Vatican City, Apr 25, 2018 / 06:36 am
Pope Francis will travel to the Italian town of Bari July 7 for an ecumenical gathering with the heads of other Christian churches to pray for peace in the Middle East.
According to the April 25 Vatican communique announcing the visit, the event will primarily be "a day of prayer and reflection on the dramatic situation of the Middle East which afflicts so many brothers and sisters in the faith."
The pope has invited faithful to prepare for the event with prayer and will invite heads of the Christian churches and communities in the region, which is home to several different Catholic and Orthodox rites.
Located in Italy's southern Puglia region, Bari is home to the relics of St. Nicholas. Widely known by his more commercialized title of "Santa Claus," St. Nicholas is one of the most important saints in the Russian Orthodox Church.