Vatican City, 29 October 2013 (VIS) – Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, prefect of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches, announced in his address at the opening of the new academic year of the Pontifical Oriental Institute that a summit meeting of the patriarchs and major archbishops of the oriental Churches of Syria, Iraq and the Middle East will be held in the Vatican, in the presence of the Holy Father, on 21 November.

The meeting, which will take place from 19 to 22 November, will take as its general theme the debate “The Eastern Catholic Churches fifty years after Vatican Council II”.

The cardinal declared that “Pope Francis has agreed to repeat the meeting which took place for the first time in 2009”, when the heads of the Eastern Churches met with Benedict XVI in “a fruitful morning of reflection”, and will now have the opportunity “to speak before the Pope on the situation of eastern Christians”.