Allah Kabbud. During the trip, the car was ambushed. The driver was shot in the head, while the metropolitans were taken away in an unknown direction. None of the groups claimed responsibility for the abduction. For several years, the media had repeatedly published the information about the release of the metropolitans, which, however, turned out to be false.

Metropolitan Paul (Yaziji) of Aleppo was the brother of the Primate of the Antiochian Orthodox Church, Patriarch John X.

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