The World Council of Churches Central Committee, during its meeting on 15-21 June, issued a statement reiterating its grave concern regarding the alarming and rapidly deteriorating situation of Christians in the Middle East.
The Central Committee called for the release of two Syrian archbishops who were kidnapped near Aleppo, Syria.
The two religious leaders, Syriac Orthodox Archbishop Yohanna Ibrahim and Greek Orthodox Archbishop Paul Yazigi, were kidnapped by gunmen in April 2013 when they were on their way back from the Turkish border to their city of Aleppo.
“The Central Committee recalls with heavy hearts the abduction five years ago of the archbishops of Aleppo, Youhanna Ibrahim and Paul Yazigi,” reads the statement. “We continue to pray for their safe return to their churches, their communities and their families, as a sign of hope for all the Christians of Syria and the region.”
The statement also affirms that “a new social pact is needed throughout the Middle East region – a common narrative that is developed and shared by all communities of the countries of the region based on an inclusive understanding of citizenship and human rights, constitutionally guaranteed, and under which all churches and faith communities, with their diverse ethnic, religious and cultural identities, can live and prosper in the love and grace given to all by God.”