The top Roman Catholic clergyman in the Holy Land says he is concerned about the fate of Christians because of upheavals sweeping the Middle East.
In his annual pre-Christmas address in Jerusalem, Latin Patriarch Fouad Twal told his followers that he supports the changes taking place in favor of freedom and democracy and called on Christians to take part in the movements.
He also said he was praying for authorities to "protect the minorities" in the region.
Since the overthrow of Egypt's President Hosni Mubarak, Muslim extremists have torched churches and attacked Copts in the worst violence against the Christian community there in decades. Twal's territory does not include Egypt.
Twal, a Palestinian citizen of Jordan, ministers to some 70,000 Catholics in Israel, the Palestinian Authority, Cyprus and Jordan.