Pope Francis discusses the difficult situation facing Middle East Christian communities

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Members of the Greek Melkite Synod, led by their new Patriarch of Antioch Youssef Absi

Pope Francis discusses the difficult situation facing Middle East Christian communities

vaticannews.va and en.abouna.org

Pope Francis has shed light on the difficult situation facing the Christian communities throughout the Middle East, hoping that Church leaders, through the witness of their own lives, could encourage their people to remain in those lands, despite the many challenges they face.

During an audience on Monday, February 12, with members of the Greek Melkite Synod, led by their new Patriarch of Antioch Youssef Absi, the Pope reviewed the suffering of Christians in the Middle East. He said: " At this particularly difficult time, pastors are called upon to show communion, unity, closeness, transparency and solidarity with their suffering people. He added that on February 23, the day of prayer and fasting for peace, he would be remembering particularly all those affected by the years of suffering in Syria."

Noting that the Greek Melkite bishops have just concluded a meeting of their Synod in Lebanon, Pope Francis stressed that the Church needs pastors who can revive the hearts of the faithful, staying close to them and accompanying them in their search for the Lord.

Pastors, he insisted, must not be attached to money or luxury, but instead should share the poverty of their suffering people. Rather than being contented with things of this world, he said, they should always be journeying and leading others to God.
It is to be noted that Patriarch Absi was elected on June21 to succeed his predecessor Patriarch Gregorios III Laham, who retired at the age of 83. In a letter that had been sent to the new leader the following day, Pope Francis granted ‘Ecclesiastical Communion’, putting his seal of approval on the election.

Mon, 02/12/2018 - 19:41
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