Pope urges Middle Eastern patriarchs to be “guardians” of early Christianity



Reaffirm all its closeness, and its support, to Christians in this region of the world severely affected by wars. In a letter published on Sunday June 27, on the occasion of “Peace Day for the Orient”, Francis called on religious leaders and local faithful to be witnesses, and guardians, of the “First apostolic origins”. It is with joy that I accepted your invitation to join you on this special day, when each of you celebrates with your faithful a divine liturgy to invoke from the Lord the gift of peace in the Middle East and to consecrate it to the Holy Family », Underlines the Pope in the preamble.

From the start of my pontificate, I sought to be close to your sufferings, first making a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, then to Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and finally, a few months ago, to Iraq, and then by inviting the whole Church to pray and to show concrete solidarity with Syria and Lebanon, so affected by war and by social, political and economic instability », He assured the Catholic patriarchs of the Middle East.

“Original citizens”

“The Holy Family of Jesus, Joseph and Mary to which you have chosen to consecrate the Middle East represents your identity and your mission”, he continued. This consecration “Calls on each of you to rediscover, as individuals and as a community, your vocation as Christians in the Middle East, not only by demanding the recognition of your rights as original citizens of these beloved lands , but also by living your mission as guardians and witnesses of the first apostolic origins ”.

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Urging the local patriarchs not to seek to quench their thirst in the “Poisonous sources of hatred”, he also enjoined them to “Live the prophecy of human brotherhood », At the heart of his encyclical Fratelli Tutti, as well as his interreligious meetings, in 2019, in Abu Dhabi (United Arab Emirates), or in March 2021 in the Shiite holy city of Nadjaf, in southern Iraq, during his historic visit to the country.

“Construction of the common good”

“Be truly the salt of your lands, give flavor to social life, eager to contribute to the construction of the common good, according to the principles of the social doctrine of the Church which so badly needs to be known, like the ‘indicates the post-synodal apostolic exhortation Ecclesia in Medio Oriente », Pope Francis underlines again in his letter, before granting his apostolic blessing to the patriarchs, and to the Eastern faithful who have followed this spiritual initiative of the “Day of Peace in the Middle East”.

While the Vatican is due to host, Thursday 1er July, a summit on Lebanon in the presence of the main religious leaders of the country of the Cedars, Francis had another special word, Sunday, June 27, at the end of the prayer of the Angelus, for the Middle Eastern populations. “I invite you to implore God’s mercy for this region. May the Lord support the efforts of all who work for dialogue […] in the Middle East, where the Christian faith was born and lives despite suffering ”, he called Place Saint-Pierre, “To these very dear populations, may God grant strength, perseverance and courage”.

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