VATICAN CITY, 25 OCT 2008 (VIS) - Yesterday afternoon, patriarchs and archbishops from Eastern Catholic churches who are participating in the current meeting of the Synod of Bishops, delivered an appeal to the Holy Father "in favour of our brothers and sisters of the East", in which they ask for "the confirmation of all attempts being made to favour peace, freedom and truth in love".

In the text of the appeal, which appeared on the pages of the "Osservatore Romano" newspaper, the prelates write: "Our hearts are moved by the suffering of so many of our sons and daughters of the East. Children and youth, people in extreme difficulty because of their age, health or essential spiritual and material needs; families perennially tempted to despair over the present and the future. We feel it our duty to voice their justifiable hopes that everyone may soon be guaranteed a dignified life, in fruitful social coexistence.

"Peace is the work of justice! This is an imperative we cannot ignore. We ask, then, for peace in justice, of which real religious freedom is a guarantee, and especially for the Holy Land which was the birthplace of Christ the Redeemer, for Lebanon, Iraq and India.

"We remain close to people suffering for their Christian faith and to all believers prevented from professing their religion. We pay homage to Christians who have recently lost their lives for faithfulness to the Lord".

"Before the Pope and the Synod Fathers, encouraged by their fraternity, we present this urgent request: to Christians and all men and women of good will, demonstrate respect and acceptance of others in daily life, drawing close to all those in need, at home and far away; to pastors and religious leaders, preach and support such an attitude by sustaining and increasing initiatives of mutual understanding, dialogue and assistance; to the international community and politicians, guarantee true religious freedom at a legislative level, by overcoming all discrimination and helping those who are forced to leave their own land for religious reasons".