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Rome Reports

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Pope remembers Assyrian Christian victims of persecution

The Catholic Church continues to work toward dialogue with other churches, as it welcomed the Assyrian Church of the East at the Vatican. Their relationship began with the historic signing of the Common Christological Declaration in Rome in 1994, after both Churches confessed the same faith in the mystery of the Incarnation.

His Beatitude Mar Meelis Zaia AM, Metropolitan of Australia, New Zealand and Lebanon gave thanks for the moment.

Metropolitan of Australia, New Zealand and Lebanon

“We give thanks, therefore, to the Triune God, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, who has brought us together in Christ and has strengthened us, our dialogue and our fraternal bonds.”

Pope Francis spoke about one aspect of the new Joint Declaration referring to the cross as “an explicit symbol of unity among all sacramental celebrations.”

“The Assyrian Church of the East, along with other Churches and many of our brothers and sisters in the region, is afflicted by persecution, and is a witness to brutal acts of violence perpetrated in the name of fundamentalist extremism. In the Syriac tradition, Christ on the cross is represented as the Good Physician and Medicine of life. I pray that he will completely heal our wounds of the past as well as the many wounds that continue to be caused by the havoc of violence and war.”

In addition to remembering the suffering they are experiencing, the pope also grieved the recent 7.3 magnitude earthquake on the border between Iran and Iraq, the homeland of their Church, and the affected members throughout Syria, Lebanon and India.