In addition to these horrors, on December 17th, twelve nuns from the Saint Thecla convent in Maaloula, Syria were also 'detained', 'kidnapped', taken from their monastery. While conflicting stories about them have emerged (such as "they were removed to protect them from those who seek to attack the monastery), they are nonetheless held in a place unknown by persons unknown against their will.
In response to these atrocities, the US Government, with all of its power and authority, had done exactly nothing.
I am forwarding the message below to all of my elected representatives at the national level. Let me urge you to pray about this, and then if the Spirit moves you to act as well, please do so.
For those who choose to act, you can find e-mail addresses for your elected senators and representatives here:
When you click the link, you will be taken to a page permitting you to select US Senators or US Representatives (among the several choices). You'll need to go to both if you choose to fully engage all of your elected representatives. Once on the following page, simply click your state (for Senators) and their e-mail addresses will appear.
For congressmen, it's a little more complicated. You can find your representatives here:
Once found, our "enlightened" representative system does not allow you to contact them with an e-mail address. Seems too many e-mails would be generated by "non-constituents", and so they hide behind a federal page that forces you to enter your "ZIP PLUS 4" address. If you don't know the last four digits of your nine digit ZIP code, you WILL NOT GET INTO THE SYSTEM!! So, you can send snail mail, or you can find your 9 digit code here:
Now - to the message. Copy it, and place your own name at the bottom before sending - if you are so moved. And I pray that you will be!
Glory to Jesus Christ! Glory forever!
We greet you with this traditional Orthodox greeting that is offered to all who share in the recognition that our Lord is Sovereign, and we are all His servants. We daily pray for all elected officials, like yourself, with prayers such as this: "Be mindful, O Lord, of the President of our country, of all civil authorities, and of our armed forces everywhere, especially those serving in battle zones. Be mindful of our country, of the city in which we dwell, and of every city and countryside. Grant them all peaceful times, that we may lead calm and peaceful lives in all Godliness and sanctity."
That Godliness and sanctity has been broken by the actions of a few who seek only destruction through terrorism.
On April 23rd 2013, two Orthodox Bishops were kidnapped near Aleppo in the northwest of Syria. Metropolitan Paul of the Antiochian Archdiocese of Aleppo, and Mar Gregorios Yohanna of the Syriac Archdiocese of Aleppo were taken in a gunfire attack on their car as they traveled in this district. The deacon cleric who was their driver was shot and killed in that attack. As of this writing, these two Orthodox hierarchs have been held hostage now for over 266 days!
Then, on December 3rd 2013, twelve nuns and perhaps a few others were kidnapped, or at least forceably removed, from their convent of Saint Thecla in Maaloula, Syria. Amongst those in the group are said to be one nun who is over 90 years old, and the youngest is apparently in her "mid teens". These women are being held by unknown people in an unknown location, and the only information to surface is that "they are safe." From whom?
And in what is now nearly nine months of captivity for the bishops, and one month for the nuns, the total response from our own government has been a deafening silence.
We write to beg you to do anything and everything possible to assure the safety and well being of both groups, and to ultimately secure the release of these people. In an encyclical from His Holiness Patriarch John of Antioch, we read these words: "Our appeal to the international community: Although we are grateful for all the feelings of solidarity, we no longer need denunciation, condemnations, or 'feelings of concern' about the assault on human dignity that is occurring, because all this is engraved in the conscience of every one of us. Today, however, we need concrete actions, not words. We do not want voices of condemnation from decision makers, whether regional or international, but rather efforts, pressure and action leading to the release of those whose only fault was their clinging to their monastery and refusing to leave it."
As Orthodox Christians, we find the actions of such people unconscionable. And we find it equally unconscionable for a society built upon the principle of fighting oppression wherever it may exist to have gone nine months without taking any action whatsoever.
We call on you now, therefore, to act! You, and all our federal representatives, to stand fearlessly and with one voice declare, "This is far enough!" We call on you to do that which is right and just, and to secure the freedom of our brothers and sisters who are in such grave danger at the hands of mad men. We call on you to restore Godliness and sanctity to the lives of these captives, and thereby to our own.
Father Basil Rusen
Saint Herman Eastern Orthodox Church
Hudson, Ohio 44236