Orthodox Priest Murdered in Damascus





Damascus: The body of the Greek Orthodox priest Fr. Fadi Jamil Haddad, pastor of the church of St. Elias in Qatana, was found today in the Jaramana neighborhood (north of Damascus) not far from the place where he was kidnapped, on October 19, by an unidentified armed group. This was confirmed by Fr. Haddad’s Greek-Orthodox confrere, who asked for anonymity. “His body was horribly tortured and his eyes gouged out,” he reported. “It is a purely terrorist act. Fr. Haddad is a martyr of our church. ” The kidnappers had asked the priest’s family and his church a ransom of 50 million Syrian pounds (over 550 thousand euro). It was, however, impossible to find the money and meet this exorbitant demand.

A source condemned these acts, “the terrible practice, present for months in this dirty war, of kidnapping and then killing innocent civilians.” Among the various Christian communities in Syria, the Greek Orthodox is the largest (with about 500 thousand faithful) and is concentrated mainly in the western part of the country and in Damascus.  Now, there is debate about who is responsible for this act.  Some say that Assad’s regime staged the kidnapping and murder in order to later blame it on Islamic Fundamentalists and cause tensions while others are sure that it could have been any one of the armed groups in the opposition as this is one of their common practices.  Only those who committed the act and God can know for sure.  May God be with Father Haddad’s family and may his soul rest in peace.  Let us not cease in prayer for the end of this war in Syria.

Fr.Fadi was an Antiochian Orthodox priest in Katana – Damascus suburb he graduated from the university of balamand in 1994,and served as the priest in Katana since 1996.