Pope greets Syrian Patriarch, says he prays daily for Iraqi Christians

Pope Benedict XVI formally welcomed Syrian Catholic Patriarch Ignace Youssif III Younan at an audience on June 19. In his remarks to the visiting Patriarch– who was in Rome for the first time since his election as leader of the world’s Syrian Catholics– the Pope remarked that “the Eucharist fuses our different traditions in the unity of the one Spirit.”

During the audience the Pope disclosed that he prays every day for peace in the Middle East, “especially for Christians living in the blessed land of Iraq, whose sufferings I offer every day to God during the Eucharistic sacrifice.”

The Pope had met briefly with the Syrian Catholic leader after his weekly audience on Wednesday, June 18. Patriarch Ignace had then celebrated the Divine Liturgy in the Syriac-Antiochan rite at the basilica of St. Mary Major, with Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, the prefect of the Congregation for the Eastern Churches, attending as the Pope’s representative