Prayers requested for abducted nuns, orphans of Maaloula, Syria

In response to remarks made in a press conference in Balamand, Lebanon on December 5, 2013 by His Beatitude, Patriarch John X of Antioch and All the East, His Beatitude, Metropolitan Tikhon and the members of the Holy Synod of Bishops of the Orthodox Church in America call upon the faithful to offer prayers for the nuns and orphans abducted from the Monastery of Saint Thekla in Maaloula, Syria December 2.

“Amidst the calamities besetting Syria and the bloodshed afflicting our people and amidst the uncertainty that still surrounds the fate of our metropolitans Boulos and Youhanna in Aleppo, it is with deep pain that the Patriarchate of Antioch and All the East has received news of the abduction of her daughters, nuns and orphans of the Monastery of Saint Thekla in Maaloula on December 2, 2013 and their being transported to Yabroud,” said Patriarch John. “Because our initial attempts to obtain the release our abducted daughters did not achieve the desired outcome, the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch and All the East calls upon the international community and all governments to intervene and make efforts to release them safely. She likewise calls upon the conscience of all humanity and upon the spark of living conscience that the Creator, may He be exalted, sowed in the souls of all those who worship God, including the kidnappers, to release our sisters the nuns and the girls of the orphanage.

“Our appeal to the international community: Although we are grateful for all the feelings of solidarity, we no longer need denunciation, condemnations, or ‘feelings of concern’ about the assault on human dignity that is occurring, because all this is engraved in the conscience of every one of us,” Patriarch John continued. “Today, however, we need concrete actions, not words. We do not want voices of condemnation from decision-makers, whether regional or international, but rather efforts, pressure and action leading to the release of those whose only fault was their clinging to their monastery and refusing to leave it.”

The complete text of Patriarch John’s remarks appear on the web site of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America at

Parishes are asked to remember the abducted Metropolitans, nuns and orphans in liturgical services and personal prayer until such time as they are released.