A conference was held in Beirut last week on "The Eastern Catholic Churches and the Second Vatican Council" promoted by St. Joseph Catholic University with the participation of Maronite Patriarch Béchara Rai. In the introductory session, Andrea Riccardi gave a report on the relationship between Eastern Catholics and "the other".
The visit to the Lebanese capital provided the opportunity for a meeting with the newly elected patriarch of the Syrian Orthodox Church. Andrea Riccardi, accompanied by Mark Gnavi, was received in audience by Mar Ignatius Aphrem II, the successor of Patriarch Zakka I Iwas, who died recently.
During the meeting they discussed at length about bishop Mar Gregorios Ibrahim, who was kidnapped more than one year ago in Syria, for whose release the Community of Sant'Egidio continues to pray every day. Patriarch Mar Ignatius is particularly related to him, having been close to him for a long time when he was a deacon. They also addressed several issues related to ecumenical and interreligious dialogue in the perspective of the next Meeting of Prayer for Peace between religions "Peace is the future", which will be held in Antwerp in September.