04/27/2016, 10.08
RUSSIA - VATICAN
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Catholics and Russian Orthodox join forces for the children of Homs

New joint project announced after Syria and Lebanon visit. Msgr. Pezzi recalls the value of the encounter between Francis and Cuba Kirill: "Now we are in front of an effort that is not on paper but concrete steps of solidarity."

Moscow (AsiaNews) - After the decision to draw up a detailed list of Christian places destroyed and damaged during the war in Syria, as well as that of the names of all the new Christian martyrs, the Catholic Church and the Moscow Patriarchate have announced the creation of another joint project: an event later this year in favor of the children of Homs, victims of the military conflict.

At a conference in Moscow on April 21, representatives of the two Churches who participated at the beginning of the month in a joint visit to Syria and Lebanon spoke about this latest effort. "We will coordinate and we will plan the event together" said Piotr Gumenyuk of Aid to the Church in Need, as reported by the Russian media.

The situation of children in the refugee camp of Zahle, Lebanon, particularly affected the archbishop of the Mother of God in Moscow, Msgr. Paolo Pezzi. "Despite what we have seen, the fact murders and losses remain forever etched that in their souls, they still smile," the archbishop said. "This trip allowed us to take the first concrete step, after the meeting between Pope Francis and Patriarch Kirill in Havana," he said.

Hieromonk Stefan (Igumnov), secretary of the Department for External Relations of the Patriarchate, then specified that all projects are studied and discussed with the Syrian Christians.

Participants at the press conference stressed the warm attitude that people in Lebanon and Syria have towards Russia. "This is an unequivocally positive relationship - said the Catholic Archbishop – because Russia in recent years has done much more than others in these countries not only for Christians, but also so that all people can live in peace."

According to him, the bishops in Syria "have seen that we, Orthodox and Catholics from Russia have visited them together: it is a unity not on paper but of concrete steps of solidarity". (MA)

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