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Rev. Paolo Dall'Oglio
Photo: Flickr / veDro - l'Italia al futuro

The disappearance of an Italian Jesuit priest on July 29th, following the kidnapping of two other clergymen in April, reflects the dangers Christians are facing in this war-torn country. Rev. Paolo Dall'Oglio, who spent three decades in Syria before the government deported him last year for helping victims of President Bashar al-Assad's military crackdown, re-entered the country in late July. The reverend's disappearance comes three months after the kidnapping of the Greek Orthodox and Syriac Orthodox archbishops of Aleppo.

Paul Yazigi of the Greek Orthodox Church, and Yohanna Ibrahim of the Syriac Orthodox Church, were kidnapped near the village of Kafr Dael on April 22nd while returning from the Turkish border on a humanitarian relief trip. The abduction happened on the road to Aleppo from the rebel-held Bab al Hawa Province, where gunmen intercepted their vehicle and killed the driver. The fate of both clergymen is still unknown.

According to the United Nations, Syrian Christians have been vulnerable since the beginning of the civil war in 2011 which has left more than 100,000 people dead. Reportedly hundreds of believers have been kidnapped since hostilities began in 2011, and thousands more have fled the country. Many have crossed over into Lebanon or Turkey where they await legal or illegal means to reach Europe and obtain political asylum. To review a previous report on the crisis, click here.

Pray that the Lord would be a shield to the multitudes of innocent people who are caught in the cross fire between the forces of good and evil. Ask for His divine protection and strength to be upon all of His faithful servants (including those mentioned above) who are boldly taking a stand for righteousness; mediating on behalf of those being persecuted; serving as His hands, feet and voice by carrying out various humanitarian efforts; and bringing His hope, comfort, encouragement and healing to those who are suffering greatly in this troubled land.