Jacobite church condemns attack on leader in Syria

Ernakulam, June 20 (IANS) The head of the Kerala-based Jacobite Syrian Christian Church on Monday condemned a terror attack in Syria targeted at Patriarch Ignatius Aphrem II, the supreme leader of the Syriac Orthodox Church.

At least three people were killed in Qamishli in northeast Syria when a bomber attacked an event commemorating the massacre of Christians more than a century ago by the Ottoman Army, according to reports.

Patriarch Ignatius Aphrem II, who was leading the commemoration, escaped the attack without any injuries.

“This is shocking news. In the attack one of his security guards lost his life while he remained unhurt,” Mar Baselios Thomas I, who heads the Jacobite Syrian Christian Church, told reporters here.

“We still have not come to terms with the news and the only means of communication is through email as all other forms of communications are cut,” he said.

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan also condemned the attack.

“The good news is that he is unhurt and I join the others who have expressed shock over this incident,” Vijayan said in a statement issued in New Delhi.

Patriarch Ignatius Aphrem II is the supreme leader of Syrian churches, including the Jacobite Church in Kerala.

It was in February this year that Ignatius Aphrem II visited Kerala and urged the two warring factions of Kerala’s Syrian Orthodox Church to make peace.

One of these factions is the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church with its headquarters at Kottayam.

The other is the Jacobite Church which accepts the supreme leadership of the Syriac Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch, a position currently occupied by Ignatius Aphrem II.



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