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11/05/2021 Syria (International Christian Concern) – Cardinal Leonardo Sandri of the Vatican traveled to Syria October 25 to November 3 after the trip was postponed from April 2020. Sandri is a prefect for the Congregation of Eastern Churches.

The visit by the Cardinal is “in the desire to bring the closeness and solidarity of Pope Francis to the Catholic communities of Syria, tried by years of war and in need of a moment of discernment and pastoral examination,” according to the Congregation. Cardinal Sandri visited Damascus, Tartous, Homs, Yabroud, Maaloula, and Aleppo. While in Syria the Cardinal met with local priests, celebrate mass, and visit Catholic charities, hospitals and orphanages.

Syria has been ravaged by ten years of civil war, pushing the population into poverty and driving out the minority Christian population. For Cardinal Sandri to visit without an issue suggests that Syria is now entering a new phase, as the country seeks to push through. The road to recovery and development will be long and arduous, but the acceptance of foreign dignitaries reflects an openness and cautious safety within Syria.

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