VATICAN CITY – Pope Benedict XVI has announced a special meeting of bishops next year to discuss Middle East peace efforts and the role of the Catholic Church in the region.
Addressing bishops and patriarchs from Eastern rite churches, Benedict said Saturday that the meeting will take place Oct. 10-24, 2010, and will be titled "The Catholic Church in the Middle East: communion and testimony."
The meeting of bishops, called a synod, will gather church leaders from the Middle East and around the world.
The pope and the Vatican have long been active on the Middle East diplomatic front, seeking to protect Christians in the Holy Land and elsewhere in the region while supporting efforts to solve the Israel-Palestinian dispute.
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