On these pages, I have written about imprisoned and murdered Christian believers in other nations. It is fitting that, as we are in the midst of the six-week period of annual prayer for the persecuted Church, which culminates on November 11th, 2012, with the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church, that we remember a recent martyr. During this time of prayer for the persecuted Church, more than 100,000 churches in more than 115 nations will pray on behalf of our persecuted Christian brothers and sisters around the world. In recent days, I have learned about the martyrdom of Father Fadi Jamil Haddad, an Orthodox priest, who was tortured and murdered by terrorists in Damascus, Syria, on October 19th.
The son of deeply devout Christian believers, Father Fadi was born in the city of Qatana, Syria, on February 2, 1969. He studied theology in Damascus and Lebanon, and was ordained to the priesthood in 1995 by His Beatitude Patriarch Ignatius IV Hazim. At the time of his martyrdom, he served as the pastor of the Greek Orthodox Church of St. Elijah in Qatana, Syria.
Press reports stated that Father Fadi was seeking the release of a physician, a parish member, who had been kidnapped several days earlier. During the negotiations, Father Fadi was kidnapped, along with another intermediary. The kidnappers demanded a ransom of more than $700,000, but as none was paid, Father Fadi was shot in the head and his body was dumped along the side of a highway. The Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch called Father Fadi, “a martyr of reconciliation and harmony,” and further stated, “We ask God that Father Fadi Haddad’s martyrdom is a sacrifice offered for the children of [Syria] and for a truce in the painful events we are experiencing in this period.” Father Fadi’s funeral was attended by thousands of Christian believers. Attempting to add insult to his martyrdom, terrorists set off a bomb at his funeral, which killed a number of civilians and Syrian soldiers.
In the Sermon on the Mount, our Lord Jesus Christ reminds us that peacemakers are blessed. May the Lord make the blessed memory of Father Fadi Jamil Haddad to be Eternal.