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Maaloula is near the war-torn capital city of Damascus (CNS)

Syrian nuns moved to rebel-held town

The 12 nuns have been moved from Maaloula to the nearby town of Yabroud

Pope Francis (CNS)

Pope makes plea during general audience in St Peter’s Square

Francis at this morning's general audience in St Peter's Square (AP)

Today’s Catholic must-reads: 04/12/13

A daily guide to what’s happening in the Catholic Church

Chaldean Catholic Bishop Antoine Audo of Aleppo (CNS)

Five nuns were snatched from the Orthodox Monastery of Santa Tecla near Damascus

Pope Francis shakes hands with Russian President Vladimir Putin during a private audience. Below: The pair sit down for talks (CNS and video via Rome Reports )

Peace in the Middle East top of the agenda as Pontiff welcomes Russian President to the Vatican

Lady Warsi has warned of growing persecution in the region

Exodus is on a biblical scale, says Baroness Warsi

Archbishop Mario Zenari  (AP)

No casualties reported after apostolic nunciature in Damascus hit by rocket on Tuesday morning

Archbishop Francis A. Chullikatt

Papal nuncio to the UN tells panel Church has helped “refugees for centuries and will always do it”

Three men at mourned at a church in Damascus (Photo: CNS)

Bishop Melki says he fears that the situation of Syria will become like that in Iraq

Pope Francis greets people during his general audience in St Peter's Square at the Vatican on Wednesday (CNS)

Francis elaborates on ‘Church as mother’ theme during general audience