Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Assisi Hosts Pope and Patriarchs on World Day of Prayer for Peace

Their Holinesses Pope Francis,Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew,Syriac Orthodox Patriarch Aphrem II,His Grace Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby and other religious leaders gathered at Assisi,Italy for the World Day of Prayer for Peace in the Basilica of St.Francis.On a day blessed with clear and sunny skies,the leaders paused to reflect on the numerous wars and conflicts afflicting the world today and beseech God for an end to them.Their was a special emphasis on the Middle East in general and Syria in particular,as well as on the case of the abducted Archbishops of Aleppo in Syria,Greek Orthodox Paul Yazigi and Syriac Orthodox Mor Yohanna Gregorius Ibrahim,who were kidnapped at gunpoint by unknown extremists more than three years ago.
The four hierarchs greeted a number of pilgrims in the cloisters of the Franciscan monastery before assembling with a congregation in the lower Basilica of St.Francis,where the saint is entombed,for a Christian prayer service.At the same time,Muslims and other believers assembled at separate locations to pray according to their own traditions.Finally,all assembled in the Basilica courtyard for final reflections.The Day of Prayer was preceded by a number of other peace discussions and events beginning on Monday.
At one point in the Christian prayer service,an alphabetised list of world conflict zones was read.Each location was remembered with the chant "Kyrie eleison,"which is "Lord have mercy" in Greek,and a candle was lit.From Afghanistan to Mexico,to Yemen and the Holy Land,dozens of violent regions were prayerfully recognised.
To conclude the Christian service,each of the four hierarchs participated in a four-part benediction,or blessing.

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