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October 27, 2012

ORTHODOX PRIEST FADI HADDAD MARTYRED IN SYRIA, HIS FUNERAL BOMBED

Damascus (Agenzia Fides) - 10/26/12. A bomb exploded this morning during Fr. Fadi Jamil Haddads funeral, the Orthodox priest who was kidnapped and found dead yesterday in Damascus. According to local sources the explosion killed two civilians and some soldiers. The funeral Service, celebrated in the church of St. Elias in Qatana by Greek-Orthodox Patriarch Ignatius IV Hazim, was attended by thousands of Christians moved and saddened by the loss of the priest.The Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch defines Fr. Haddad a "martyr of reconciliation and harmony." In fact, the priest "was engaged in a noble humanitarian mission to free a member of his parish who had been kidnapped a few days before." In the mediation, Fr. Fadi was kidnapped along with another intermediary. The kidnappers demanded a huge ransom and then killed him. The note of the Orthodox Patriarchate reports the "terrible tragedy", "Father Fadi Haddads body was found on the morning of October 25 in the Drousha area. There were indescribable signs of torture and mutilation on his body."We ask God." said the Orthodox Patriarch, "that Father Fadi Haddads martyrdom be a sacrifice offered for the children of this nation and for a truce in the painful events we are experiencing in this period." Father Fadi Jamil Haddad was born in the city of Qatana on February 2, 1969. He studied theology in Damascus and Lebanon. He had married and was ordained a priest in 1995 by His Beatitude Patriarch Ignatius IV Hazim. He was the pastor of the Greek Orthodox church of St. Elias in Qatana. A source of the Patriarchate remarks that "he was loved by all religious groups and had not taken a position in the political conflict in Syria, but was strongly committed to reconciliation.

On the Martyrdom of Fr Fadi Haddad
Metropolitan Elias (Kfoury)

(Note: 'Fadi' in Arabic means 'redeemer.' Fr Fadi was killed while attempting to redeem a captive.)

"Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."
To my dear Priest Fadi Haddad,
I received with great sorrow (even though the Apostle Paul tells us, "do not grieve like others who have no hope") the news of your horrific murder on the road to Mount Hermel. This news hit me like a thunderbolt, I who gave you the mystery of priesthood by the laying on of this humble hand. I am the one who recognized that you were "one of the poor of the Holy Spirit" who will inherit the kingdom of heaven. I recognized in you the loving son, loyal to his Church and his leaders. I saw innocence in your eyes, purity in your soul, and love in your heart, putting into action the words of Christ the Lord, "With love I have conquered the world" -- and not with any other weapon.

My soul is sorrowful unto death, because innocence is killed by murderous, criminal hands who do not know the sanctity of priesthood or of holy things. My soul is sorrowful unto death, because love is persecuted, love which the Apostle Paul said, "gives everything. Love never fails." The honor of the priesthood is trampled by barbaric feet (even the barbarity of the Zionists has not done this). I say to the murderous criminals who overcame you: Wait for the Day of Judgment when the Righteous Judge shall sit upon the throne. The river of fire will flow and the book will be opened. The hidden things will be revealed. On that day God Almighty shall ask each of us: What have you done? Cain, Cain, where is your brother?

I say to the friends and loved ones of the Priest Fadi what Christ the Lord said to His loved ones: "Do not fear the one who kills the body, but rather fear the One who can place you in the hell of fire. That is, God." To the murderous criminals, I say: We will not take revenge. We have left that to God, the God who rules heaven and earth and who repays each of us according to his deeds. The one who kills the body, what can he do after that? Is he able to kill the soul? Of course not. Is he able to kill faith? Of course not. Is he able to kill dignity? Of course not. Then what is he able to do? I say to you, what is he able to do? He dies in his rage. He dies in his hatred, in the mire of sin which chokes him and puts an end to him. Every person without hope has a fate like that of Judas Iscariot, who went and hanged himself because he despaired of God's mercy, while we the faithful live according to the hope of resurrection and eternal life. You, my dear Priest Fadi are transported according to the hope of resurrection and eternal life. We do not obtain our life from ourselves or from the world. Rather, we obtain our life from God, "from whom is every good gift and every perfect gift," according to the Apostle Paul.

But you, O Priest Fadi, have honor, because you accomplished what you were trying to do, saving the life of one of your flock which God entrusted you with, one of the children of your flock which the Holy Spirit (through the laying on of the bishop's hands) gave to you to redeem with your blood (as you did), just as your Teacher, the Great Redeemer [al-Fadi al-Akbar] redeemed them and you, O Fadi Redeemer [ayyuha al-Fadi], go to rest with Him in the Bosom of Abraham among the just and righteous.

To my beloved, the family and flock of Father Fadi, the parish of Prophet Elias who went up to heaven alive, I say that the Priest Fadi did not die, but rather went up alive to heaven with the Prophet Elias. The Priest Fadi did not die, because he was transported from death to life. The Priest Fadi did not die. He is alive with us forever.

I say to you what the righteous Prophet Job repeated when he was struck with disaster: "The Lord gives and the Lord takes away. Blessed be the name of the Lord."

May God pardon the perpetrators. God's mercy be upon you, Father Fadi.

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