VATICAN CITY, APRIL 26, 2010 ( Benedict XVI appointed six members for the Special Assembly of the Synod of Bishops for the Middle East, which will take place October 10-24 in the Vatican.

The synod's theme is "The Catholic Church in the Middle East: Communion and Witness. 'Now the company of those who believed were of one heart and soul' (Acts 4: 32)."

The appointments, publicized Saturday, were:

-- Cardinal Nasrallah Sfeir, Maronite patriarch of Antioch, Lebanon, as president delegate "ad honorem"

-- Cardinal Emmanuel III Delly, Chaldean patriarch of Babylon, Iraq, as president delegate "ad honorem"

-- Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, prefect of the Congregation for Eastern Churches, as president delegate

-- Patriarch Ignace Youssif III Younan, patriarch of Antioch of the Syrians, Lebanon, as president delegate

-- Patriarch Antonios Naguib, patriarch of Alexandria of the Copts, Egypt, as relator-general

-- Archbishop Joseph Soueif, Maronite archbishop of Cyprus, as special secretary.

The Pope will meet with these six appointees during his visit to Cyprus, planned for June 4-6.

On the last day of that visit, he will present the "instrumentum laboris" for the special synod on the Middle East.