Vatican City: World powers seem unable to solve conflicts causing "terrible suffering" to Christians and other minorities in the Middle East, Pope Francis told the head of the Syrian Orthodox Church on Friday.
"In the Middle East your Church and other Christian communities and minorities continue to endure terrible suffering caused by war, violence and persecution."
"How much pain! How many innocent victims! Yet the world's powerful seems incapable of finding solutions," Francis told Patriarch of Antioch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II during a meeting at the Vatican.
He invited the patriarch to join him in prayer for "all the victims of this heinous violence".
A "special place" should be reserved in their prayers for two Orthodox bishops abducted in Syria in April 2013, Gregorios Ibrahim of the Syrian Orthodox Church and Paul Yazigi, Francis said.
"Let us also recall various priests and many individuals from different groups who are deprived of their liberty," Francis told Aphrem II.