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The Syrian

And Other Short Stories


Beirut: 1983. The Archbishop of Tyre, Joseph Khouri, has just been kidnapped; his driver, shot and left for dead. Most lines of communications in war-torn Lebanon are down. Still, news of the murder and abduction reaches the Vatican in less than two hours. The ransom demanded is sizeable; the time limit, three days.


In Rome, a young American priest is enlisted to help save Joseph Khouri’s life. To this end, it is Father Charles Murr’s task to solicit and gain the invaluable support of the notorious “Archbishop of Jerusalem in Exile:” His Excellency, Hilarion George Capucci.

The question is: can two so dissimilar men – one, a young and naïve American idealist, the other, a mature and skeptical Syrian realist – set aside their differences long enough to help save the life of a third?


THE SYRIAN recounts the very unusual tale of a cordial relationship between two such subjects – Archbishop Hilarion Capucci and Father Charles “Père Charlot” Murr – and the adventure that left them true friends for life.

This story is one of altruism, personal fortitude and – though it might sound strange to some – of Christian heroism by one of the most misunderstood and underestimated men of our times.

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