The second day of Cardinal Sandri in Syria

The second day of Cardinal Sandri in Syria
The second day of Cardinal Sandri in Syria

Summary of the second day of the visit of the Dean of the Congregation for the Eastern Churches, Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, to Syria

On the morning of Wednesday, October 27, the Dean of the Congregation for the Eastern Churches, Cardinal Sandri, and the Papal Ambassador to Syria, Cardinal Zenari, went to the Cathedral of the Maronite Diocese in Damascus, where they were received by Bishop Samir Nassar, who led them to the church to honor part of the relics of the “martyrs of Damascus”. Then the delegation moved to the adjacent hall, where, together with Patriarch Youssef Al-Absi and Bishop Nassar, he raised a short prayer and gave a word of greeting. Then Cardinal Sandri met with the present priests belonging to all the Catholic dioceses in Damascus and southern Syria, especially the priests of the Diocese of Bosra and Houran of the Melkite Romans. For the occasion, the Dean of the Synod of Eastern Churches gave a brief speech, then listened to testimonies of representatives from each diocese.
Among the topics touched upon is the dangerous bleeding of believers, especially young people who have left the country or dream of doing so, with the need to support small projects to stay close to them, as do some evangelical groups from abroad, whose work is not always easy to understand or interpreted as a form of Proselytizing forms in Orthodox and even Catholic circles. Also, in the Catholic setting, it is necessary to put into practice the process of coordination in charitable work in order to avoid that a person is helped several times from different quarters while leaving some poor people on the sidelines. Many priests also expressed their thanks to the Eastern Synod for the exceptional support it has provided in recent years to all priests and consecrated persons working in Syria. In the stress of Syria, the Church has had a great opportunity to remain close to the suffering people, like many associations: some instances of corruption or lack of transparency also risked obscuring the good that has been and is being done, and so it is always necessary for everyone to watch. Likewise, the relationship between bishops and priests can be improved, so that it is not merely a transmission of instructions to be followed, but rather grows in true mutual trust.







The second day of Cardinal Sandri in Syria

At the end of the meeting, Cardinal Sandri moved to the headquarters of Caritas Syria and to the office of the Society of St. Mansour de Paul, where, in addition to about thirty workers, the President of Caritas of Syria was also received by Bishop Abdo Arbash, Archbishop of Homs for the royal Greeks, and the Executive Director. Through a brief presentation, the different centers where Caritas is active and working, some also in the dangerous areas of the Northeast, with more than 300 workers and 150 volunteers across the country, are highlighted. The interventions varied in different regions of the country, from Damascus to the south, to Aleppo, the coast of Tartous, Homs, and the Hasaka region.
The next stop was a visit to the Chaldean parish in Damascus, and from there the Vatican delegation toured some areas of central Damascus, reaching the Cathedral of the Armenian Patriarchate, where a delegation of believers was received with Exarch Arnaoutian, who briefly explained the features of the community entrusted to his pastoral care and accompanied Cardinal Sandri To the church, where prayers were recited and hymns of the Armenian liturgical tradition were sung.
In the afternoon, the pilgrimage continued among the various incidents that show the face of the Church in Damascus: first the infirmary of St. Paul and the restaurant for the poor, where he met the Choueira nuns who run him and the volunteers who prepare meals for the poor. This dispensary is one of the recent initiatives entered into the “Open Hospitals” circuit implemented by AVSI with the Pontifical Ambassador to Syria Cardinal Zenari. The second stop was the orphanage of St. Paul, which is managed by the Royal Church, where Cardinal Leonardo Sandri met Patriarch Youssef Absi and the director of the institution, which receives many orphans or the children of families facing difficulties, and which also receives some university students who provide their assistance to the young ones who grow up. At the end of the visit, the Dean of the Congregation for the Eastern Churches and the Vatican delegation headed for a short prayer in the shrine of the Melkite Roman Church adjacent to the building, which reminds of St. Paul’s “flight” from Damascus as he was lowered from the walls in a basket, as the book of Acts of the Apostles tells.








The second day of Cardinal Sandri in Syria

 
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