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Lessons from the Levant

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The picture was perfect. Four patriarchs of the Maronite, Melkite, Syrian Orthodox and Syrian Catholic churches with the catholicos of the Armenian Apostolic Church sat side by side on the stage on Thursday in Washington at the In Defense of Christians Inaugural Summit. More remarkable was the coherence of the patriarchs' message: Not just Christians, but all religions of the Middle East, including Islam and Judaism, need protection. The future of the region, they declared, must be found in pluralism and inclusion.

Vatican cricket team may need divine intervention in match with Church of England

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A recently formed cricket team from the Vatican may need some divine intervention as it gets ready to take on more experienced English players at a historic game Saturday.

The Vatican team will play against the British Army chaplains as part of a "Light of Faith" tour at the Kent County Cricket Club, a stone's throw away from Canterbury Cathedral, where it will play again next week against the Church of England's team.

Pope Francis to visit Turkey in November

Pope Francis will visit Turkey in November, eight years after his predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI, made a landmark visit to the predominantly Muslim country.

Turkey's newly elected president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, extended a formal invitation to Francis, and the Turkish Embassy to the Holy See confirmed Tuesday that the pope has accepted.

"The pope has been invited by both the Orthodox Church and the government and he is expected to meet the president during his visit," an embassy representative said.

Understanding persecution of Christians in the Middle East

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Recent atrocities committed in Iraq and Syria by the Islamic State have drawn attention to the plight of Christians in the Middle East. But the issue, with deep historical roots and myriad foreign policy implications, predates the incursions of the Islamic State. Who are these Christians? What is life like for them? And what should Americans committed to cause of assisting them keep in mind while attempting to raise awareness of the issue? NCR asked James Zogby, president of the Arab American Institute, for his thoughts.

Cardinal Brady, retiring from Northern Ireland, says Pope Francis 'inspires me'

The 2013 conclave that elected Pope Francis was "the highlight of my life," said Cardinal Sean Brady, the day the pope accepted his resignation as archbishop of Armagh, Northern Ireland.

Pope Francis "challenges and inspires me" with the "message of God having mercy and at the same time choosing us, despite our sinfulness," the cardinal told people gathered in St. Patrick's Cathedral in Armagh. "It reminds me that I, too, need to say sorry and to ask forgiveness. And I do so again, now."

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