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Eastern patriarchs meet in Damascus

The Eastern patriarchs met in Damascus on June 8 to discuss the Christians’ situation in the region, following coordinating efforts between Lebanese Maronite Patriarch Bechara al-Rai and the Vatican, and Greek Orthodox Patriarch John X Yazigi and Moscow.
Patriarch John X Yazigi, Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch and All the East, delivers a speech at a ceremony to pray for peace in a country plagued by two and a half years of war, during a Christmas mass at al-Maryamyeh church in Damascus December 25, 2013, in this handout photograph released by Syria's national news agency SANA. REUTERS/SANA/Handout via Reuters (SYRIA - Tags: POLITICS RELIGION ANNIVERSARY) ATTENTION EDITORS – THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE
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BEIRUT — Lebanon has been witnessing activities by the Catholic and Orthodox churches. As the papal envoy to Lebanon, Cardinal Dominique Mamberti, was meeting with Lebanese officials and politicians during his visit to Beirut on May 29, preparations were ongoing for the annual meeting of Eastern patriarchs in Damascus on June 8, at the invitation of the Greek Orthodox Patriarch John X Yazigi.

There doesn’t seem to be any direct link between the two events, but the same issues were discussed at both. The meeting of the Eastern patriarchs was held at the seat of the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate in the Christian neighborhood of Bab Tuma (Thomas' Gate) in the heart of Damascus. (This neighborhood owes its name to Saint Thomas, one of the 12 apostles, who passed by Damascus.) The agenda of this ecclesial meeting included the situation of Christians in the region, the challenges they face and the future of the Christian minorities in Syria and Lebanon.

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