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Christian refugees flee ISIS.(Photo by: REUTERS)
Pope Francis calls for solidarity with persecuted Christians in Middle East
“We cannot resign ourselves to imagining a Middle East without Christians, who have professed the name of Jesus there for over two thousand years," Pope Francis said.
 Pope Francis lamented the terrors faced by Christian persecution in Iraq and Syria, on Monday morning, during Public Consistory of the College of Cardinals. He also called on all other Christian communities to stand in solidarity with those being persecuted.

He opened the consistory, held in the New Synod Hall, by remarking that the situation Christians are currently facing in the Middle East has reached an “unimaginable scale.”

“We share a desire for peace and stability in the Middle East, and the will to promote the resolution of conflicts through dialogue, reconciliation and political commitment. At the same time, we would like to give all the help possible to Christian communities to support them in remaining in the region,” Francis said. “We cannot resign ourselves to imagining a Middle East without Christians, who have professed the name of Jesus there for over two thousand years”.

The Cardinals and Patriarchs present in the Synod hall then repeatedly spoke, describing the situations faced by Christians in Iraq, Syria, Egypt, the Holy Land, Jordan and Lebanon. Those present focused on the defense of religious freedoms, the importance of local and international communities, and the necessity of education as a means of fostering dialogue.

“Many of our brothers and sisters are brutally persecuted and driven from their homes. It seems that an awareness of the value of human life has been lost; it as is if people do not count and can be sacrificed to other interests,” Francis said. “And unfortunately all this encounters indifference on the part of many”.

The cardinals went on to discuss methods of encouraging Christians to stay in the region, and continue contributing to the well-being of their respective nations. The Vatican also requested that all humanitarian aid in the Middle East continue, and that all other Christian communities remain in solidarity with Christians in the region during this trying time.

“This unjust situation requires, aside from our constant prayer, an adequate response on the part of the international community," Francis said. "I am sure that, with the Lord's help, today's meeting will produce valid reflections and suggestions to enable us to help our brothers who suffer and also to face the crisis of the reduction of the Christian presence in the land where Christianity was born and from where it spread”.

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