Vatican City, Nov 9, 2018 / 12:00 pm
Pope Francis and the Assyrian Patriarch Mar Gewargis III have pledged ecumenical unity in support of persecuted Christians in the Middle East. In a joint statement released Nov. 9, the two leaders called the blood of recent martyrs in the Middle East the "the seed of Christian unity."
"On our pilgrimage towards visible unity, we experience a common suffering, arising from the dramatic situation of our Christian brothers and sisters in the Middle East, especially in Iraq and Syria," reads the common statement of the pope and the patriarch signed Friday.
"We are profoundly united in our prayer of intercession and in our charitable outreach to these suffering members of Christ's body," it continues.
The Assyrian Church of the East, based in Northern Iraq, has approximately 170,000 members, mostly in Iraq, Iran, Syria, and the United States. While they been separated from the Chaldean Catholics of the region for centuries, both have suffered greatly from the genocide committed by the Islamic State.