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Pope Francis calls on Catholics to pray for nuns kidnapped in Syria

Pope Francis (CNS)

Pope Francis called on Catholics worldwide to pray for five Orthodox nuns who were kidnapped in Syria and for all people who have been abducted during the conflict there.

“Let’s keep praying and working together for peace,” he said in an appeal at the end of his weekly general audience in St Peter’s Square this morning.

The Pope invited everyone to pray for the nuns who “were forcibly taken away by armed men” on Sunday.

“Let us pray for these sisters and for all people abducted because of the conflict underway,” he said before leading the crowd in praying the Hail Mary in Italian.

The kidnapping of the nuns from a Christian village near Damascus shocked Syria’s Christian community and filled many Christians with fear, said Chaldean Bishop Antoine Audo of Aleppo, Syria.

Speaking to Vatican Radio on Tuesday, Bishop Audo said the latest information was that the superior and four of the nuns belonging to the Orthodox Monastery of Santa Tecla in Maaloula were kidnapped during Sunday night and taken to Yabrud, a city nearby.

Maaloula is about 35 miles north of Damascus, the capital of Syria.