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Bishops to Flock to Vatican for Middle East Synod

Some 255 Bishops and relative key players in promoting interreligious dialogue in the Middle East will attend the Synod.Figures such as David Rosen of the American Jewish Committee and the Custodian of the Holy Land, Franciscan Priest Pierbattista Pizzaballa will also be in attendance. The fourteen day-event in Rome will serve as an opportunity to analyze the challenges Christians living in the seventeen countries that constitute the Middle East face today. The Secretary General of the Synod of Bishops Archbishop Nikola Eterovic presents the upcoming event:Mons. Nikola EterovicSecretary General of the Synod of Bishops “|The Special Assembly for the Middle East is the result, not only of the requests from several Bishops of various regions but also from the various Apostolic trips Pope Benedict XVI has made to Turkey, the Holy Land, Jordan, Israel, Palastine and Cyprus in 2010.”|Christians are a minorty in the Middle East. Out of the 356 million people that live in those countries, only five point seven million of them are Catholics. In other words, about six percent of the total population. In some countries like Iraq, Yemen and Saudi Arabia, where Islam is the official language, freedom of religion is limited. Currently, many Catholics are leaving their homeland in search of a place where they can practice their religion without living in fear. Mons. Nikola EterovicSecretary General of the Synod of Bishops “It will also be an invitation to the international community, and more importantly to the countries that can and want to dedicate themselves, so that the people of these regions can finally move towards a path that brings them to peace and justice and mutual respect for the law and rights responsibilities of others”.It?s called – The Catholic Church in the Middle East: Communion and Witness. Surprisingly – for the first time in the history of the Catholic Church, Arabic will be one of the official languages of the upcoming Synod. BRTranslated by SC