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September 28 2013

Jouhanna X, the Patriarch of Antioch: “I am grateful to the Pope who prays for peace. Christians should remain in Syria”

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ROMA- His Beatitude Jouhanna X, Greek-Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch and All the East, is in Rome to attend the Inter-religious Meeting for Peace, “The courage to Hope”, organized by the Community of St. Egidio. Yesterday, he presided over the prayer of the Community in the Basilica of Santa Maria in Trastevere and he visited the seat of the Community. He was welcomed by the Community’s founder, prof. Andrea Riccardi, by its President, prof. Marco Impagliazzo, and by the event organizers.”I am pleased – he said – to meet the Community of St. Egidio here, for the first time, and to share with you the encounter with the poor which fulfils Christian faith”. The Patriarch had previously visited the soup-kitchen via Dandolo where he greeted its 800 guests, among whom also some Syrian immigrants. He also greeted some representatives of the immigrants’ movement “Peace People””.

Patriarch Jouhanna X is the brother of the Bishop of Aleppo Paul Yazigi, who was kidnapped on  April 22 in a village at the borders with Turkey, together with his brother Mar Gregorios, Bishop of the Syirian-Orthodox Church of Aleppo. Addressing those who attended the prayer in the Basilica, Jouhanna X expressed the bliss for the encounter with Pope Francis on the same day. His Beatitude said he “asked the Pope to pray for Syria and assured him that all Christians pray for him. I thanked him for having promoted the fasting and prayer day for Syria on September 7, which was attended in communion by all the churches in Syria and Lebanon”.

Jouhanna X then addressed “a poignant appeal for a peaceful solution of the dramatic Syrian crisis, opposing all fighting”. “We neither want – he said- to see ships carrying away Christians from the Middle East, nor ships carrying arms to continue the was in these regions. Syria must continue to be a land of co-existence between Christians and Muslims, as it has always been”

Rome, 28 September 2013

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