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Austria's Archbishop: We Pray for Middle East Christians in Their Plight

Austria's Archbishop: We Pray for Middle East Christians in Their Plight

Archbishop of Austria Cardinal Christoph Schonborn stated that the Catholic Church is concerned for Christians living in the Middle East after the recent wave of attacks throughout the region.

 "We are deeply saddened by the attacks on churches in Egypt, and are anguished by the situation in Syria and threats received by the Church there, as well as the kidnapped Aleppo Archbishops Youhana Ibrahim and Boulos Yazigi," Cardinal Schonborn told Mideast Christian News.

He explained that cooperation and understanding between the Catholic and Orthodox churches has existed for a long time and that the Catholic Church has close ties with all other Christian sects.

Pope Tawadros II's visit to the Vatican was a historic one and that it was a great pleasure for him to visit the Pope for his first destination outside of Egypt.

He added that the patriarch's meeting with Pope Francis I is a sign of friendship between the two churches' new leaders while commemorating the 40 years since the agreement was signed between Pope Shenouda III and Pope Paul VI.

It was "a new historic agreement between both churches, and one that ensures the continued cooperation between these glorious churches," the archbishop said.

"The Coptic Church in Austria is a blessing to the people," he added, "As well as having faced much persecuted, the church contributes to the strengthening of faith in Christ, as it decreases across the rest of Europe."

He continued: "It is painful for a person to leave his homeland and be forced to live abroad for social, sectarian or political reasons, but here we are happy and blessed with the existence of a Coptic Church."

Speaking on the future of Christian unity, Cardinal Schönborn said: "Christ wanted us to unite, and we hope with the election of new leaders in various churches; Pope Tawadros at the Orthodox Church, Pope Francis at the Catholic Church, and other new leadership that is close to the Evangelical Church, Christian unity will, hopefully, see the light of day."


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