Pope Benedict XVI has announced a special meeting of the Synod of Bishops to discuss the Church in the Middle East.

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Church in the Middle East

Pope Benedict XVI spoke on Saturday to the Patriarchs and Major Archbishop of the Eastern Catholic Churches in a meeting at Castel Gandolfo.

The delegation is made up of the Maronite patriarch, Nasrallah Sfeir; the Armenian Catholic patriarch, Nerses Bedros XIX; the Syro-Catholic patriarch, Ignace Youssef III Younan; the Melkite patriarch, Gregory III; the Chaldean patriarch, Emmanuel III Delly; the Latin patriarch of Jerusalem, Fouad Twal; and by the Coptic patriarch, Antonios Nagib.

The Pope announced a special meeting of the Synod of Bishops to discuss the Church in the Middle East. He noted that this meeting will strengthen the communion of these churches with the Successor of Peter, and he also emphasized the special role of the Eastern Catholic Church in ecumenical and interreligious dialogue.

He said the Universal Church can learn from the experience the Eastern Churches have gathered since the first Christian millennium.

Pope Benedict ended his remarks by making a special appeal for peace in the Middle East.