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الرئيسية / English / Report on the Participation of the Eastern Patriarchs in the Plenary Assembly for the Oriental Catholic Churches in Rome, and their Meeting with the Holy Father Francis

Report on the Participation of the Eastern Patriarchs in the Plenary Assembly for the Oriental Catholic Churches in Rome, and their Meeting with the Holy Father Francis

The Chaldean Patriarchate Media: The Plenary Assembly of the Congregation for the Oriental Catholic Churches took place in Rome for the period from 19-22 November at the Vatican. It was attended by the Patriarchs of the seven Eastern Churches and Major Archbishops of the Malabar, Malankara, Ukrainian and Romanian churches, as well as the relevant Cardinals .

Participants addressed ways to support Eastern Christians and encourage them to remain in their own countries to continue to give witness to Christianity and contribute in building their countries and promote coexistence with their fellow Muslims. Participants also addressed ways for the Patriarchs to follow their parishioners within the countries of migration to maintain their faith and their rituals and traditions, as the Patriarch is the head and the father of all where ever they were. The Patriarchs and the Archbishops addressed also the subject of their rights and authority over their children outside their country of origin. They said that the situation has changed today, and the world has become a small village. Participants also addressed several important topics that will be presented to the Pope for study and take appropriate decisions.

There was an atmosphere of constructive dialogue, courageous and smooth. Everyone expressed their solidarity with Eastern Christians and their concerns. The Eastern Christians felt much interest from the Western Churches regarding the importance of the existence of the Eastern Christians and their future and their ongoing living with other citizens of their country. The Eastern Church groups across the West had probably helped to deepen that sense of solidarity as well as the situation of Christians in Iraq, Syria, Egypt and Lebanon helped building this sentiment and awareness. The Patriarchs thanked the Congregation for the Oriental Catholic Churches and especially the Congregation Prefect, Cardinal Leonardo Sandri.

On the morning of Thursday, 21 November, at 10:00am, there was a meeting with the Holy Father Francis that took two hours. In the beginning, the Pope welcomed them and thanked them and the Eastern Christians on their steadfastness in their faith and sacrifices and their testimony, and stressed the issue of transparency within the financial matters. After that, the seven Patriarchs delivered a memorandum that dealt with their demands and their relationships, and then time was made available to every Patriarch to speak of his Church (7 minutes) spontaneously with freedom, and they all called for easing the bureaucracy of Vatican’s departments.

Pope Francis and the new Secretary of the Vatican listened carefully to the presentations of the Patriarchs and Major Archbishops and recorded their observations.

On Saturday afternoon, the Patriarchs visited his Holiness Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI at Mater Ecclesiae monastery over the Vatican’s Hill. The talk was friendly, where they asked about his health and his work, and he asked about the countries of the Middle East and the general situation and the situation of Christians.

His Beatitude Patriarch Sako said, “Your Holiness, we came from our hotel walking in a rainy atmosphere as pilgrims to you, so we deserve a special blessing and special prayer for Iraq”. The Pope replied, “I pray every day for Iraq and Syria and the rest of the East”. His Beatitude told Pope Emeritus Benedict, “You are now retired, so there is no fear of visiting Iraq”, and His Holiness replied, “I’ve grown older, and I’m currently a monk dedicated for prayer and rest”.

On the morning of Sunday, 24 November, His Holiness Pope Francis celebrated the Holy Mass closing the Year of Faith, with Patriarchs and Cardinals and dozens of bishops and priests and more than 100,000 believers gathered in St. Peter’s square despite the freezing cold. It is interesting that the Patriarchs sat in the front row and behind them the Cardinals. During the Holy Mass, the Pope exchanged with them the kiss of peace. At the conclusion of the Holy Mass, he came down and shook hands with each of the Patriarchs and Major Archbishops. When he arrived to Patriarch Sako, His Beatitude smiled and said to him, “Isn’t it time to visit Iraq?” The Pope laughed and promised to visit.

The Archbishops present in Rome who participated in celebrating this Holy Mass: Ramzi Karmo, Antwan Udo, and Bawai Soro.

عن Yousif

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