Eastern Patriarchs visit Benedict XVI: "I pray every day for Iraq , Syria and the Christians of the East"
Rome (AsiaNews )
- After the
plenary session of the Congregation for the Eastern Churches , the
patriarchs still in Rome paid a visit to Pope emeritus Benedict XVI "like pilgrims
in the rain", said Raphael Louis Sako, Chaldean patriarch and archbishop of
Baghdad. "We had a friendly meeting , we asked him about his health and he
asked us about the Middle East and the situation of the Eastern Christians
The meeting took place in the afternoon of 23 November at the Mater Ecclesiae monastery, in the Vatican , where the Pope Emeritus has chosen to spend his period of withdrawal from the world. His Beatitude Sako told Benedict XVI: "Your Holiness, we have come from our hotel in the rain like pilgrims , and therefore deserve a special blessing and a special prayer for Iraq." In response, the Pope Emeritus said: "I pray for Iraq, Syria and the rest of the East every day " .
Then Mar Sako asked: "You have retired, but is there any possibility of you coming to Iraq..." to which Benedict XVI responded by concluding the meeting : " I'm getting old , and am a monk who has decided to spend the rest of his time in prayer and rest."
Immediately after the solemn mass of 24 November , which closed the Year of Faith , the Chaldean Patriarch also proposed Pope Francis to visit Iraq : "I told him that it was time to come and visit us. He smiled and promised a visit . "