BEIRUT - A delegation of Catholic and Orthodox patriarchs visited Irbil, Iraq, to show their support and solidarity with the more than 100,000 Christians and minorities displaced in the country by the advance of Islamist militants.

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BEIRUT - Mideast Catholic and Orthodox patriarchs denounced the "total international silence" on the persecution of Christians in the Middle East and called for Muslim religious authorities to issue fatwas, or legal edicts, banning attacks against Christians and "other innocents."

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BEIRUT - Lebanon's Maronite Catholic bishops underscored their "full confidence" in the country's military and security forces as the Lebanese army battled Islamist militants' incursion into Lebanon near the border with Syria.

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ERBIL, Iraq - A day after most of Mosul’s Christians fled, Islamic State fighters stormed the fourth-century Mar Behnam Monastery near the city.

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Despite committing Canada’s churches and volunteers, unasked, to welcoming 1,100 Syrian refugees before the end of this year, Citizenship and Immigration Canada has so far received just 145 applications to sponsor Syrian refugees. None of them have reached Canadian soil. 

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BEIRUT - Maronite Catholic bishops expressed their concern about the war in Syria and Iraq and warned that Lebanon's presidential vacuum poses a dangerous risk to the country, particularly amid the escalating regional turmoil that they said threatens to change the map of the Middle East.
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AMMAN, Jordan - Desperate to reunite with family in Europe, a young Syrian refugee recently paid thousands of dollars to a human trafficker to help him and his brother travel abroad. Instead, the pair found themselves tricked, half-way on the opposite side of the world — in China.

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VATICAN CITY - A "globalization of indifference" has taken hold of too many of the world's people, numbing them to the horrifying reality faced by the people of Syria and other innocent victims of war and violence around the world, Pope Francis said.

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UNITED NATIONS - The papal nuncio to the United Nations criticized the "persistent refusal" of Syria's warring factions to negotiate an end to the country's 28-month-long civil war.

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VATICAN CITY - Recognizing the important role each other plays on the global stage, Pope Francis and U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon met at the Vatican April 9, discussing common efforts to promote peace and protect human dignity.

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AMMAN, Jordan (CNS) -- As frightened Syrian refugees flood into Jordan and other nearby countries, U.N. officials at a donor conference in Kuwait appealed to the international community for desperately needed funding for victims of the 22-month crisis.

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The Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace is funnelling aid to its Caritas partners to respond to frigid winter temperatures in the Mideast that  have hit an estimated two million Syrians displaced by the country's civil war and hundreds of thousands of refugees outside of Syria's borders.

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AMMAN, Jordan - Snow, driving rain and howling winds in early January compounded the already desperate situation for Syrians caught up in 22 months of civil war seeking to oust President Bashar Assad.

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JERUSALEM - Bishops who traveled to the Holy Land to assess the local church's needs noted the "profound anxiety" that the "dark and dramatic events" of the past year have caused in the region.

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VATICAN CITY - At the end of a three-day meeting in Lebanon, the Catholic patriarchs and bishops of the Middle East said peace in the region will be impossible without a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

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