The World Council of Churches (WCC) Permanent Committee on Consensus and Collaboration issued a communique on 9 April calling for the release of two metropolitans of Aleppo, Boulos (Yazigi), from the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch and All the East, and Mor Youhanna Gregorios (Ibrahim) from the Syrian Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch and All the East.
The committee, with a mandate to continue the authority and concerns of the Special Commission on Orthodox Participation in the WCC, met at St John of Damascus Theological Institute, University of Balamand in Lebanon.
The communique expresses solidarity with Orthodox churches in Syria and Lebanon who still suffer from the abduction, in April 2013, of the two metropolitans. “In the years since their abduction, the World Council of Churches has expressed its concern and called for the release of the two archbishops of Aleppo,” the communique reads. “There is still no word on the whereabouts and condition of these two archbishops.”
The committee is meeting from 5-10 April close to the site of the abduction, in the place where Boulos served as dean of the St John of Damascus Theological Institute. The committee called to mind the service of both bishops to their communities and to the ecumenical movement. “In particular, Metropolitan Boulos helped strengthen this place as a foundation for Orthodox theology and Antiochian spirituality, strengthening the presence of Orthodoxy not only for Antioch but also throughout the east,” the communique reads, as World Council of Churches mentions. “Through its students, this institution continues to extend the Orthodox voice throughout the world.”
The communique adds: “Both archbishops demonstrated the love of Christ for all persons without exception, and are considered spiritual Orthodox leaders. The Permanent Committee asks that all continue to pray for the safe return of the archbishops to their churches, their communities and their families, as a sign of hope for all the Christians of Syria and the region.”