File - Patriarch Beshara Rai holds a mass in Diman, Sunday, Aug. 25, 2013. (The Daily Star/Stringer)
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Arrangements are underway to set a meeting between Maronite Patriarch Beshara Rai and Eastern patriarchs and U.S. President Barack Obama in Washington to discuss the persecution of Christians in the Middle East, officials in Bkirki said Sunday.Rai is scheduled to leave for Washington Monday at the head of a delegation of Eastern Church patriarchs to attend a three-day conference on protecting the Christian presence in the Levant in the face of mounting threats posed to the community by ISIS and other takfiri groups in Syria and Iraq. The delegation of patriarchs includes Syriac Catholic Patriarch Ignace Joseph III Younan, Syriac Orthodox Patriarch Ignatius Aphrem II and Chaldean Catholic Patriarch Louis Sako.Rai headed a delegation of Eastern patriarchs to Iraq last month to show support and solidarity with Iraqi Christians suffering at the hands of ISIS militants in the northern city of Mosul. Earlier Sunday, Rai urged Lebanon's Christian politicians to incorporate Christian values into their political performance and immediately elect a new president.
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