A Syrian priest who was kidnapped by Islamic State militants has been released after five months as a captive.
The Christian Post reports that Father Jacques Mourad, a member of the Syriac Catholic Church and the prior of Mar Elian Monastery has been released by the Islamic State and has conducted his first mass since his kidnapping.
It is not yet known why Mourad was released, but Monsignor Mario Zenari, apostolic nuncio in Syria, stated that Mourad will be on his way to Damascus in the next few days to provide details of his kidnapping, captivity, and release.
“Father Jacques Mourad was released on Oct. 10, and yesterday, at about 2 p.m., I spoke with him for the first time since his release,” Zenari said. “He told me he was resting, and in good health.”
Mourad had not been heard from since being kidnapped, but was recognized in an Islamic State video released in late September.
The video showed agreements being made between the Islamic State and Christians. The Christians were forced to sign a contract in order to continue living in their homes in the area, promising not to conspire against the Islamic State, erect crosses, use amplifiers, ring church bells, or conduct ceremonies in public places. In return, the Islamic State said it would not hurt them.
The Mar Elian Monastery, of which Mourad had been prior before his abduction, was destroyed by the Islamic State, and its founder, Jesuit Paolo Dall’Oglio, has been missing since July 2013.
Publication date: October 14, 2015