Loading
Murdered Syrian priest's friend feels closeness of martyrdom
By Estefania Aguirre
Fr.Ibrahim Alsabagh speaks to CNA on July 4, 2013 at the Church of Sts. Fabian and Venantius. Credit: Estefania Aguirre/CNA.
Fr.Ibrahim Alsabagh speaks to CNA on July 4, 2013 at the Church of Sts. Fabian and Venantius. Credit: Estefania Aguirre/CNA.

.- Franciscan Friar Ibrahim Alsabagh says that remembering the June 23 killing of his friend, a Syrian priest, at a Mass in Rome made him feel “bitter, happy, and a little bit of envy," as well as "how close martyrdom is."

“My first reaction was of bitterness because I had met him personally and I know how much good he did,” said Father Alsabagh, a Syrian Franciscan of the Custody of the Holy Land. “Also because it made me realize how close martyrdom is.”

“But on the other hand, I also felt joy and a little bit of envy,” he told CNA July 4, following the memorial Mass for Father François Mourad, held in Rome.

The evening Mass was celebrated by Bishop Matteo M. Zuppi, an auxiliary bishop of the Diocese of Rome, at the Church of Saints Fabian and Venantius.

During the Mass, which was held to pray for the priest and all of the victims of the conflict, Fr. Alsabagh spoke about the war, the growing faith of young Christians in Syria and about Fr. Murad’s death.

Initial media reports falsely informed that Fr. Murad was beheaded in an attack that was recorded on video, showing a group of foreign jihadist militants beheading two men in Syria.

But Vatican sources later confirmed the 49-year-old was in fact shot dead in the Christian village of Gassanieh near Jisr Ash-Shughur in northern Syria, after rebels raided the monastery where he was living.

“There are many news (reports) involving his death, one of them is that he received a bullet when he was inside the monastery,” Fr. Alsabgh said.

“Another story is that he was assaulted by a group that wanted to loot the monastery and that they killed him,” he stated. “This story wasn’t disseminated immediately by the mass media, and it was later confused with a movie published in YouTube that shows the beheading of a priest with other two lay people.”

Fr. Alsabagh stressed the truth was that he was not beheaded but shot in the monastery.

“He was gentle and docile, he was a Franciscan that always aspired to initiate a monastic path,” he said.“He always helped in our mission, and we always considered him as one of our brothers.”

Fr. Murad initially wanted to open a monastery close to Aleppo and base its spirituality on Saint Siemon the Stylite.

But Fr. Alsabagh said that because of “many difficulties,” Fr. Murad went to live in the monastery of Saint Anthony of Padua in Ghassanieh, which is where he was killed.

“We, Franciscans of the Holy Land, are also always called to testify to our faith in the Middle East, even to the point of martyrdom,” he remarked.

Fr. Alsabagh, who was studying for a doctorate in Rome, traveled to one of the three Franciscan monasteries in Damascus on July 5 “to help and support his brothers in the mission.”

“I’m returning there to be with my brothers and to live the testimony,” he said. “There are probably so many dangers; there is no security in the capital, on the streets, not even in the monastery.”

“One can be killed in any moment but so many people expect our strength, our bravery, our prayers and our homilies,” he stated. “They expect words of faith, as well as the sacraments.”

He underscored the Franciscans’ mission in Syria is to be “brothers of the people, to be with the people, and to serve the (Syrian) people.”

After spending the next two months in Syria, he plans to return to Rome in September to continue his doctorate.

According to him, since the violence began there is “more sensibility regarding the Christian life” in Syria.

“When there is the cross, there is something that moves and pushes you more; there is a force that springs so much from within to the outside,” he remarked.

“When one lives in prosperity, there is a big danger and indifference becomes the result,” he added.

“Instead, a little bit of suffering, a little bit of the cross on the shoulder, helps us open our eyes a bit to the importance of our Christian vocation and to its beauty.”
 
Fr. Alsabagh noted suffering “also helps us respond generously to our Christian vocation, helps us realize that everything passes, that it’s important to stick closer to Jesus and to be ready at every moment to give your life for your brothers.”

“I’ve shared this suffering by listening to my family, friends, priests and brothers,” he said. “It’s made me realize that my martyrdom could come today or tomorrow, too.”

“We need to do what the Pope says: close this passageway of weapons into Syria,” he affirmed.

Tags: Syria Conflict


Ads by AdsLiveMedia(What's this?)

* The number of messages that can be online is limited. CNA reserves the right to edit messages for content and tone. Comments and opinions expressed by users do not necessarily reflect the opinions or beliefs of CNA. CNA will not publish comments with abusive language, insults or links to other pages

RESOURCES »

Ads by Google (What's this?)

Featured Videos

Pilgrimage from Czech Republic to Assisi and Rome for intentions
Pilgrimage from Czech Republic to Assisi and Rome for intentions
Testimony of young Indian who met Pope in Korea
Preparations of the Closing Mass of 6th Asian Youth Day
Missionary of Charity, Korea
Testimony of Christian Love during Pope's Visit to Korea
Religious Sisters in South Korea react to Pope Francis kissing a baby
Warm atmosphere during Holy Mass at Daejeon World Cup Stadium
Images inside Pope Francis flight to South Korea
The tombs of the early Christians
Missionaries of Africa, called "the White Fathers"
Italian youth give testimony after mission to Peru
Interview with Iraqi Ambassador to the Holy See on the persecution of Christians
New book 'The Vatican unknown'
A Look at India from Rome
3D Church mapping
#PAUSEforPeace Initiative
Dedicating art to San Juan de la Cruz
A state without territory elects new government
The renewal of the Legionaries of Christ
Presentation of the book "The Pastor"
Aug
22

Liturgical Calendar

August 22, 2014

The Queenship of the Blessed Virgin Mary

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Mt 22:34-40

Gospel
Date
08/22/14
08/19/14
08/18/14

Daily Readings


First Reading:: Ezek 37: 1-14
Gospel:: Mt 22: 34-40

Saint of the Day

Queenship of Mary »

Saint
Date
08/19/14

Homily of the Day

Mt 22:34-40

Homily
Date
08/22/14
08/19/14
08/18/14

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com
     HTML
Text only
Headlines
  

Follow us: