A group of nuns kidnapped over three months ago in Maaloula, Syria were released on Monday, March 10. Tired, but unharmed, the nuns were full of praise for those who had negotiated their release. A nun told reporters, “We want to thank God, who made it possible for us to be here now.”
On December 2, jihadists seized the 12 nuns and their three attendants from the Christian village of Maaloula, where residents still speak the ancient Aramaic spoken by Jesus, and took them to nearby Yabroud, inside the Lebanese border.
Maaloula became a hotly contested battleground between rebel fighters and government troops last year, with a number of civilian casualties, including Christians. The majority of the town’s Christian population reportedly fled during clashes in September, leaving a mainly Muslim population behind. The 40 nuns of the Orthodox Mar Takla convent had been the major exception to the mass exodus of Christians, until 12 were abducted in December.
The nuns were released to Syrian authorities as part of a prisoner exchange involving 150 women and children previously held by the Syrian government. Mother Pelagia Sayyaf, superior of the convent, said she and the other nuns and their attendants were well treated during their captivity in Lebanon. “God did not leave us,” she told reporters.
Father, our own faith is encouraged and strengthened by the news of the nuns’ release. Father, we thank You for watching over them while in custody, and we praise You for protecting them. We also pray that their witness of Your unfailing presence will ultimately bring their captors into a relationship with You. Lord Jesus, You are the Prince of Peace and our sure hope in times of trouble; draw them out of darkness and into the light of the gospel. In the name of Jesus who has overcome the darkness for all eternity. Amen