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Pope Says Christians ‘being Driven From Mideast’

Pope Francis said Christians are being “driven from the Middle East,” in a message to Iraqi Christians forced to flee by Islamic State group jihadists.

“It would seem that they (the extremists) do not want there to be any Christians, but you bear witness to Christ,” he said in a video address timed to coincide with a visit Saturday by French Cardinal Philippe Barbarin to the Iraqi Kurdish city of Erbil.
“I think of the wounds, of the pain of women with their children, the elderly and the displaced, the wounds of those who are victims of every type of violence,” Francis said according to a transcript.

Grand Imam of Al-Azhar and Coptic Pope Tawadros II inaugurated the International Conference for Countering Extremism and Terrorism

The Grand Imam of Al-Azhar Ahmad Al-Tayeb and Coptic Pope Tawadros II inaugurated the international conference for countering extremism and terrorism in Cairo Wednesday.

The conference was opened in the presence of an international array of religious scholars.

It comes as part of government-led efforts to counter the emergence of the Islamic State in Iraq and Al-Sham (ISIS). Egypt has joined the international coalition to fight the ISIS existence in Iraq and Syria.

Joint Declaration of His Holiness Pope Francis and His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew

We, Pope Francis and Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I, express our profound gratitude to God for the gift of this new encounter enabling us, in the presence of the members of the Holy Synod, the clergy and the faithful of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, to celebrate together the feast of Saint Andrew, the first–called and brother of the Apostle Peter.

Our remembrance of the Apostles, who proclaimed the good news of the Gospel to the world through their preaching and their witness of martyrdom, strengthens in us the aspiration to continue to walk together in order to overcome, in love and in truth, the obstacles that divide us.

Thronal Feast of the Ecumenical Patriarchate

Thronal Feast of the Ecumenical Patriarchate
Thronal Feast of the Ecumenical Patriarchate
Thronal Feast of the Ecumenical Patriarchate
Thronal Feast of the Ecumenical Patriarchate

On Sunday, November 30, 2014, the Ecumenical Patriarchate celebrated its Thronal Feast on the occasion of the Feast of St. Andrew, First-Called of the Apostles, at the Patriarchal Church of St. George.

Typically each year, over the last fifty years, formal visitations take place with the Church of Rome and delegations from each Church are sent by their Primates to attend the patronal feast of the other.

Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew Pays Historic Visit to Roman Catholic Cathedral of the Holy Spirit in Istanbul

 On Saturday afternoon, November 29, 2014, His All-Holiness attended the Papal Mass at the Roman Catholic Cathedral of the Holy Spirit in Istanbul. 

Patriarch Bartholomew was received by Pope Francis at the entrance and the two leaders jointly processed into the Cathedral of the Holy Spirit, where the Pope celebrated Mass for the Roman Catholic community of Istanbul. During the service, Pope Francis and Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew  exchanged the kiss of peace and offer a common blessing to the congregation.

Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew welcomes Pope Francis

Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew welcomes Pope Francis
Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew welcomes Pope Francis
Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew welcomes Pope Francis
Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew welcomes Pope Francis

 His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, spiritual leader of over 300 million Orthodox faithful worldwide, welcomed His Holiness Pope Francis at Atatürk International Airport in Istanbul.  

"Your Holiness, beloved brother in Christ, we welcome you with great joy, esteem and love. Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord," said Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew on greeting the Pope.