BEIRUT - Commemorating the second anniversary of the kidnapping of two Syrian bishops, the Greek Orthodox patriarch lamented the indifference of the international community about their fate.

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OTTAWA - The Chaldean Catholic Eparch of Canada says Canadian military intervention against the Islamic State is a humanitarian necessity to protect defenceless people in Iraq and Syria.

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BEIRUT - Lebanon's Catholic, Orthodox and Muslim religious leaders affirmed the "essential role" of the Christian presence in the Middle East and called for terrorism in the region to be confronted "culturally, educationally and politically."

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ZAATARI CAMP, Jordan - Abu Bilal, a slender man in his 40s, is surrounded by cages of bright yellow canaries merrily twittering.

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Four years into Syria’s civil war, Canada’s Catholic development agency is petitioning Ottawa for more aid, Canadian diplomatic contributions to a peace plan and stronger efforts to choke off the money that keeps both the Assad regime and ISIS fighting.

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VATICAN CITY - The head of the Melkite Catholic Church rejected outright all calls for an international military intervention in Syria and urged Pope Francis and all Christian churches to "promote a concrete and realistic road map" to peace in the beleaguered nation.

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VATICAN CITY - Without family, a legal identity and adequate education, children uprooted by the ongoing violence in Syria and the Middle East "are at risk of becoming a lost generation," said Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, permanent observer of the Holy See to the United Nations in Geneva.

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VATICAN CITY - In a joint statement, representatives of more than 50 countries have recognized that Christians are particularly endangered in the Middle East, and they called on the international community to reaffirm the human right to freedom of religion.

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VATICAN CITY - Iraqi and Syrian refugees who have fled persecution in their homelands and the Palestinian Christians struggling to survive in the land of Jesus deserve the prayers and material support of Catholics around the globe, a Vatican official said.

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JERUSALEM - Six months after the end of the most recent war in Gaza, there is still a "grave humanitarian crisis" in the narrow strip wedged between the Egyptian and Israeli borders, where more than 1.8 million Palestinians live closed off to the world because of an international embargo.

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AMMAN, Jordan - Christians in the Middle East welcomed the release of nearly 20 Assyrian Christians abducted by Islamic State militants in northeastern Syria, but expressed concern that more than 200 others remained in captivity.

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BEIRUT - Two Syrian-born patriarchs separately urged the international community to work together to address the crisis in Syria and the region.

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AMMAN, Jordan - A prominent Syrian Christian political leader has called for U.S.-led coalition forces to use airstrikes to aid fellow Christian and Kurdish fighters battling Islamic State militants following reports of flagrant abductions and church burnings in northwest Syria.

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WASHINGTON - Amid frequent reports of brutal killings and attacks by Islamic State militants, the director of an Islamic group in the United States strongly believes that people of faith must "collectively denounce" these actions of "stark evil" and "cruel barbarism."

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BEIRUT - The Middle East is suffering a "Way of the Cross" that is the greatest tragedy since the Second World War, Melkite Catholic Patriarch Gregoire III Laham said in a Lenten message about suffering.

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