Pope Francis meets Eastern Catholic Patriarchs to discuss challenging regional issues

VATICAN — During the XVI General Assembly of the Synod of Archbishops, Pope Francis held a meeting with Eastern Catholic Patriarchs at the Vatican. The delegation of Patriarchs presented topics related to the Eastern Catholic Patriarchate’s relationship with the Roman See, along with discussions about pressing issues in the Middle East.

The delegation of Patriarchs included notable figures such as Syriac Maronite Patriarch and Roman Catholic Cardinal Mor Béchara Boutros al-Raï, Syriac Catholic Patriarch Youssef III Younan, Syriac Melkite Catholic Patriarch Youssef El Absi, Armenian Catholic Patriarch Raphael Bedros XXI Minassian, and Chaldean Patriarch Mor Louis Raphael Sako.

The meeting served as an opportunity for the Patriarchs to convey several pressing issues and concerns to Pope Francis. They presented a document outlining the Eastern Catholic Patriarchate’s relationship with the Roman See and discussed challenges faced by their Churches. This included alarming situations in the Holy Land and Armenia and the repercussions that these situations could have on the broader Middle East.

Furthermore, the Patriarchs explored the complex situations in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Egypt, and Jordan, underscoring the importance of maintaining a Christian presence in these regions.

Pope Francis expressed his commitment to addressing these issues with relevant Vatican authorities, ensuring that the challenges are duly recognized and acted upon. Additionally, he welcomed the Patriarchs’ proposal to hold similar annual meetings in the future.

The meeting concluded with Pope Francis expressing his gratitude for the exchange of ideas and his delight at hosting the Patriarchs. In response, the Patriarchs extended their thanks and offered prayers for his continued good health, asking for divine blessings on his service to the Universal Church.