Turkey’s Orthodox pray for release of bishops

Turkey’s Orthodox pray for release of bishops

Turkey’s Orthodox pray for release of bishops

Christians prayed and lit candles for the two kidnapped bishops during the Easter cermon at the Orthodx church in the southern province of Hatay. DHA photo

Turkey’s Orthodox Christian community celebrated a somber Easter over the weekend amid fervent prayers for the safety of two bishops that were recently kidnapped in Syria.

“This year we celebrate Easter in a bittersweet mood,” said Mardin Metropolitan Saliba Özmen, adding that they were sad they had been unable to receive news from the kidnapped bishops and that they had prayed for peace for the region, the Middle East and the world.

Churches across the country prayed for the release of the bishops, Aleppo’s Greek Orthodox bishop, Boulos Yaziji, and Syriac Orthodox Bishop Yohanna Ibrahim, who were kidnapped April 22 by armed men en route from the Turkish border.

The Fener Greek Orthodox Patriarchate celebrated the Orthodox Easter for the first time outside the church in Istanbul on the Aegean island of Gökçeada, with Patriarch Bartholomew performing the Mass.

The secretary-general of the Deyrülzafaran Syriac community, Murat Özbek, said they were also worried over the kidnappings and would seek help from the state.