Pope Francis welcomes Greek Melkite pilgrims

2013-11-30 Vatican Radio

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Saturday received a group of Greek Melkite Catholic pilgrims who are here in Rome.

The Pope told the pilgrims that his thoughts are with the suffering in Syria, and that his prayers are with those who have lost their lives and their loved ones.

“We firmly believe in the strength of prayer and reconciliation”, he said, “and we renew our heartfelt appeal to those responsible” to bring an end to the violence. “Through dialogue let them find just and lasting solutions to a conflict that has already wrought too much destruction.”

Noting the many Middle Eastern Christians, who have become dispersed throughout the world, Pope Francis encouraged those present at Saturday’s audience to “hold fast to the human and spiritual roots of the Melkite tradition,” because “the entire Church needs the heritage of the Christian East”.

“At the same time,” he said, “you are visible signs for our Eastern brothers and sisters of the desired communion with the successor of Peter.”
On this Feast of Saint Andrew, Apostle and brother of Saint Peter, the Pope said his thoughts are also with Bartholomew, Patriarch of Constantinople, and the whole Orthodox Church.

Listen to Ann Schneible's report: