UPDATE: Additional info in our story.
VATICAN CITY — Vatican sources are saying that Pope Benedict XVI will convene a Synod of Bishops for the Middle East to be held in October of 2010, to address the trials and tribulations of the Christian population in the region.
Patriarchs and other representatives from Eastern churches were arriving in Rome Friday, and the pope was to meet with them Saturday morning to discuss the initiative, the sources said. An announcement was expected in coming days.
Pope Benedict has spoken frequently about the pressures faced by Christian and Catholic minorities in the Middle East, particularly in the Holy Land and in Iraq. The synod would provide an opportunity for a much-needed strategizing session at the level of the universal church, one source said.
Late in the day, the Vatican press office released the names of the patriarchs and other representatives meeting tomorrow with the pope. They include the Chaldean patriarch, Cardinal Emmanuel-Karim Delly of Baghdad; Latin Patriarch Fouad Twal of Jerusalem; the Lebanon-based Maronite patriarch, Cardinal Nasrallah Pierre P. Sfeir; and representatives of the Ukrainian, Syro-Malabar, Coptic, Melkite, Syrian, Armenian, Romanian and Syro-Malankar rites.