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Pope to Greek Melkite Synod: “€˜My Closeness in Constant Prayer”€™

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Pope to Greek Melkite Synod: “€˜My Closeness in Constant Prayer”€™

“€œI assure you of my constant closeness in prayer: that the Risen Lord will be near you and accompany you in the mission entrusted to you,”€ Pope Francis said February 12, 2018, when meeting at the Vatican with members of the Greek Melkite Synod gathered in Rome.

The Holy Father explained that his prayer “€œcannot be dissociated from that for the beloved Syria and for all the Middle East, a region in which your Church is deeply rooted and performs a precious service for the good of the People of God.”€

He continued by pointing out that the Melkite presence “€œis not limited to the Middle East, but has extended, for many years now, to those countries where many Greek-Melkite faithful have moved in search of a better life. My prayer and my affectionate remembrance goes also to those faithful in the diaspora and to their Pastors.”€

Calling the current times a “€œdifficult historical period,”€ Francis noted that Christians in the Middle East must “€œlive their faith in the Lord Jesus in the midst of many hardships.”€ He cited the “€œtestimony of life”€ given by Greek-Melkite bishops and priests, who “€œcan encourage the faithful to remain in the land where Divine Providence wished them to be born.”€

Recalling the words of his June 22, 2017, letter granting “€œEcclesiastica Communio”€ to His Beatitude Youssef Absi, newly elected to head the Greek Melkites, Pope Frances said, “€œpastors are called upon to manifest communion, unity, closeness, solidarity, and transparency before the suffering People of God”€.  The Holy Father also reminded those present of the February 23, 2018, day of prayer and fasting for peace he recently announced.

“€œOn that occasion, I will not fail to make special mention of Syria, afflicted in recent years by unspeakable suffering,”€ he promised.

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