The minority situation in which Christians are found in the Middle East is an urgent reason for meeting in what could be called an “ecumenism of life”. In his own Letter to Christians in the Middle East, the Holy Father underlined this ecumenical call to holiness for Christians in all the Churches of the Middle East: “The situation in which are you living is a powerful summons to holiness of life, as saints and martyrs of every Christian community have attested”.
When difficulties become suffering, this ecumenism of holiness becomes an ecumenism of blood. Since the beginning of his pontificate, Pope Francis has made this topic one of his main ecumenical themes. Among the various statements, I recall his words at the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem: “When Christians of different confessions suffer together, side by side, and assist one another with fraternal charity, there is born an ecumenism of suffering, an ecumenism of blood. … Those who kill, persecute Christians out of hatred, do not ask if they are Orthodox or Catholics: they are Christians. The blood of Christians is the same” (25 May 2014).