Unity Is Key for Survival, Says Synod Council

Middle East Churches Should Imitate 1st Christians

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VATICAN CITY, APRIL 12, 2011 (Zenit.org).- Christian unity is key for the survival of the Church in the Middle East, just as it was for the first Christians of Jerusalem, according to the secretary-general of the synod of bishops, Archbishop Nikola Eterović.



The archbishop made this reflection at the third meeting of the  Special Council on the Middle East of the synod's General Secretariat, which took place at the end of March. The Vatican gave a report of the meeting today.

This council is working with the conclusions from last October's synod, with the aim of assisting the Pope in preparing the postsynodal apostolic exhortation.

The meeting was held March 30 and 31 in the Vatican.

Archbishop Eterović highlighted the guidelines Benedict XVI gave during the synod. He also referred to the present situation in the Middle East, which calls on Christians to follow the example of the first community of the Church, in which all gave a witness of communion, even while living the difficulties stemming from the novelty of the life they had embraced.

There was further reflection on the present situation of the Churches of the Middle East, and there was an exchange of opinions on the present political-social situation in this region, the final communiqué from the meeting reported.

"The precarious situation due to socio-political movements is of keen interest to the Churches, which share the joys and concerns of the citizens," the note affirmed.

It emphasized an urgent need for "free and fruitful dialogue with other religions and with the legitimate representatives of the civil powers."