News

Rebels in Syria abduct nuns from ancient Christian town

04 December 2013 | by Ellen Teague

Islamist rebels have abducted 12 nuns from a convent in the historic Christian town of Maaloula, around 50 miles north of Damascus. The nuns were taken on Monday from the St Thecla Greek Orthodox convent to the nearby rebel-held city of Yabroud.

“Armed men burst into the monastery of St Thecla in Maaloula this afternoon. From there, they forcibly took 12 women religious,” the Apostolic Nuncio to Syria, Archbishop Mario Zenari said, citing a statement from the Greek-Orthodox Patriarchate.

“I don't know if it is a kidnapping or if they were removed by the rebels because they wanted to have a free hand in the monastery for fighting purposes,” he said. “All we can do is to pray for those nuns, pray that those people who have them in their hands treat them well.” The dozens of orphaned children who also lived at the convent had already left, the archbishop said.

Many of the town’s 5,000 residents had already fled because of intense fighting in the region over control of the Damascus-Homs highway, and anti-Christian atrocities by rebels. Maaloula was the scene of fierce fighting between rebels and government forces in September.

On Monday Christians in Damascus held a service to protest over the capture of the nuns and the kidnapping of two archbishops in April whose whereabouts are still unknown.

The Pope appealed to all those in St Peter’s Square at his general audience to pray for the nuns.  “Let us pray for these nuns, for these sisters,” he asked, “and for all those who have been kidnapped as a result of the current conflict. Let us continue to pray and act for peace together. Let us pray to the Virgin.”



Article List


TABLET WORLD…
Latest Issue
Digital/PDF Version

PDF version (iPad-friendly)

Previous Issues
Latest Tweet
Most Read Articles

Anglican orders not 'invalid' says Cardinal, opening way for revision of current Catholic position 09 May 2017 by Christopher Lamb

Consecration of renegade Anglican bishop not intended to splinter CofE but necessary to preserve its true 'heritage and mission' says breakaway church17 May 2017 by Rose Gamble

Medjugorje report's conclusions could be a 'first' for the church, says Vatican commission member 18 May 2017 by Catholic News Service

Anglican orders not 'invalid' says Cardinal, opening way for revision of current Catholic position 09 May 2017 by Christopher Lamb

Consecration of renegade Anglican bishop not intended to splinter CofE but necessary to preserve its true 'heritage and mission' says breakaway church17 May 2017 by Rose Gamble

Medjugorje report's conclusions could be a 'first' for the church, says Vatican commission member 18 May 2017 by Catholic News Service

Official teaching has changed throughout the whole history of the ChurchPremium18 May 2017 by Sara Maitland

Time to get real: both believers and unbelievers are crucial in winning the battle against 'post truth'Premium18 May 2017 by Matthew d'Ancona

The Tablet Interview - Once a Catholic... screenwriter and renowned TV producer Jimmy Mc­Govern talks to Peter StanfordPremium18 May 2017 by Peter Stanford

Official teaching has changed throughout the whole history of the ChurchPremium18 May 2017 by Sara Maitland

Time to get real: both believers and unbelievers are crucial in winning the battle against 'post truth'Premium18 May 2017 by Matthew d'Ancona

The Tablet Interview - Once a Catholic... screenwriter and renowned TV producer Jimmy Mc­Govern talks to Peter StanfordPremium18 May 2017 by Peter Stanford

Share Us
Tablet Subscription

Manage my subcription here

Manage
Newsletter

Sign up for our newsletter

Sign Up
Top