A Syrian Catholic monk, Father Jacques Mourad (54), kidnapped in 2015 by ISIS terrorists, was consecrated as the new Archbishop of Homs, Syria.
Syrian Catholic Patriarch Ignace Youssif III Younan celebrated the episcopal consecration with Cardinal Mario Zenari, the apostolic nuncio in Syria, as well as Melkite Greek Catholic Patriarch Yoseph Absi, Syrian Orthodox Patriarch Mar Ignatios Aphrem II, and other bishops on March 03.
The procurator of the Syrian Patriarchate of Antioch to the Holy See, Bishop Flavien Rami Al-Kabalan, declared that "the new archbishop has left his life in the hands of the Lord."
God appointed the new archbishop to be the spiritual father who sanctifies souls via the sacraments of salvation and encourages everyone in prayer and fasting, according to Al-Kabalan. He will also serve as a patient and loving brother as well as a wise and discerning teacher.
He also noted that the recent earthquake that struck Turkey's southeast and Syria's northwest, severely affecting Mourad's hometown Aleppo, had aggravated the wounds of the civil war.
“Al-Kabalan remarked that the baptized come to realize that they are in exile because their homeland is heaven.
Mourad was kidnapped by masked Islamic State militants in May 2015 at the Mar Elian Monastery in Syria.
On several occasions during his five month long captivity, a masked man threatened him with a knife to his throat.
In spite of this, he remained faithful to Christ throughout all the days of captivity.
He escaped with the help of an young Muslim man.
Mourad could have been freed if he had renounced Christianity during the time he was held captive.
- With inputs from Catholic News Agency.
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