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Tue Jun 25, 2013, 09:47 PM

Syrian priest dies during ‘rebel attack’ on Franciscan convent

A 49-year-old Syrian priest and hermit was killed earlier this week, apparently when a group of rebels attacked the Franciscan Convent of St Anthony in Ghassanieh, a village in the north of the country near the Turkish border.

Franciscan Father Pierbattista Pizzaballa, the head of the Franciscan Custody of the Holy Land, told Vatican Radio on Monday that Father Francois Murad was not a Franciscan, but had taken refuge in the convent when it became clear he was not safe at the Syriac Catholic hermitage he was building nearby.

Syriac Catholic Archbishop Jacques Behnan Hindo of Hassake-Nisibi told Fides, the news agency of the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples, that Father Murad “sent me several messages which showed he was aware of living in a dangerous situation and was willing to offer his life for peace in Syria and the world.”

Father Pizzaballa said that Ghassanieh, “like other Christian villages, has been almost completely destroyed and is almost totally abandoned.” He said he believes the only people left in Ghassanieh “are the rebels with their families, rebels who are not from Syria and who are extremists.”


http://www.catholicherald.co.uk/news/2013/06/25/syrian-priest-dies-during-rebel-attack-on-franciscan-convent/

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