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Pope Francis

Nicolás Maduro meets with the pope in surprise visit to Rome

October 24, 2016. Pope Francis met with Venezuelan president, Nicolás Maduro. The private visit took place in the midst of the "worrysome political, social, and economic situation the country is going through, which is having serious repercussins in the daily life of the people,” according to a statement from the Vatican.

Holy See and Vietnam begin their 6th bilateral meeting today

October 24, 2016. The sixth meeting between the Holy See and a delegation of Vietnam begins today to improve relations between the two states. The Vatican delegation is headed by Antoine Camilleri, while the head of the Vietnamese delegation is Bui Thanh Son, with Foreign Affairs. The last meeting between the two state delegations was in September 2014.
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:

Orthodox leader asks Pope to help find kidnapped bishops in Syria


With this greeting, Pope Francis embraced all persecuted Christians in the Middle East. During the meeting with Christian bishops organized by the Focolare movements, the metropolitan of the Syriac-Orthodox Church of Antioch made a special request to the Pope. 

"For the release of our kidnapped brother bishops.”

Metropolitan, Syriac-Orthodox Church of Antioch
"I appealed him to intervene and then His Holiness came to me and held my hand and told me that "I am deeply united with you and I pray for these two bishops and I will do my best for their release and for the suffering people in the Middle East”. So that was something very profound and this came out of his heart.”

He asked that the Pope could intercede during his visit to Turkey for the two Orthodox bishops kidnapped in Syria 18 months ago:  Mar Gregorios Yohanna Ibrahim, a Syrian Orthodox, and Boulos al-Yazigi, who is Greek Orthodox. 

Metropolitan, Syriac-Orthodox Church of Antioch
"Unfortunately, we don't know anything about where they are. They were kidnapped from the Turkish border in Syria. But unfortunately... One of these bishops, especially Bishop Gregorios was very much active in the ecumenical movement and the social activities.”

The Syriac-Orthodox Church is a first-hand witness to the suffering of Christians in the Middle East. Metropolitan Theophilos asked that Western countries mobilize to help refugees. He also strongly denounced those who assist the Islamic State. 

Metropolitan, Syriac-Orthodox Church of Antioch
"ISIS is not a sudden event. Its preparation has been done a long time. I don't want to name the people who are engaged in that but they are backed by many people around there. So it is our task. All kind of fundamentalism and this kind of extremism, that should be abhorred and even not only for the Christians, even for the Muslims is a threat.”

The solution, he said, while not violent, should allow for Christians and Muslims to live together in peace in the Middle East, as they have done for centuries.