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Middle East Synod participants named; Muslim and Jewish leaders will speak

Catholic World News - October 05, 2010

Pope Benedict XVI has completed a list of more than 200 bishops, 36 experts and 34 auditors who will participate in the Synod of Bishops on the Middle East, which opens in Rome next week.

The Roman news agency I Media has reported that the Pope has also issued invitations to two Muslim officials and an American Jewish leader to address the Synod. The names of these individuals were not listed among the appointments formally announced by the Vatican on October 5.

The list of Synod fathers is predictably dominated by prelates from the Middle East. The participants include representatives of the many Eastern Catholic churches located in that region. But also included among those participants will be leaders of several Eastern Catholic churches located in other parts of the world, such as Cardinal Lubomyr Husar, the Major Archbishop of the Ukrainian Catholic Church; and Major Archbishop Baselios Cleemis Thottunkal of India’s Syro-Malankar Church.

The experts and auditors include a number of scholars specializing in the affairs of the Middle East, and priests, religious, and laymen associated with organizations that are active there—including Agostino Borromeo, the governor general of the Equestrian Order of the Knights of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem; Tanios Chahwan, president of the National Council of the Laity in Lebanon; and Marco Impagliazzo, president of the Sant'Egidio Community.

According to the I Media report, Pope Benedict has also asked two Muslims—one from Iran, one from Lebanon—and an American Jewish leader to address the Synod. They are: Seyyed Mostafa Mohaghegh Damad, a law professor at the University of Tehran; Mohammad Sammak, a member of the Lebanese commission for Islamic-Christian dialogue; and David Rosen, the international inter-religious affairs director of the American Jewish Committee.

The Synod will open on October 10 and continue through October 24.

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