The World Council of Churches (WCC) is calling on the council's 345 member churches and churches around the world to remember, pray and act for Syria at Christmas.
The WCC General Secretary is asking them to continue to pray for the safe return of the twelve abducted nuns from the Monastery of St Thecla in the historical town of Maaloula on 2 December 2013.
Equally, churches are urged to remember the two Archbishops of Aleppo in Syria, Mar Yohanna Gregorios Ibrahim from the Syriac Orthodox Church and Archbishop Paul Yazigi from the Greek Orthodox Church of Antioch, who were kidnapped in April 2013 near Aleppo, Syria on their way back from a humanitarian mission.
“As the Christmas season is upon us, it is important to remember in our prayers and thoughts that the 12 nuns and Archbishop Ibrahim and Archbishop Yazigi remain missing,” the Rev Dr Olav Fykse Tveit said on Friday 20 December.
“The nuns and both archbishops are deeply missed by their church communities and families,” Dr Tveit added.
“The pain of this separation has added to the ongoing suffering inflected upon all people of Syria because of the conflict. It is very sad and tragic that thousands of Syrian peoples have disappeared in prisons,” he said.
The WCC has called on all actors in the Syrian conflict to spare all civilians including religious people and not take them as human shields.
The world churches body is also asking the international community to stand in solidarity with all victims of kidnappings and forced disappearances and to mobilise all their efforts in order to release them and prevent such events from taking place again.
“We continue to pray that God will bring peace to Syria and an end to the suffering of millions of people throughout Syria who have lost their beloved ones, who have been disabled and injured, who have been internally displaced or have become refugees, who have lost their homes, their properties and their places of worship,” Dr Tveit declared.