CWN - Six bishops of the Syrian Orthodox Church have accused their Patriarch Ignatius Ephem II of “betrayal of the faith,” after the Patriarch made a gesture of respect for the Qu’ran and referred to “the prophet Mohammed.”

During a meeting with Muslim leaders, the Syrian Patriarch raised the Qu’ran in an indication of reverence. That gesture outraged some Syrian prelates, whose protests were acknowledged by the Patriarch as a “serious internal problem” for his Orthodox community.

The Patriarch defended his expressions of respect for Islam. “Christ loves everyone, and calls us to be peacemakers with everyone,” he explained.