CHICAGO - Catholicos Dinkha IV, patriarch of the Assyrian Church of the East, died March 26 at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. A virus infection and pneumonia were cited as the cause of death. He was 79.

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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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AMMAN, Jordan - Christian leaders again called for help for Assyrian Christians as Islamic State militants stepped up their attacks against their towns in northern Syria.

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BEIRUT - A pontifical aid organization has begun sending aid to families who fled their homes when Islamic State militants raided a cluster of Assyrian Christian villages on the Khabur River in northeast Syria.

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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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SANLIURFA, Turkey - Hassan, a chain-smoking 20-year-old from Syria, sits in a cafe across the border from his homeland, one of thousands who escaped the clutches of the Islamic State group.

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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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ROME - The kidnapping of Jesuit Father Alexis Prem Kumar has made Jesuit Refugee Service reassess the way it operates in many high-risk countries, said an agency official.

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SHARIAH COLLECTIVE, Iraq - Young children happily sing songs in Kurdish and Arabic, play interactive games, learn to count and how to read and write under a big colorful tent. Meanwhile, teens and pre-teens study more serious subjects.

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LONDON - A Chaldean Catholic archbishop called for the redeployment of American and British troops in Iraq to prevent the “genocide” of Christians and other minorities by Islamic State militants.

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AINKAWA, Iraq - One of Iraq's Christians chased out of her historic homeland quietly prayed the rosary as a bishop who traveled halfway around the world to meet her and others displaced celebrated Mass for them.

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AMMAN, Jordan - A Catholic official warned that funding will soon run out to feed and house thousands of Iraqi Christians sheltering in Jordan after being made homeless by Islamic State militants.
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VATICAN CITY - In his appeals for an end to the persecution of minorities in Syria and Iraq, Pope Francis often has mentioned both the Christians and the Yezidis attacked by Islamic State fighters.

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VATICAN CITY - Pope Francis deplored the "abuses and inhuman acts" of Islamic State militants, and called on all religious leaders to condemn them "unanimously and unambiguously." He also said he hoped to travel to the Middle East to comfort persecuted Christians there.

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