Two Franciscan Friars Die From COVID-19 in Aleppo

It has been announced Fr Edward Tamer and Fr Firas Hejazin in Aleppo have passed away after contracting coronavirus reports Asia News.

The novel coronavirus has hit Aleppo, Bishop Georges Abou Khazen, apostolic vicar of the Latins, told AsiaNews.

At the height of the pandemic, “We buried 10 victims a day in the Christian community alone,” the prelate he said. Since then, “the death rate seems to have declined and the number is constantly decreasing”.

However, two Franciscan friars have died from COVID-19. “Unfortunately, the two were at the Holy Land college. Fr Edward Tamer (pictured) was 82 but in good condition and Fr Firas Hejazin was 49. What a tragedy!”

The coronavirus has not spared Aleppo, Syria’s main economic centre, but the number of cases and victims remains uncertain because of limited testing and incomplete data provided by the authorities.

What is certain that of four of the five Franciscan Fathers present in the city contracted the virus and two of them have died. Fr Ibrahim Alsabagh, of the Latin parish, is the only one who has been spared.

In a letter to Crux, an online US Catholic paper, he complains of the state of “precariousness and lack of hospitals, medicines, doctors and nurses.”

Despite the lack of accurate data, the proportion of priests affected by the coronavirus can be projected onto the population in order to understand the magnitude of the pandemic.

In his letter, the clergyman describes the work of raising awareness among members of his parish and across the city, from social distancing to wearing masks, to “avoid a larger catastrophe.”

According to some estimates, at the height of the pandemic, the pandemic had hundreds of victims, up to 800 a day.

Bishop Abou Khazen notes that, “the virus circulation was huge, but now things have improved a bit. Regulations, like the obligation to wear a mask, social distancing, and a ban on large gatherings and events, have worked.”

“Today traffic has resumed, schools reopened on Sept.13, 2020, and we are trying to see what the effects may be.”


This article was edited by The Syrian Observer. The Syrian Observer has not verified the content of this story. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.

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