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Thursday, June 11, 2015

ROACO Plenary Assembly to Analyze Situation of Christians in Middle East, Armenia, Ethiopia, Eritrea, and the Holy Land

Vatican City, 11 June 2015 (VIS) – ROACO (Reunion of Aid Agencies for the Oriental Churches) will hold its 88th annual plenary assembly in the Vatican from 15 to 17 June.

The assembly will begin on Monday morning with an audience granted by Pope Francis to the representatives of the various aid projects to the Oriental Catholic Churches. As in previous years, it will be a session dedicated to the situation in Syria with attention also given to Iraq in view of the recent tragic developments in that region which also affect the faithful of the Eastern Churches. The results of the recent visit to Iraq made by Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, prefect of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches, during which he and a delegation from ROACO met with refugees, bishops, priests, and religious in Baghdad, Erbil, and Dohuk, will be presented.

On Tuesday, 16 June, the cardinal will celebrate Holy Mass at St. Stephen of the Abyssinians, a historical presence of the Oriental Church within the Vatican walls, to pray for peace in the Middle East as well as the Ukraine where the Greek-Catholic Church has a presence, and to pray for the benefactors, living and deceased, of the Oriental Catholic Churches.

On the occasion of the centenary memorial of the Medz Yeghern suffered by the Armenian people, a session will be dedicated to the Armenian Catholic Church in Eastern Europe, which is present in Georgia and Russia as well as Armenia. Another session will study the Church of Ethiopia and the Church of Eritrea, which was recently elevated by Pope Frances to a metropolitan church (metropolitana sui iuris). As customary, during the assembly the situation of the Church in the Holy Land will be examined, with verifications of the projects undertaken thanks to the proceeds of the Good Friday collection.

The objective of the proceedings, which will conclude on Thursday 17 June, is to identify priorities for the work of evangelization and charitable interventions in order that they be coordinated by ROACO as a gesture of the solidarity of the universal Church.

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