Catholic News Service photo
The Mediterranean Sea can be seen in this hilltop view from Bkerke, Lebanon.
Catholic News Service photo
The Mediterranean Sea can be seen in this hilltop view from Bkerke, Lebanon.

Pope Benedict will present a papal document addressing the church’s concerns in the Middle East, meet with representatives of local Lebanese Christian and Muslim communities, and address political and cultural leaders on a three-day visit, Sept. 14-16.

The document is based on the deliberations of a special synod of bishops held at the Vatican in 2009. That two-week meeting, which was attended by 185 bishops, most of them from the 22 Eastern Catholic Churches in communion with the Holy See, focused on the precarious circumstances of 5.7 million Catholics in 16 Middle Eastern countries. The pope’s trip to Lebanon occurs against the backdrop of unrest in neighboring Syria, where soldiers have been battling forces seeking an end to the rule of President Bashar Assad, leaving thousands of civilians dead.