On April 22nd Orthodox Christian Bishops Yohanna Ibrahim of Syria and Boulos Yazigi of Greece were kidnapped near the Syrian city of Aleppo. The driver of their car was murdered and the two men have now been missing for over two months. Very little progress has been made determining where the men are or even which group might be responsible for their abductions.
Concern for the bishops has touched people across the World and of many different faiths.
The Very Reverend Father Anthony G. Sabbagh of St. George’s Antiochian Orthodox Church of Allentown, met with Congressman Dent, along with a delegation of other prominent Syrian-American Christian leaders from the Lehigh Valley, on June 17th to discuss the bishops’ abductions. They asked Congressman Dent to make certain that the United States was doing its utmost to secure the safe return of the two men.
In response to their concerns, Dent contacted the U.S. Ambassador to Syria, the Honorable Robert Ford and spoke with the Ambassador regarding Bishop Ibrahim and Bishop Yazigi. Ambassador Ford expressed his commitment to doing his utmost to aid in their safe return. Ambassador Ford also expressed his deep remorse over the murder of Fatha’ Allah Kabbound, their driver.
Congressmen Dent shared this information along with information about remittances – allowing people residing in the United States the ability to send funds to their family members living in Syria – in a letter to Father Sabbagh.
His letter to Father Sabbagh is included with this release.
“The plight of Bishop Ibrahim and Bishop Yazigi is compelling,” Dent said. “They are peaceful men who have been caught up in the storm of war. Thankfully, they have men like Father Anthony, and countless numbers of Syrian Americans from the region, advocating strongly for them. I join with Father Anthony, his congregation and people of good will across the World in praying for the quick and safe release of these men,” Congressman Dent concluded.