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Russia: ecumenical delegation to Syria and Lebanon to follow up on the promises made by Pope Francis and Kirill at Havana

“A further development of the joint plans to support the brothers and sisters in distress” in Syria and Lebanon is the result of the visit of an ecumenical delegation of the Russian Churches in the Middle East. This is explained in a note posted by the Department for Ecumenical Relations of the Russian Orthodox Church, highlighting that the journey (6-7 April) follows up on the decisions taken at Havana by Patriarch Kirill and Pope Francis last February. The ecumenical delegation included the High Monk Stefan Igumnov, secretary of the Department, and archbishop Paolo Pezzi. “One of the priorities for the near future is to draw up a detailed list of the Christian places destroyed by war in Syria” and to work to have them rebuilt, because, as the note explains, “churches and monasteries are centres in which the Christian communities can get stronger and are available to all the population”. “The coordination of humanitarian aids between different Christian denominations in Syria”, which made the joint visit of the ecumenical delegation possible, needs to be strengthened too. “The humanitarian work for the people who have survived the tragedy” could be known through many meetings with the Christian church leaders and visits of the refugee camps in the region of Bekaa, Lebanon. The note points out that “the assistance provided by the region’s Christian Churches is given to suffering Syrians, regardless of their religious background”.

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