Believers gather as a priest rings the newly inaugurated bell at a Syriac Christian church in Mosul Believers gather as a priest rings the newly inaugurated bell at a Syriac Christian church in Mosul  (AFP or licensors)

Pope: Ukraine and Syria united in sorrow and suffering

Pope Francis sends a letter to participants at a Conference taking place in Damascus and dedicated to “listening, dialogue and the future of Christian communities” in the region. He assures Syrian Christians of the Church's concern for them and turns his thoughts also to Ukraine asking for prayers for peace.

By Linda Bordoni

Reassuring the Christian community in Syria that it is not forgotten, and that the Church remains particularly concerned for its welfare, Pope Francis conveyed his closeness to the people of the ravaged nation noting that the war, now in its 12th year, continues “to cause suffering, hunger, death and the ongoing flight of Syrians.”

In a letter read to the ensemble by his envoy, Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, the Pope reminded the Christians of Syria that they “are the protagonists of the mission of Jesus in this land,” and said that great efforts are being made to “offer hope and future prospects to those who remain.”


The Conference is entitled “The Church as a House of Charity – Synodality and Coordination.” It is organized by the Congregation for the Eastern Churches of which Cardinal Sandri is Prefect, and sees the participation of Caritas Syria and other charitable agencies.

Noting that the Church is one body, yet it is made up of various members, the Pope called for synodal action that implies “listening, sharing, love, reciprocal support and, above all, an awareness of the role that each is called to play.

“When one part of the body suffers, the others all come to its aid, sharing in its suffering and doing everything possible to alleviate it.”

“All of us are members of the Body of Christ, which is the Church,” he said, explaining that “although members of different churches and traditions, we have the same vocation of testifying to the Lord,” journeying together in a spirit of communion and in respect for our diversities.

Pope Francis elaborated on the concept of synodality in the Church that he said has a vertical and a horizontal dimension, and took the occasion to address the various representatives of agencies and NGOs that are active in Syria saying that their “initiatives are a tangible sign of the Church’s charity, nourished by the Gospel.”

He concluded with thoughts for the immense suffering for our brothers and sisters in war-ravaged Ukraine:

“Let us embrace them in prayer and affection, trusting that a just and lasting peace may quickly be achieved so that the work of the agencies be carried out in that beloved nation, even as is the case today in Syria.”

16 March 2022, 16:17