Pope Francis appealed for the release of Father Paolo Dall’Oglio, a Jesuit priest kidnapped two years ago in Syria.
The Italian priest, who worked in Syria for the past 30 years, was kidnapped in July 2013 by the so-called Islamic State. Father Dall’Oglio engaged in Christian-Muslim dialogue, notably through the monastic community he founded north of Damascus and was vocal against government repression.
In his address, Pope Francis remembered the second anniversary of the Jesuit priest’s abduction and called for his freedom.”I make a heartfelt and urgent appeal for the freedom of this esteemed religious man,” he said.
The Pope also remembered Metropolitans Mar Gregorios Ibrahim of the Syriac Orthodox Church and Paul Yazigi of the Greek Orthodox Church of Antioch, who were abducted in April 2013 near Aleppo, an area considered to be one of the most dangerous areas in Syria, during a humanitarian mission.
“I can’t also forget the Orthodox bishops kidnapped in Syria and all the other people who, in the areas of conflict, have been seized,” he said. “I hope for a renewed commitment by the competent local and international authorities, so that these our brothers will soon be restored to freedom.”
Concluding his appeal, Pope Francis led the faithful in praying the Hail Mary for all those suffering in the current conflict.