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Syrian priest dies during ‘rebel attack’ on Franciscan convent

By on Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Franciscan Father Pierbattista Pizzaballa, head of the Franciscan Custody of the Holy Land, spoke to Vatican Radio about the killing of Father Francois Murad ( CNS)

Franciscan Father Pierbattista Pizzaballa, head of the Franciscan Custody of the Holy Land, spoke to Vatican Radio about the killing of Father Francois Murad ( CNS)

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.”

“The only thing we can do, other than pray for Father Francois and all the victims, is pray that this folly ends soon and that no more weapons are sent to Syria because that would only prolong this absurd civil war,” he added.

The Franciscan leader said Syria is a “battleground, and not just between Syrian forces, but also for other Arab countries and the international community. The ones paying the price are the poor, the small and the least, including the Christians. The international community must put the brakes on this.”

  • Thomas Poovathinkal SSP


  • Benedict Carter

    Cameron, Hague, Hollande, Obama et al have made themselves the enemies of God.

  • Laurence

    Father Francois Murad. Remember that name…

  • Canadian Catholic

    Were they ever His friends? From the start of their elected offices they have made it very clear that they hate God and religion in general and Catholics in particular. May God have mercy of them!

  • ilya

    2 Christians beheaded today awful

  • sad

    His holy blood is in Obama and Cameron’s hands.

  • peace

    im a lebanese christian living in beyruth, it’s true that in lebanon christians are safe (some how) but we are scared from those extremist, because recently some groups are imported from syria and they started to cause trouble like what happened in saida on 23/6/2012. the problem is, lebanon is considered as the european door and if this door is broken then europe will bear the consecence. yesterday my friend told me to apply to emigrate and go far from this war prone zone and we started our search first we choose to go to the UK and apparently we found that the largest capital of muslim specially extremist is London, so we moved to france and then it’s the second capital of muslim (P.S not all muslims are extremists and terrorist the majority are friendly and nice). next it’s berlin. and then we noticed that if we are going to europe this war prone zone geographically near europe for example to go from beyruth to paris it will take 3 to 3:15 hours by direct flight and by that the occidental policy had bring afghanistan and al quaeda to be their neighbor. and in a sarcastic way FRANCE AND THE UK ARE PLANING TO GIVE THEM MORE ARMY perhaps they missed world war 2 and they are planing to have some action in their countries. in the end im praying for you father Francois and i hope that im not going to die in the same way but if it’s meant to be, well i was born a christian, i lived as a christian and i will die as a christian………………

  • josemtous

    We must pray for the victory of the Syrian army against the takfiri and wahabbis that are killing christians, alawites, shiites and sufis, and that Syria becomes a more democratic country where muslims, jews and christians can live in peace.

  • jazj

    Wait a minute, the headline says “Syrian priest dies during ‘rebel attack’ on Franciscan convent” where in fact there are videos showing his beheading.

  • Kenny

    The Catholic community should be up in arms about this but I don’t see it. This is what the mercenaries of NATO, the US, Israel, Qatar and Saudi Arabia do. They are paid to kill and break up Syria into little pieces for their handlers. For profit, for power, for control. Financed by your tax dollars. Unless we speak up and demand that this end, we too are part of the problem.

  • paulzuk
  • David

    I also noticed some confusion. I hope it gets cleared up soon.

  • St Donatus

    God Bless you

  • jazj

    Waiting for the Obama speech at the U.N. to once again to praise how peaceful Islam is and condemn a Coptic Christian filmmaker.

  • eye

    I saw the video. There were several disclaimers you had to agree to before seeing it. I wish I hadn’t. They literally sawed his head off with what looked like a kitchen knife. Two others were also killed. God bless him. He should be declared a saint. He died for his faith.

  • Solider

    Then its best to arm yourself as a Christian, and defend yourself as a Christian and kill those MFs as Christian who are coming to cut your head off with their filthy takfiri knives.

  • Maeri-Jo Farley

    I read this and I just remembered a scripture that is very relevant. I know that it does not make what these people did right, but maybe the Christian community can take comfort from it. Matthew 16:25 “For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.”