Archbishop Desmond Tutu’s statement on the disappearance of Syrian church leaders – 13 June 2013

The violence and terror that have consumed Syria over the past two years have exacted a terrible toll. A disproportionately high number of innocent lives have been lost, including many women and children.

Amidst such chaos and human suffering, to focus on any single event, or to single out individuals particularly worthy of attention, would be to do the broad peace-loving and long-suffering population a disservice.

However, I would like to make a special appeal to those responsible for the abduction of Archbishop Mar Gregorios Yohanna Ibrahim, Metropolitan of the Syriac Orthodox Archdiocese of Aleppo, and Archbishop Boulos Yazaji, Metropolitan of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Aleppo.

You have abducted two servants of God, two men of peace. You have not identified yourselves, you have not tried to justify your actions, and we do not know whether the two men are alive. There is no justice, there can be no justification – in any circumstances – for such inhumanity. We are members of one family, the human family, God’s family. We are made for love.

The two church leaders were kidnapped on 22 April 2013. Their driver, a deacon, was killed during the abduction.


This statement was issued for the Desmond and Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation by Oryx Media.