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Papal message to new Syrian Orthodox patriarch

Catholic World News - April 04, 2014

Pope Francis has written a message to Patriarch Ignatius Aphrem II Karim, the new head of the Syrian Orthodox Church.

“It is my prayer that Your Holiness may be a spiritual father for your people and an untiring builder of peace and justice, serving the common good and the good of the entire Middle East in today’s difficult circumstances,” Pope Francis wrote. “It is important for all Christians to bear witness to the love and fellowship that binds us together, mindful of the prayer offered by our Lord at the Last Supper: that all may be one, so that the world may believe (cf. Jn 17:21).”

“I thank the Almighty for the bonds of fraternity between the Catholic Church and the Syrian Orthodox Church and I hope and pray that our continuing friendship and dialogue may be further developed and deepened,” the Pope added.

The Syrian Orthodox Church is one of the Oriental Orthodox churches that ceased to be in full communion with the Holy See following the Ecumenical Council of Chalcedon in 451.

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