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Pope: Eastern Christians, victims of the “spread of international terrorism”

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Rome (AsiaNews) – At a time when “another World War” is under way, though “piecemeal” and we witness the spread of international terrorism, “Christians in the East live” the drama of persecution and an increasingly worrying diaspora “. It is in this reality that today the centenary of the founding of the Pontifical Oriental Institute and the Congregation for Oriental Churches is celebrated, events for which Pope Francis went to visit the Institute, also delivering a message of his own, and then celebrated Mass in the nearby basilica of Saint Mary Major.

In the message, Francis recalled that the Institute and Congregation were founded by Benedict XV, “although in the midst of the stormy first world conflict, he could reserve special attention to the Churches of the East.” “From the beginning, this” study center was open to the Orientals, both united and the so-called Orthodox, “so that” [simultaneously] and in equal measure there would be the “exposition of Catholic and Orthodox doctrine “(Benedict XV, Motu Proprio Orientis Catholic, October 15, 1917: AAS 9 [1917], 532). With this latter clarification, the founder placed the new institution on a horizon that we today can call eminently ecumenical. “

“On the other hand, the times we live and the challenges that war and hatred bring to the very roots of peaceful coexistence in the ravaged lands of the East, see the Institute once more, just like a hundred years ago, center of a providential crossroads. Keeping intact the attention and application of traditional research, I invite all to offer those Churches and the entire ecclesial community the ability to listen to life and to reflect on the theology to help sustain their existence and journey. Many of the students and professors perceive this important moment in history. “

” This institute, through research, teaching and testimony, has the task of helping our brothers and sisters to strengthen and consolidate their faith in the face of the tremendous challenges they face. It is called to be the propitiatory place to promote the formation of men and women, seminarians, priests and laity, capable of rendering the reason for the hope that animates and sustains them (cf. 1 Pt 3:15) and able to collaborate in Christ’s reconciling mission (cf. 2 Cor 5,18)”.

Later, during the celebration of the Mass, he recalled that “many of our Christian brothers and sisters in the Eastern Churches experience dramatic persecution and an increasingly worrying Diaspora.” “This raises questions, many whys” to the Lord. “We see the wicked, scrupulously pursuing their own interests, crushing others, and it seems to them that things are good: they get what they want and only think about enjoying their lives. These ‘whys’ are also use in Sacred Scripture, we put them all together, “said Francis. And, the answer is in the very Word of God, which holds a book of memories “for those who fear Him and honor His name.”

” God does not forget His children, His memory is for the righteous, for those who suffer, who are oppressed and who are wondering why,” yet they never cease to trust in the Lord. ” And “there is one way,” said Francis, “to break into the memory of God, our prayer.” “When praying, it takes the courage of faith: to have confidence that the Lord will listen to us, the courage to knock on the door.”

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