HAVANA - Pope Francis and Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill on Friday called on the international community to protect Christians under assault in the Middle East in apparent reference to violence by the militant group Islamic State.
"In many countries of the Middle East and North Africa whole families, villages and cities of our brothers and sisters in Christ are being completely exterminated," they said a joint declaration following the first-ever meeting between a Roman Catholic pope and a Russian Orthodox patriarch.
"Their churches are being barbarously ravaged and looted, their sacred objects profaned, their monuments destroyed."
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