19 February 2018

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06/22/2017 VATICAN

Pope: The Churches of the East are alive, despite persecution and terrorism

Receiving the participants at the "Reunion of Aid Agencies for the Oriental Churches" Assembly, Francis recommends the formation of the clergy. "Let us not forget that in the East even today, Christians - no matter whether Catholics, Orthodox, or Protestants - spill their blood as a seal of their witness."

Vatican City (AsiaNews) - " Let us not forget that in the East even today, Christians - no matter whether Catholics, Orthodox, or Protestants - spill their blood as a seal of their witness" said Pope Francis today receiving participants at the " Reunion of Aid Agencies for the Oriental Churches" (ROACO). He also recalled that the Oriental Churches have suffered "terrible waves of persecution" and are still victims of "fundamentalist terrorism," even though there are signs of the return of so many Christians who have fled.

The Pope recommended that the Oriental Churches continue to devote particular attention to the formation of the clergy and to support "the projects and initiatives that authenticly build the Church."

Francis, based on the Centenary of the Oriental Church Congregation, said that "for decades there have been dramatic events: Eastern Churches have often been invested by terrible waves of persecution and tragedy, both in Eastern Europe and in the Middle East. Strong emigration has weakened its presence in the territories where for centuries it had flourished. Now, thanks to God, some of them have returned to freedom after the painful period of totalitarian regimes, but others, especially in Syria, Iraq and Egypt, see their children suffer because of the continuing war and the senseless violence perpetrated by fundamentalist terrorism ".

"All these events have led us through the experience of the Cross of Jesus: it is the cause of disturbance and suffering, but at the same time it is a source of salvation." "That is why I am glad that you could have reflected, along with some representatives of the Churches, on the important reality of the initial formation of seminarians and the permanent priesthood. We are aware of the choice of radicalism expressed by many of them and the heroism of the testimony of dedication alongside their often-stricken communities. But we are also aware of the temptations we may encounter, such as the search for a social status recognized by the consecrated in some geographic areas, or a way of exercising the role of guide according to human affirmation or according to patterns of culture and the environment " .

"The effort the Congregation and the Agencies have to carry out is to support the projects and initiatives that are truly building up the Church. It is essential to always feed the style of evangelical closeness: in the Bishops, because they live it toward their priests, so that they may feel the caress of the Lord of the faithful entrusted to them. But safeguarding all grace in keeping the disciples of the Lord, starting with the first who learn to be last with the last. The seminarian and the young priest will thus feel the joy of being a collaborator of the salvation offered by the Lord, who is bent down like the Good Samaritan to pour the oil of consolation and the wine of evangelical hope on the wounds of human hearts and stories. "

"Let us always hear living stones close to Christ, who is the cornerstone! The Eastern Churches preserve many venerable memories, churches, monasteries, places of saints: they should be kept and preserved, also thanks to your help, thus encouraging pilgrimage to the roots of the faith. But when it is not possible to repair or maintain the structures, we must continue to be the living temple of the Lord, remembering that the "clay" of our believing existence was shaped by the hands of the "potter", the Lord, who infused into it his vivifying spirit. Let us not forget that in the East even today, Christians - no matter whether Catholics, Orthodox, or Protestants - spill their blood as a seal of their witness. Eastern believers, if forced to emigrate, should be welcomed in the places where they arrive, and can continue to live according to their own ecclesial tradition. In this way your work, dear agents of the Agencies, will be a bridge between the West and the East, both in the countries of origin and in those from which you come."

See also

Patriarch Youhanna of Antioch: The encounter with Pope Francis was warm and historic
Between September 26 and October 1 the pontifex met Greek Orthodox Patriarch: "Together against the crises afflicting the Mashreq countries".

15/06/2015 VATICAN
Pope slams “tacit agreements” whereby oil and weapons weigh more than human lives in the Middle East
"Every kind of assistance must always be reborn from the blessing of the Lord who reaches us when we have the courage to look at the situations and the brothers before us. This way we do not to fall into the trap of efficiency for its own sake or that of mere aid that does not promote people or nations."

Pope urges “every possible form of mediation" for the Middle East and North Africa
Assistance to those fleeing, support to maintain the Christian presence in the region, so they can live as fellow citizens and not as foreigners, recognizing their equal dignity and real freedom.

12/02/2018 14:34:00 VATICAN
Pope: patience, virtue of those who are persecuted, like Christians in the Middle East

Unlike "defeat" and "resignation", Christian patience is the "virtue" of "those on a journey". "And when you go on a journey, many things happen that are not always good. The attitude of parents when a sick or disabled child is born, tells me so much about patience on the journey. 'But thank God he is alive!': These are the patient people".

20/06/2013 VATICAN
Pope calls for "an end to all suffering, to all violence, to all religious, cultural and social discrimination" in Syria and the Middle East
In his plea to the annual ROACO meeting, Francis: "Continue your intelligent and caring work in realizing well-considered and coordinated projects, giving appropriate priority to formation, especially of young people. But never forget that these projects must be a profession of the love of God that constitutes the Christian identity."

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