Vatican City, Jun 19, 2008 / 10:04 am (CNA).- Members of the Aid Agency for the Oriental Churches were received in an audience by Pope Benedict this morning at the Vatican. At the audience, the Holy Father stressed the vital role of the Eastern Churches in working for peace and expressed his desire to visit the Holy Land.
Speaking to the group in Italian, English, German and French, the Pope said that the "everyday life and the special mission" of the Eastern Churches, "especially at the ecumenical and the inter-religious level, must be supported by the entire Catholic Church."
The Pope first spoke of the aid agency’s concern for religious communities in Armenia and Georgia "which were among the first to receive the light of Christ." These churches, he said, are able "by living humbly and fraternally with other Christian Churches, and by generously serving the poor … express in a very practical manner the communion of love proper to the universal Catholic Church."
Nonetheless, Pope Benedict said that he still worries about the difficult situation of Christians in Iraq, recalling the figure of Archbishop Paulos Faraj Rahho of Mosul of the Chaldeans, who died in tragic circumstances after being kidnapped on February 29 this year... (Continued here)