Russian, Catholic Churches to make list of destroyed churches in Syria

Sides will join efforts to help restore Christian shrines

The Moscow Patriarchate and the Roman Catholic Church will join efforts to help restore Christian shrines in Syria, the External Relations Department of the Russian Orthodox Church said on April 9.

"The need to make a detailed list of Christian shrines - churches and monasteries - which were destroyed and damaged during the Syrian war, and the strengthening of the joint Christian witnessing of the Syrian tragedy were recognized as one of top near-term priorities," the Russian Church said on its website on Saturday after a joint delegation of both Churches travelled to Syria and Lebanon.

The delegation included Archbishop Paolo Pezzi, the head of the Roman Catholic Church in Moscow, Hieromonk Stefan (Igumnov), who is in charge of inter-Christian relations at the Russian Orthodox Church, and representatives from Aid to the Church in Need, an international Catholic foundation.

Representatives of both Churches held consultations with local faith leaders and visited refugee camps.

"It is well known that the tragedy in the Middle East, which caused suffering to representatives of various Christian denominations and other groups, and the need to take urgent steps to improve the situation were at the center of discussion at a meeting between Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia and Pope Frances in Havana on February 12, 2016," the spokesperson said.

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