Bari will receive the pope and 19 Christian leaders to pray for peace in the Middle East

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Just as the pope organized a prayer vigil for Syria in 2013, and a day of fasting in February 2018, on Saturday the pope will pray for peace in the Middle East. He will meet with Catholic patriarchs of Eastern Churches and representatives of Orthodox Churches.

The meeting will be in Bari, and in attendance will be the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople and the responsible for external relations of the Moscow Patriarchate.

Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, who is organizing the visit, and Cardinal Kurt Koch, who is in contact with the Orthodox Churches, presented the upcoming visit at the Vatican. 

Prefect, Congregation for the Oriental Churches
'We hope that those responsible for the world situation, and especially those in these regions, will listen to this prayer and it may indirectly touch their consciences, so they do not follow force or violence, but look for a political solution.'

President, Dicastery for the Unity of Christians
'The Catholic Church wants all Eastern Churches and all Orthodox Churches to be present, because they are all concerned about the situation of Christians in Syria and the Middle East.'

In addition to the pope, leaders and representatives of 19 churches will attend. First they will pray together for peace, and then they will meet behind closed doors to exchange views on the situation in the Middle East.

Although all the region's inhabitants pay the consequences of the violence, it has provoked an authentic exodus for Christians. One hundred years ago they were 20 percent of the population and now they are only four percent. Among them there are Catholics, Orthodox, Armenians and Lutherans.

President, Dicastery for the Unity of Christians
'The Middle East is the homeland of Christianity and one of the most difficult regions to be a Christian. Because of wars and persecutions, many families left their homeland in search of security and a better future.'

Prefect, Congregation for the Oriental Churches
'We wanted to emphasize Christian solidarity, in defense of Christians and of all the inhabitants of the Middle East. We want peace and respect for the human dignity of all people, Christians and non-Christians.'

Pope Francis and the organizers have asked Catholics all over the world to pray for positive outcomes of the encounter in Bari. As the pope always does, the leaders will ask for peace for each and every one of the inhabitants of the Middle East, regardless of their religion.

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