Pope Francis invites Mideast Christian leaders to Italy for peace summit – Vatican

Pope Francis has invited leaders of all Christian denominations in the Middle East to join him in Italy in July to discuss how they can help bring peace to the region. The Vatican said on Wednesday that the meeting will take place on July 7 in the southern Adriatic port city of Bari, Reuters reported. The city was chosen because it is home to the relics of St. Nicholas, who lived about 1,700 years ago in what is today Turkey. St. Nicholas is particularly honored by Christian Orthodox Churches in Syria, Iraq, Egypt and Lebanon. Nicholas is also widely venerated among Orthodox Christians in Russia, Syria’s ally. The encounter will be an “ecumenical meeting for peace” where the religious leaders could discuss “the dramatic situation of the Middle East that afflicts so many brothers and sisters in the faith,” the Vatican said.