- Feb 21, 2020
A lethal combination of insecurity, political chaos, economic stagnation and outright persecution have created a toxic environment in the Middle East – for almost everyone, of course, but in a special way for Christians.
When some 50 bishops and patriarchs from different rites throughout the Mediterranean gather in Bari this month to discuss the dire situation many countries in the region face, the survival of Christians in the Middle East will likely emerge as a central topic.
Pope Francis will travel to the southern Italian seaport city of Bari in late February to close a meeting of bishops from countries bordering the Mediterranean, the Vatican confirmed.
In many ways, the southern Italian city of Bari is already the flagship of Pope Francis’s ecumenical efforts, but in the future it might also become ground zero for a new face of Europe.
Pope Francis was elected in 2013 on a reform mandate, and 2018 tested him on that front in multiple ways.
Patriarch Kirill of Moscow, head of the Russian Orthodox Church, presumably had several reasons for skipping last Saturday’s ecumenical gathering in Bari hosted by Pope Francis.