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Pope offers support to Christians of ancient Orthodox churches in Middle East

Catholic World News - January 25, 2013

Pope Benedict XVI met on January 25 with members of a joint commission set up 10 years ago for dialogue with the Oriental Orthodox churches, voicing his hope for progress in ecumenical work and for the welfare of Christians in the Middle East.

The Pope noted that the Oriental Orthodox—the churches that split from Rome after the Council of Chalcedon in 451—are heavily represented in a region “where Christians, as individuals and communities, face painful trials and difficulties which are a source of deep concern to us all.” He offered an expression of solidarity and support for Christians in the Middle East, and a prayer that the “example and intercession of the countless martyrs and saints” would strengthen them.

The Pope also expressed the hope that the joint commission’s theological discussions would help all Christians to “grow in communion and to bear witness before the world to the saving truth of the Gospel."

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