The pre-synodal council met in late November, and a communiqué regarding its work was released Monday by the Vatican press office:
The participants in the meeting dedicated ample space to the topic of the deepening of communion in the Catholic Church and, in particular, between the Patriarchal Churches and the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, as well as the episcopal conferences of the countries of the Middle East.
The statement stresses the importance of communion with other Churches and the importance of dialogue and collaboration with Jews and Muslims in the social and cultural activities.In line with Pope Benedict's suggestion, the theme of witness will be important. The secretary-general of the synod of bishops, Archbishop Nikola Eterovic, remarked in his opening address to the Pre-Synodal Council:
In this vast region that encompasses the land in which the mysteries of our
salvation were fulfilled, Christians are called to give witness to the death and
resurrection of Christ in virtue of the gift of the Spirit, who inspires
believers to act in communion and unity with the whole Church and not
individually. ... New generat ions must come to know the great patrimony of
faith and witness in the different Churches....
Cardinal Ivan Dias, prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelisation of the Peoples, and Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, prefect of the Congregation for Eastern Churches, were joined by eight Eastern patriarchs in the meeting. Also taking part were the presidents of the episcopal conferences of Iran and Turkey.