File - Lahham, Yazigi and Rai at the opening of the Holy Synod at the Lady of Balamand Convent in north Lebanon, Tuesday, July 1, 2014 (The Daily Star/Antoine Amrieh)
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The patriarchs of Eastern churches Tuesday deplored the raging violence in Iraq and Syria that has caused a massive wave of refugees, exhorting Christians to maintain their presence in the region's war-torn countries and keep hold of their lands.In a statement released at the opening of their Holy Synod in Lady of Balamand Convent in north Lebanon, Maronite Patriarch Beshara Rai, Melkite Gregorius III Lahham, Syriarc Catholic Patriarch Ignatius III Younan, Syrian Orthodox Patriarch Ignatius Ephrem and Greek Orthodox Patriarch John Yazigi released a statement on local and regional developments.The patriarchs demanded the release and safe return of all kidnap victims, whether civilians, clerics, or nuns, notably bishops Yohanna Ibrahim and Paul Yazigi, who went missing in Syria 14 months ago.
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