On October 20, 2014, the Pope met with Cardinals and Patriarchs from the Middle East to discuss the dramatic situation of the Christians in the Middle East.

Pope Francis, Holy See Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin, 86 Cardinals and Middle Eastern Patriarchs convened to discuss the situation in the Middle East.

Cardinal Parolin reported to those assembled on the meeting of apostolic nuncios and diplomatic representatives in the Middle East, which took place in the Vatican from October 2 to 4. Immediately afterwards, about 30 Cardinals and Patriarchs present spoke. The Patriarchs of the Middle Eastern Churches described the situations and principal problems faced by the Churches in the countries concerned (Iraq, Syria, Egypt, Israel, Palestine, Jordan and Lebanon). The interventions focused mainly on the need for peace and reconciliation in the Middle East, the defense of religious freedom, support for local communities, the great importance of education for creating new generations able to engage in dialogue, and the role of the international community.

It was underlined that the Middle East urgently needs to redefine its future. The importance of Jerusalem was highlighted, in its role as "capital of faith" for the three great monotheistic religions. The need was emphasized for a solution to the Israeli-Palestine and Syrian conflicts. In relation to the violence perpetrated by ISIS, the Muslim extremists in Iraq and Syria, it was reiterated that no-one may kill in the name of God.

With regard to the support for local communities in the region, it was repeated that a Middle East without Christians would be a grave loss for all, as they have a fundamental role in maintaining equilibrium in the region, and have important commitments in the education sector. It is therefore essential to encourage Christians to stay in the Middle East and to persevere in their mission, as they have always contributed to the wellbeing of the countries where they live. From this perspective, there was a reflection on the problem of the migration of Christians: they must be welcomed in the Churches and in the States to which they emigrate, where it is hoped there will be adequate pastoral structures for the various rites. Moreover, it was requested that humanitarian aid to the Middle East be continued, to encourage Christians to remain in the area, and that the various manifestations of solidarity possible on the part of the Churches of other countries be cultivated, also by means of journeys and pilgrimages.

In relation to education, it was noted that in many Middle Eastern countries, school text books do not refer positively to beliefs other than the State religion, and that this requires reflection on the part of local institutions. From this point of view, it was hoped that greater interreligious dialogue with Muslims, starting from the common foundation of reason, would be of use, along with lively ecumenical cooperation, so that all the Churches of the Middle East might make their voices heard as one.

A request was made for the International community to guarantee to Christian refugees the possibility of returning to their homes as soon as possible, creating "safety zones", for instance on the Nineveh Plain. Finally, an appeal was made for all those who have been kidnapped in the Middle East, in order that the world not forget about them.