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The path of peace in the Middle East

· The Pope celebrates Mass with the Patriarch of Alexandria for the Copts ·

On Monday, 9 December, the Holy Father celebrated Mass with the Patriarch of Alexandria for the Copts, Ibrahim Isaac Sidrak, on the occasion of the public manifestation of the Ecclesiastica Communio between the Patriarch and the Successor of Peter. Following his acceptance of canonical election, the Patriarch asked and obtained from Benedict XVI Ecclesiastica Communio with the Bishop and the Church of Rome. This morning at Holy Mass, through the simple yet evocative Exchange of the Sacred Species between the Pope and the Patriarch, the public signification of their communion was fulfilled. The act affirmed that the bond of communion between all of the Churches and the Successor of Peter is rooted in the Holy Eucharist. In his homily, the Pope expressed his joy in the occasion, and he wished to emphasize the importance of their making the journey which leads to an encounter with the Lord together, of their “finding and creating paths of encounter, paths of brotherhood, paths of peace” that bring division and enmity to an end, for a future of peace in the Holy Land and in the entire Middle East. The Pontiff also turned his thoughts to the “beloved land Egyptian”  whose people are experiencing insecurity and violence, sometimes on account of their Christian faith, and he made an appeal that “the religious liberty” of all people be guaranteed, in order that Christians might live peacefully in the land where they were born.

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