The Vatican has launched an appeal for support for Christians in the Holy Land, seeking to stem the exodus from the ancient community.
The annual appeal, announced Monday, seeks to raise funds for schools, housing, scholarships and the restoration of Christian sites.
Members of the region's once large and prosperous communities are increasingly leaving conflict-ridden areas, including Iraq and the Palestinian territories, to seek better lives in the West.
Pope Benedict XVI addressed their plight during a pilgrimage to the Holy Land last year. The Vatican calls it vital to preserve the region's Christian roots.
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