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Rome Reports

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Pope meets with all Catholic patriarchs of a Middle East in crisis

The pope's meeting with Catholic patriarchs from the Middle East was very warm and cordial.

Many greetings from Egypt.
Today he celebrates 40 years of being a priest.

As a sign of affection he was handed this plaque with the Our Father and Hail Mary in Aramaic.

It is rare to have all the patriarchs meeting with the pope in the Apostolic Palace, but it regards the survival of Christian minorities in the region. War and persecution have drastically diminished their presence throughout the Middle East.

For example, in Iraq, there were 1.5 million Christians in 2003 and today they are less than 500,000. Gestures such as the Declaration on Universal Fraternity signed between Pope Francis and one of the main spiritual leaders of Islam offer hope for change, but the road to perfection is still a long one.

Javier Romero
Translation: Melissa Butz