Middle Eastern Patriarchs Visit Benedict XVI

Met with Pope Emeritus After Plenary Assembly in Rome

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Several Patriarchs who were in Rome for last week’s Plenary Assembly for the Congregation of the Oriental Churches met with Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI last Saturday,

The former pontiff assured the prelates of his prayers for the Middle East.

Chaldean Patriarch Raphael Louis I Sako of Baghdad confirmed the meeting with the Pontiff Emeritus in an interview with AsiaNews.

«We had a friendly meeting, we asked him about his health and he asked us about the Middle East and the situation of the Eastern Christians.»

The meeting took place at Benedict XVI’s residence, the Mater Ecclesiae Monastery, located in Vatican City. After announcing his resignation, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI said that he would remain hidden from the world, living a life of prayer and meditation.

«Your Holiness, we have come from our hotel in the rain like pilgrims , and therefore deserve a special blessing and a special prayer for Iraq,” Patriarch Sako recalled telling Benedict.

«I pray for Iraq, Syria and the rest of the East every day,” the Pontiff Emeritus responded.

When asked by the Chaldean Patriarch if he would consider the possibility of visiting Iraq, Benedict XVI responded: “I’m getting old , and am a monk who has decided to spend the rest of his time in prayer and rest.”

Patriarch Sako also extended an invitation to Pope Francis after the closing Mass for the Year of Faith on November 24th. «I told him that it was time to come and visit us,” Patriarch Sako told AsiaNews. “He smiled and promised a visit.»

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