The political changes in the Middle East were today a central issue in the work of the second Congress of the Patriarchs and Bishops of the Middle East, being held in Harissa, Lebanon. A session of the assembly, moderated by the Coptic Catholic Bishop Antonios Aziz Mina, focused on the political process and the on-going conflicts in the Middle East through the presentation of six testimonies from different Countries. Within this evening, the Patriarchs and Bishops of the Middle East will approve a list of recommendations and resolutions, along with a final communiqué. The Armenian Catholic Archbishop of Aleppo Mgr. Boutros Marayati anticipates the criteria of the unanimous opinion that the participants in the assembly will express respect to the tragic situation in Syria: "Tonight we will launch an appeal to all the people involved so that violence stops and to put an end to the Syrian fratricide war. We will insist on the fact to find a solution through dialogue and compromise, where everyone must give up their claims, to resume normal life and bring back peace." According to Archbishop Marayati, the leaders of the Catholic Churches of the Middle East "reject the positions of those who argue that for this conflict there is only one solution which is military: we are all convinced that there can be no victory, because in this tragic story everyone has lost everything. No one can say they have won, after this disaster. Regional powers and the international community, "concludes the Armenian Catholic Archbishop "the resolution of the conflict should be encouraged, rather than feeding it with the support of one of the two warring parties."
The President of the Congress of the Patriarchs and Bishops of the Middle East, Cardinal Beshara Peter Al Rahi issued a message of condolences on behalf of the congress to the Holy Orthodox Synod of Antioch and to the Orthodox Church for the loss of Patriarch Igntius IV Hazim on December 05.