Pope Francis, at the end of his General Audience on Wednesday, December 4, called on everyone to pray for a group of Syrian nuns who were kidnapped from the Monastery of Saint Tecla, a Greek Orthodox monastery near the ancient Christian town of Ma’lula, about 35 miles north of Damascus.
“Now I would like to invite everyone to pray for the religious sisters of the Greek Orthodox Monastery of Saint Tecla in Ma’lula, in Syria, who, two days ago, were taken away by force by armed men. Let us pray for these sisters, and for all those who have been kidnapped on account of the on-going conflict. Let us continue to pray and to work for peace.”
Chaldean Bishop Antoine Audo of Aleppo, said that Christians feel more threatened now because the kidnapping has brought the war “to a sacred Christian place, one where for centuries nothing like this has happened.”
“Ma’lula is an important symbol not only for Christians, but also for Muslims in Syria and throughout the Middle East, because it is known that people there still speak the Aramaic dialect, the language of Christ.”