Assad Welcomes New Patriarch of Antioch

Assad_John X YazigiSyrian President Bashar Assad, trying to crush rebels and accused of ordering operations that led to the mass murder of thousands of civilians, including children, had a cordial meeting with new Greek Orthodox Patriarch John X. Yazigi, who replaced Ignatius Hazim as the Eastern Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch and All the East.

The meeting between the two leaders was held one day after the Patriarch’s enthronement. Patriarch Yazigi during the ceremony of his enthronement gave a speech urging peace across the country. “Assad congratulated the Patriarch for the key role played by the Orthodox Church in maintaining national unity, in the face of the attacks suffered by Syria,” said state news agency SANA.

The Patriarch reportedly said nothing about the slaughter of Assad’s opponents and the President, in return, thanked him for his support and for his “message of peace and love” while killings are still going on.

According to the Daily Star, the {atriarch voiced hope that “Syria, the government and the people, will find the gate of salvation through dialogue and a peaceful political solution to avert violence and re-establish the stability and peace Syria has always known.” Assad, however, has rejected talking to the rebels.