Kidnapped Iraqi Chaldean Catholic Priest Saad Sirop
UPDATE Sep. 11, 2006
Fr. Saad Sirop has been freed. Thank you for the people who prayed for him and/or signed the petition.
UPDATE Sep. 10, 2006
Chaldean Patriarch Emmanuel Delly met with Iraqi President Jalal Talabani on Sep 6, 2006 to discuss the case of Fr. Sirop. President Talabani condemned the kidnapping of Fr. Sirop and urged his kidnappers to release him.
We don't know who kidnapped Fr. Sirop. So, I'm not sure the message will make much difference. Please, continue to pray for the safe return of Fr. Sirop.
UPDATE Sep. 7, 2006
Luigia Storti from Pastoral Migrants Office of the Archdiocese of Torino, Italy sent me this information:
I take the chance now to notify you that on the 15 of September (19.00-20.00 p.m.) a special celebration will be held for Father Saad Sirop in San Rocco Church in Turin (Italy) where a special Mass for him was celebrated on the 16 of August, just one day after his kidnapping.
We all hope it will be a celebration to thank God for his release.
I hope my Italian readers get to attend the mass. Please, continue to keep Fr. Saad Sirop in your prayers.
UPDATE Sep. 5, 2006
On Aug. 21, MIR-Riconciliazione and Archdiocese of Turin Pastoral Migrants Office started a petition for the release of Fr. Saad Sirop.
Please, read the petition and sign it here. Thanks.
UPDATE Sep. 4, 2006
The Associated Press reports some encouraging news:
ROME The Chaldean Patriarch of Baghdad said Saturday he had spoken on the phone with a priest who was kidnapped earlier this month in the Iraqi capital, who told him a week ago that he was well but still in the hands of his captors.
Patriarch Emmanuel Delly told the Italian missionary news agency MISNA, however, that the kidnappers had assured him at the end of his conversation last Saturday that they would release the priest immediately, but he had heard nothing since.
At least we know he's still alive. Let's pray for his safe return.
UPDATE AUG. 23, 2006
As I expected, the kidnapping incident has scared Iraqi Christians who still live in Iraq. Zenit reports:
Last week's kidnapping at gunpoint of a Chaldean priest in Baghdad has sent shock waves throughout the Christian community in Iraq.
For his part, Archbishop Louis Sako of Kirkuk, in northeastern Iraq, implored on television for the priest's release. Subsequently, during an interview with Aid to the Church in Need, he commented on the distress that the incident has caused in the Christian community.
"Christians are living in a panic and they are terrified of more attacks on their priests and their churches," the archbishop said.
"When a priest is kidnapped, the Christian community takes it very seriously because he is such an important religious symbol," he explained.
The archbishop described Baghdad as "a jail" from which people are desperate to escape.
More people were leaving the country after this incident. It's very sad to see this small community shrinking dramatically.
UPDATE AUG. 22, 2006
At least we know that Fr. Sirop is still alive. Reuters reports:
ROME, Aug 22 (Reuters) - The Catholic Church in Iraq has received a ransom demand for a priest who was kidnapped in Baghdad, Rome-based Catholic news agency Misna said on Tuesday.
"They want money," Misna quoted Emmanuel Delly, the patriarch of the Chaldean Catholic Church, as saying.
The agency said the kidnappers of the priest, Saad Syrop Hanna, had telephoned the Church to make their demands and had said he was in good health.
I hope this ordeal will have a happy ending.
ORIGINAL POST AUG. 19, 2006
On the 15th of Aug., Fr. Sirop was kidnapped in Al-Doura suburb of Baghdad. Since then the Iraqi Chaldean church around the world has pleaded to the kidnappers for his release and safe return to his church and community. Zenit reports:
Father Saad Sirop of St. Jacob parish in Baghdad's Doura district was on his way home Tuesday from celebrating Mass in the parish church when his car was stopped by three masked armed men who forced him into their car.
In statements on Vatican Radio today, Monsignor Philippe Najem of the patriarchate said that it was still not known who kidnapped the young priest, who was planning to continue his studies in Rome.
Chaldean Patriarch Emmanuel III Delly, held a meeting with the Iraqi Prime Minister to try to find ways for Father Sirop's release.
The Iraqi Islamic Party, which represents Sunnis in the Iraqi Parliament, condemned the kidnapping.
"The Catholic Church suffers very much and daily, as the rest of the Iraqi people, who also suffer because of the lack of what is indispensable to live: water, electricity, hospital and health services, and especially security," said Monsignor Najem.
Ankawa Online put a special section for the development in Fr. Sirop kidnapping case. Sorry for non-Arabic speakers. I wish I have the time to translate every article for you.
Please, keep Fr. Sirop in your prayers.