ASIA/SYRIA - Patriarchs and Christian leaders in the Middle East: together with the Pope, in prayer for peace

Beirut - The Christian leaders of the Eastern Churches welcome and re-launch the appeal for peace in Syria, launched by Pope Francis in yesterday's Angelus, September 1. As several Christian leaders in the Middle East report to Fides, the appeal "finds way into everyone’s hearts at all levels. The Christian communities in Syria, the Middle East and in the diaspora are happy and ready to join in fasting and prayer".
Yesterday, the Maronite Patriarch in Beirut, Cardinal Bechara Rai, visited the Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch, Youhanna Yazigi, and the two leaders said they were "deeply comforted by the Pope’s appeal", pledging to raise awareness in their communities for common prayer.
In a joint statement sent after the meeting and sent to Fides, the two leaders ask "all foreign countries in the region or further afield, to make every effort to resolving the conflict through peaceful, diplomatic and peaceful means". Judging "unacceptable that someone destroys the life of Syrians," the two leaders said they were "opposed to any foreign armed intervention in Syria", and confirm that war "brings nothing but destruction and ruin". "We always want to speak the language of dialogue and peace", says the note sent to Fides. "We Christians in the Arab world – they recall – contributed to building our culture and our societies, a civilization of coexistence and moderation". Christians, the text concludes, "will never be an instrument of war and arms trafficking", but confirm their commitment to "building a society based on respect, love, cooperation with others".