Protesters Rally outside Turkish Embassy in Solidarity with Two Bishops, Maalula Nuns

إقرأ هذا الخبر بالعربية W460

The head of the Levant Party – a mainly Greek Orthodox political group -- on Sunday announced “the beginning of an organized campaign” against Turkey's interests in Lebanon and the world in response to the abduction of the bishops Yohanna Ibrahim and Boulos Yazigi and the Maalula nuns in Syria.

“We will fight alongside all the honorable people to preserve the diverse image of the Levant … We Christians had protected our Muslim brothers when they came under attacks and we will defend them today as well in the face of takfiris (Islamist extremists),” the party's leader Rodrigue Khoury said during a sit-in organized by his group outside the Turkish embassy in Rabieh.

“The Levant will not surrender its neck to you and we will not allow your thieves and terrorists to desecrate Antioch,” added Khoury, addressing Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and accusing him of supporting the rebel groups that kidnapped the bishops and the nuns.

He went on to say: “We are part of a vast civilization that extends from Lebanon to Athens and Moscow. We repeat what we had said in the past: do not bet that we are a minority.”

Khoury announced “the beginning of a campaign aimed at unveiling the fate of the two bishops and liberating the nuns.”

“You will witness a campaign against your interests that will only end when we know the fate of our saints,” he added.

In response to a reporter's question, Khoury said “the campaign will not only involve one of Turkey's interests in Lebanon and the world, but will rather be an organized campaign and we will be in a legal confrontation with the Turks.”

“We will not reveal the means but we will stay under the law and Turkey will see our steps,” he added.

Speaking at the sit-in, Sheikh Abbas Zgheib, who had been tasked by the Higher Islamic Shiite Council to follow up on the issue of the Aazaz abductees, said “the kidnap of the bishops and nuns and the rest of hostages is not only of concern to the Christians of the Levant.”

“We declare our solidarity with our Christian brothers and tell them that we share the same wound. We tell Turkey that should these groups seize control of Syria, Turkey will never know tranquility,” Zgheib added.

He accused Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea of offering support to extremist groups in Syria, warning him that he would also be targeted by these groups should they infiltrate Lebanon.

Speaking in the name of the Maalula nuns, Rania Francis said: “If the aim of the armed groups was to fight the Syrian army, troops were on the outskirts of the town, not inside Maalula.”

Jihadists and opposition fighters on Monday entered the Syrian Christian town of Maalula and took 12 Lebanese and Syrian Greek Orthodox nuns from the Mar Takla Monastery to the Yabrud area in Qalamoun, near Damascus. The Vatican slammed the move as an “abduction.”

The 12 nuns join two bishops and a priest who are already believed to be held by hardline rebels in the Aleppo area, deepening concerns that extremists in the opposition's ranks are targeting Christians.

The Qalamoun region boasts a sizable Christian population and is home to the ancient Christian village of Maalula and its Mar Takla convent. Church leaders and pro-rebel activists said the al-Qaida-affiliated al-Nusra Front seized the nuns from Mar Takla.

Maalula was a popular tourist attraction before the conflict began. Some of its residents still speak a version of Aramaic, a language spoken by Jesus.

Comments 14
Thumb lebanon_first 15 December 2013, 18:57

"The Levant party" a new orthodox group. Sounds interesting. I hope it has nothing to do with the criminal ssnp.

Thumb benzona 16 December 2013, 00:23

lol, indeed they're made of the same shīte.

Thumb EagleDawn 15 December 2013, 19:08

Pathetic Lunatic!

Thumb ice-man 15 December 2013, 19:12

You will be sorely missed lebroar. Good riddance dearest.

Thumb sevilla 15 December 2013, 19:17

Here we go again! A complete state of lawlessness..... Sheikh Abbas you are an example to be followed....

Thumb general_puppet 15 December 2013, 19:50

the_snore is a pompous fool, you think anybody cares whether you post or not?

"..I will never post again"… lets see how long this boycott last :-))))))))

Thumb cedre 15 December 2013, 23:23

both u're assumptions are wrong, anybody is free to learn greek btw, but then which one, modern or ancient greek ? Which one is used in theology ?

Thumb zahle1 16 December 2013, 00:54

water, there is no doubt there is some arab blood and arab tribes mixed in Lebanon into the Christian population. But in most of the cities there was a strong Byzantine (Greek) language and influence. This article posted above is kind of weird, because the Orthodox are not ethnically or racially Greek. Yes there were some token Greeks but not he masses. Outside of Arabia (Saudi), in the Levant to Mesopotamia, we spoke Syriac or Aramaic, especially outside the cities, not Arabic. Arabic spread with Islam. Everywhere was Christian, and pagan. But Islam took care of that. We lost our language, and the masses lost their religion of Christianity. There were many Christians in Saudi Arabia a long time ago, but they were either killed or converted.

Thumb zahle1 16 December 2013, 00:55

The churches kept the Greek and Syriac as part of their liturgy because that was the language of the time when it was only Christianity or paganism. There was little to no arab language in the Levant until Islam. These are all facts. But yes, many Christians have arab blood and roots.

Thumb zahle1 16 December 2013, 02:15

water, most of us have not lived in a situation where we were not free to practice our religion. The language, the areas where it was spoken is all documented. The towns that had churches, that no longer exist is well documented. Many of what we know is passed down from generations. Like I said, Christianity has disappeared in much of the middle east. Populations have dwindled in Palestine and everywhere. Like I said, it is not allowed in KSA where we used to have a presence. You can choose to ignore that there was a coordinated effort to eliminate this language. I myself do not believe there is some super Aramaic, or Phoenician race. I believe it is probably mostly a mixture. But I do believe that Greek and Aramaic were the dominant languages in the Levant, spoken my the overwhelming majority of the population. There was an Arab minority, and as Islam spread so did the language of it's prophet. Do not forget we were forced to live in millets for centuries.

Thumb zahle1 16 December 2013, 02:23

Jesus did speak Aramaic, again proof it was a dominant language at the time. Palestinians are proud where Jesus is from but often forget about their aramaic roots. The Jews were of many tribes at the time of Jesus, and did not only speak hebrew. Iraq for example was almost exclusively Aramaic. Then Islam spread, people changed their language along with their religion. The issue is, is with the Muslims, who refuse to admit that their ancestors converted and want to claim direct blood lines of the prophet. They wish to neglect their identity from 1000 or more years ago. It is a sense of pride to speak the language of their prophet and to want to have arab blood. I am proud of any arab blood I may have, because I understand that there were arab christians before arab muslims, but am aware that most of the christians of the Levant probably have "more" other dna besides arab.

Thumb cedre 16 December 2013, 00:56

@ the fact byzantine is not ethnic group, DNA proved that maronite and orthodox are 'arabs' ( i mean local melting=pot the real contribution from arabic peninsula is very weak, less than 2%)

Again 'greeks' in lebanon are not ethnic greeks, not related to them or the slavs even if Greece and Russia supported them in the past/ used them...

Thumb cedre 16 December 2013, 00:56

btw, tanx for this interesting debate...

Missing --karim_m3-- 16 December 2013, 06:48

God bless the Levant Party.