The patriarch told the Pope of the Melkite bishops’ concern that widespread poverty, low standards of living, and dangerous conditions have led to a wave of emigration from the region.
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The Middle Eastern country is in the middle of an unprecedented economic crisis, labeled a ‘deliberate depression’ by the World Bank.
Lebanon is the only country in the Arab world with a Christian head of state.
Since the country’s 1979 revolution, Islamic leaders in Iran have described adherents to minority religions such as Christianity and Judaism as ‘pollution.’
“Lebanon is more than a country — it is a message of freedom and an example of pluralism for East and West.” —Pope St. John Paul II
Patriarch Pizzaballa explained that the Mass initiative would take place each year on the “Peace Day for the East.”
Patriarch Pizzaballa spoke of the “unique patrimony” of the city of Jerusalem, and said it was the responsibility of religious and secular authorities to protect the sacred land.
While Holy Land Christians differ regarding which side is more to blame for the latest eruption of violence, they agree the actions of both sides are bringing misery to millions of civilians.
According to a statement from the Turkish president’s office, President Erdogan told Pope Francis “that Palestinians would continue to be subjected to massacre as long as the international community did not punish Israel, which is committing humanitarian crimes with sanctions.”
An interview with Msgr. Gabriel Quicke, author of ‘A Spiritual Discovery of Christians in the Middle East’