- Exodus of biblical proportions
Hounded out of their homes by Islamist violence, Iraqi Christians face what many fear may be their final festive season in the land of their fathers as many prepare for exile
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Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, president of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, is to represent Pope Francis at tomorrow's reconsecration of the newly restored, 114-year-old Basilica of St Augustine in Annaba, the Algerian city once known as Hippo, where the saint was bishop from 395 to 430. The church was dedicated 100 years ago, on 24 April 1914.
In a letter, Pope Francis asked Cardinal Tauran to highlight to the largely Muslim country’s civil and religious authorities “the importance of the teaching of St Augustine for the people also of our time”.
Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI made a personal contribution towards the restoration of the Basilica, Vatican Radio reported, adding that because authorities in both Algeria and France, as well as a number of institutions, religious orders, and benefactors, provided the funds, the renovation has been described as a symbol of coexistence and fraternity between Christians and Muslims and between people who seek the truth.