Syriac Orthodox Patriarchate – 25/5/17
His Holiness Syriac Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch and All the East Mor Ignatius Aphrem II, His Beatitude Syriac Catholic Patriarch of Antioch and All the East Mor Ignatius Youssef III Younan, and His Beatitude Chaldean Patriarch of Babylon Mar Louis Rafael I Sako, met His Excellency US Vice President Mike Pence at the White House in Washington DC.
The meeting was organized and attended by His Eminence Archbishop of Vienna Christoph Cardinal Schonborn and Dr. Christian Von Geusau, President of the International Catholic Legislators Network.
During the meeting, His Holiness and their Beatitudes discussed with His Excellency the Vice President the general situation in the Middle East as well as the Christian presence and what they are suffering of due to the wars and conflicts in the region. They also discussed the persecutions and expulsion that they are facing in their homeland, especially in Iraq, Syria and Lebanon. The three patriarchs confirms that it is extremely important to preserve the Christian presence in their homeland.
Vice President Pence showed sympathy with the cause of the Christians in the Middle East and promised to work to have peace and dialogue in the East.
His Holiness and their Beatitudes commended the outcome of the meeting of Pope Francis and the US President Donald Trump in the Vatican where they confirmed the need for peace especially in the Middle East and the need to protect religious minorities in the region.
His Holiness, their Beatitudes and His Eminence the Cardinal met with officials in the US State Department as well as Congressmen, activists and NGOs concerned about the situation of Christians in the Middle East. They discussed with them the ways to preserve the presence of Christians in their homeland. His Holiness also asked the help of the US officials in the case of the return of the abducted Archbishops of Aleppo Boulos Yaziji and Mor Gregorius Youhanna Ibrahim.
Their Holiness and Beatitudes were the guests of His Excellency Mgr. Christophe Pierre, Apostolic Nuncio for the USA.
The meetings were also attended by His Eminence Archbishop Mor Dionysius John Kawak, Syriac Orthodox Patriarchal Vicar for the Archdiocese of the Eastern USA, His Excellency Mar Francis Kallabat, Chaldean Archbishop of the Archdiocese of St. Thomas in the Eastern USA, Very Rev. Raban Joseph Bali, Syriac Orthodox Patriarchal Secretary and Media Office Director, Rev. Fr. Habib Mrad, Syriac Catholic Patriarchal Secretary, and Mr. Manuel Baghdi, Advisor of HE Cardinal Schonborn for the Immigrants Affairs.