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Pope Francis

Pope to award 2016 Ratzinger Prize to Inos Biffi and Ioannis Kourempeles

October 20, 2016. The winners of this year's Ratzinger Prize will be Inos Biffi and Ioannis Kourempeles. The former, an Italian priest, is an expert in Systematic Theology and History of Medieval Theology. The latter is Greek and an Orthodox. He is an expert in History of Dogmas and Dogmatic Theology. He will be the first Orthodox to be awarded the prize given by the Joseph Ratzinger Foundation, considered by many the Nobel Prize of Theology.
Pope Francis

Pope Francis sends his condolences to Thais after the death of King Bhumibol Adulyadej

October 14, 2016. Pope Francis has sent a message to the Prime Minister of Thailand to express his condolences for the death of King Bhumibol Adulyadej. He was 88 years old, and his reign spanned seven decades. Pope Francis said he is "deeply saddened” and he expresses his closeness to the members of the royal family and the Thai people.
Pope Francis

Pope sends 100,000 dollars for Hurricane Matthew victims

October 14, 2016. Through the Pontifical Council "Cor Unum", Pope Francis will send $100,000 to the victims of Hurricane Matthew in Haiti. The money will fund relief efforts in the first stages of recovery after the devastating effects of the hurricane. With this gesture, the pope wants to express his "closeness of spirit and fatherly support” to everyone in the affected area.
Pope Francis

Pope authorizes new decrees of heroic virtues for four potential saints

October 11, 2016. Pope Francis authorized the Congregation for the Causes of Saints to promulgate the decree of heroic virtues to four people, who are being investigated by the Church for possible sainthood. The decrees were given to the following "Servants of God:”
Pope Francis

Pope Francis rejects death penalty on Twitter: #NoDeathPenalty

October 10, 2016. The Pope has has given his support via Twitter to the World Day Against the Death Penalty. The following message can be read in each of his nine accounts, in their respective languages: "Punishment should necessarily include hope! #NoDeathPenalty.”
Pope Francis

Pope Francis announces Synod about youth and vocation

October 6, 2016. It will be held in 2018 under the name "Youth, faith, and vocational discernment.” Preparations for the second Synod of bishops convened by Pope Francis are well underway.

Theme chosen for 2017 World Communications Day

September 29, 2016. The theme for the 2017 World Communications Day has officially been announced. Coming from the book of Isiah, the theme is: "Fear not, for I am with you: communicating hope and trust in our time.”
Pope Francis

Pope will not be able to travel to Israel on Friday to attend the funeral of Shimon Peres

September 28, 2016. Despite the rumors that Pope Francis will travel to Israel to attend Shimon Peres funeral, the Vatican has issued a statement officially announcing a confirmation for the pope's scheduled visit to Georgia and Azerbaijan will remain as planned on Friday. The pope spoke warmly about the former leader and sent out a telegram of condolences:
Pope Francis

Pope's schedule during his trip to Sweden

September 27, 2016. Pope Francis will travel to Sweden next October 31 and November 1, for the occasion of the Lutheran–Catholic Common Commemoration of the Reformation.This will be the 17th trip of his pontificate.

Third priest found dead in Mexico

September 26, 2016.Mexican priest, Alfredo Lopez Guillen, was found dead this weekend on a rural road about 350 km east of Mexico City, after being allegedly abducted and assaulted in his parish on Monday September 19. This is the third case of violence against priests in Mexico in just one week. On Monday, September 19, Fr. Nabor Jiménez and Fr. José Alfredo Juarez were also kidnapped in the church of Our Lady of Fatima. Hours later they found them lifeless in a ditch in Poza Rica, Veracruz. The Catholic Church wants clarification on the murders, because it is not yet known who could be the alleged perpetrators.

Pope Francis meets with Patriarch John X of Antioch, brother of kidnapped bishop


It was a historic meeting between Pope Francis, the leader of the Catholic Church, and Patriarch John X, the leader of the Orthodox Church of Antioch, one of the oldest Christian communities in the Middle East.

-"I hope that you feel at home.” 
-"Thank you very much.” 

The two leaders exchanged pleasantries before sitting down to speak on a number of serious topics. With the help of an interpreter, Pope Francis and Patriarch John X discussed their desire for Christian unity and the progress of ecumenical dialogue. 

The Church of Antioch is based in the Syrian capital, so both leaders also spoke about the ongoing civil war. It's very personal issue for Patriarch John X, since gunmen kidnapped his brother, Boulos Yazigi, Metropolitan of Aleppo, in April, along with another bishop. They still have no information on their whereabouts or even if they're alive. 

"The dean of the St. John of Damascus Institute of Theology.” 

After their meeting, the Syrian patriarch introduced a few Church leaders that traveled with him. After posing for pictures, they exchanged gifts. Pope Francis gave him a large papal medallion. Meanwhile, Patriarch John X brought along several meaningful gifts, including a Byzantine icon of two very important figures. 

"St. Peter and Paul you know, the founders of our Faith; St. Peter, the founder of your Church.” 

Both the Catholic Church and the Church of Antioch trace their roots to Apostles Peter and Paul. In the back of the icon, the Patriarch of Antioch wrote a personalized message that Pope Francis knows all too well. 

"Keep us in your prayers.” 

In addition to the icon, the Patriarch also gave the Pope a book about monasteries in the Middle East, as well as videos from several of his visits to the area. 

But perhaps the most lasting image of their historic meeting will be this one. As the two leaders pray for each other, before bidding farewell.