Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk receives Syrian opposition members

Moscow, February 6, 2014

On February 5, 2014, chairman of the Moscow Patriarchate's External Relations Department Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk received representatives of the delegation of the National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces, who were staying in Moscow on February 3-5, at their request, reports communication service of the Department for External Relations.

As Metropolitan Hilarion noted, the fate of Christian population of Syria was causing special concern. "We are really concerned about radicalism which is now resulting in numerous human victims as well as abduction of Christians, destruction of Christian churches," he stressed. "We see that on the territory of Syria full-scale persecutions of Christians are taking place. Many of them were forced to leave the country and many became refugees inside the country. A huge humanitarian disaster is going on".

The hierarch has stressed that nothing is known so far about whereabouts of two Christian hierarchs, who were kidnapped in April 2013—Metropolitan Paul of Aleppo and Syriac Metropolitan Mar Gregory Johanna Ibrahim. He also stated that the abbess and nuns of St. Thecla Convent in Ma'loula, who had been abducted in December last year, were not released yet.

Michel Kilo, member of the National Coalition's Political Bureau; Saleh Dervish, member of the Kurdish National Council; Burhan Ghalioun, former head of the Syrian National Council; Mohammad Farouq Tayfour, deputy chairman of the National Coalition; and Badr Jamous, Secretary General of the National Coalition, were present at the meeting.

The Department for External Relations was represented at the meeting by Archpriest Sergy Zvonarev, the DECR secretary for far abroad countries; Priest Dimitry Safonov, head of the DECR Sector for interfaith contacts; DECR staff members M. Palacio and O. Mazur.

7 февраля 2014 г.

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