Mission to Aleppo, 18 January 2017


Press Release by the

Dicastery for Human Integral Development  

Mission to Aleppo by the Delegate Secretary

Msgr. Giampietro Dal Toso

The Holy Father assigned the Delegate Secretary for the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, Msgr. Giampietro Dal Toso, together with Card. Mario Zenari, the Apostolic Nuncio in Syria, and the Nunciature Advisor, Msgr. Thomas Habib to visit Aleppo from 18 to 23 January. This was the first official visit on behalf of representatives of the Holy See since the end of hostilities in Aleppo.


The delegation was therefore able to meet the Christian communities and their pastors, who expressed gratitude to the Pope for his constant concern for their beloved Syria. Visits were also made to Catholic institutions of charity and some refugee camps in Aleppo.
In particular, a humanitarian assistance center was launched by Caritas Aleppo in the district of Hanano. The mission also represented an opportunity to participate in a moment of ecumenical prayer organized during the Week for Christian Unity, and to verify the conditions of some Catholic hospitals present in Aleppo, in the light of a future project for the reconstruction and re-commissioning of the same. Furthermore, some meetings with Islamic representatives were held, emphasizing  the essential commitment of all religions to promote education towards peace and reconciliation. During the visit, civil and religious authorities paid tribute to the delegation, expressing particular gratitude for the Holy Father’s gesture of promoting the Papal Representative in Syria to Cardinal, an act through which they perceived the special closeness of the Holy Father to the tormented Syrian population.


Finally, during the meetings with Catholic charitable organizations, the importance of the assistance they provide to help the entire Syrian population, so devastated throughout recent years, emerged. With the support of the universal Church and thanks to the generous contribution of the international community, this help may intensify in the future in order to meet the increasing needs of the people. Some of the most basic and urgent needs for the Syrian people include food assistance, clothing, education, health care and housing support.


For information please contact the Press and Communications Office of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development: Roberto Paglialonga (r.paglialonga@humandevelopment.va), Pamela Fabiano (p.fabiano@humandevelopment.va), Claudia di Lorenzi (c.dilorenzi@humandevelopment.va ).