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September, 2017
Volume 43, Number 3
  
4 March 2016
J.D. Conor Mauro




Spanish-born Archbishop Alberto Ortega Martin, the apostolic nuncio to Iraq and Jordan, blesses a woman during a visit at the Ashti camp in Erbil on 4 March. (photo: Safin Hamed/AFP/Getty Images)

The first-ever refugee team will be competing at the Rio Olympics (Global Citizen) For the first time in history, the Olympics will have a team made up entirely of refugees. The International Olympic Committee (I.O.C.) announced on Wednesday the creation of a “Team Refugee Olympic Athletes.” Previously, the I.O.C. has stepped up to support refugees by donating $2 million for sports projects helping refugees. And during this year’s Olympic torch journey, a refugee will also take part in carrying the torch through a refugee camp in Athens, Greece. Except for the fact that they aren’t representing any country, the refugee team will be like any other team at the Olympics. In the opening ceremony, they will be marching behind the Olympic flag in front of the host team, Brazil…

Under strain, Europe tells migrants to seek work elsewhere (New York Times) As Europe’s migrant crisis spiraled toward yet another humanitarian catastrophe, a European Union leader issued a stark warning Thursday to millions in search of economic opportunity: Stay away. “Do not come to Europe,” said Donald Tusk, the president of the European Council, which represents the bloc’s 28 leaders. “Do not believe the smugglers. Do not risk your lives and your money. It is all for nothing. Greece or any other European country will no longer be a transit country…”

In Ukraine towns ravaged by war, evangelical missionaries find fertile ground (New York Times) Maryinka, a Ukrainian-held town of apartment blocks and one-story homes outside the rebel capital of Donetsk, has become a hot spot not only for fighting, but also for saving souls. As Ukrainian forces and Russian-backed separatists carry on an almost forgotten fight in half-deserted towns like this one, despite a year-old cease-fire, several well-organized evangelical groups are staging a campaign of their own. Based on their accounts and evidence seen here, they are finding fertile ground for their efforts…

Christian town in Syria bears scars of fierce fighting (AINA) Its historic churches pillaged by militants and buildings riddled with shrapnel, the ancient Christian town of Maaloula, north of Damascus, still bears the scars of the fierce fighting that devastated it two years ago. Residents vividly recall the shock they felt when they returned to their town after it was recaptured by the Syrian army from the Al Nusra Front — Al Qaeda’s branch in Syria — and other militants in 2014…

Dalit Christians complain to Jesuit general against discrimination in church (Vatican Radio) India’s Dalit Catholics complained last week to the visiting Jesuit superior general about discrimination within the Catholic Church. Jesuit Father Adolfo Nicolas, head of the Society of Jesus, who was on a visit to India, received their memorandum on 27 February, when he met a delegation from the Dalit Christian Liberation Movement in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu…

Water wars intensify between Egypt, Ethiopia (Al Monitor) Controversy continues to swirl around the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, with conflicting reports emerging about how soon Ethiopia will begin storing water there…



Tags: Syria Iraq Ukraine Refugees Middle East Christians

3 March 2016
Greg Kandra




Children make up a large part of the Iraqis who have been displaced and now live in Dohuk. To learn more about their plight, read Msgr. John E. Kozar’s impressions of a trip he made to the region last year in the Summer 2015 edition of ONE. (photo: John E. Kozar)



Tags: Iraq Children Iraqi Christians Iraqi

3 March 2016
Greg Kandra




In the video above, a priest with the Jesuit Refugee Service in Syria expresses his hope that diplomacy can bring peace to the troubled country. (video: Rome Reports)

Syria faces massive blackout (BBC) Syria has suffered a massive power blackout across the country due to “unknown reasons,” state media said. Officials were cited as saying power had been cut in all provinces and teams were trying to determine the cause…

Iraqis seek rights for displaced Christians (Fides) While U.S. military sources confirm that the next objective in the fight against ISIS will be to take back Mosul, a petition has been forwarded by Iraqi Chaldean Raed Yitzhak to Prime Minister Haider al Abadi requesting resources be allotted to persons who fled Mosul and the Plain of Nineveh…

Yazidi refugees returning to Sinjar (The Guardian) Yazidis fled Sinjar in northern Iraq when ISIS attempted to wipe them out in August 2014. Now they are leaving refugee camps and going back to rebuild their lives in the city, which has been recaptured by Kurdish forces…

U.N.: Death toll in Ukraine conflict tops 9,000 (The New York Times) The United Nations said on Thursday that 236 civilians were killed in conflict-related violence in Ukraine in the 12-month period to mid-February, and it estimated that at least 9,160 had died since the conflict started in April 2014…

Blasphemy trials on the rise in Egypt (Al Monitor) Despite calls for reform, lawsuits that infringe on freedom of expression are still being pursued under the concept of hisbah, an Islamic doctrine involving the promotion of virtue and prevention of vice…



Tags: Syria Iraq Egypt Ukraine Yazidi

2 March 2016
Greg Kandra




An altar server waits for the liturgy to begin at Holy Family Chaldean Catholic Mission in Phoenix. To learn more about Chaldeans who have settled in the United States, read Nineveh, U.S.A. in the Winter 2015 edition of the magazine. (photo: Nancy Wiechec)



Tags: Iraq Iraqi Christians United States Migrants Chaldeans

2 March 2016
Greg Kandra




Iraqis inspect the damage at the site of an ISIS bombing near a market in the Sadr City area of northern Baghdad on 28 February 28. (photo: Ahmad al Rubaye/AFP/Getty Images)

Iraq: U.N. reports more than 400 civilians killed in February (U.N. News Center) Acts of terrorism, violence and armed conflict in Iraq claimed the lives of 670 people, including 410 civilians, in February 2016, the United Nations political mission in that country has reported…

U.S. Captures first ISIS operative in Iraq (CNN) U.S. Special Operations forces have captured their first suspected ISIS operative in Northern Iraq as part of a highly secretive targeting team led by the Army’s elite Delta Force, CNN has learned…

Syria’s drought ‘worst in 900 years’ (The Guardian) War has been the direct driver of the refugee flux and behind that is a complex mix of social and political factors both inside and outside the region. One fiercely studied and debated driver has been a recent dip into a series of severe droughts starting in the late 1990’s. Previous work has prescribed some of the drought — and its impact on the socioeconomic fabric in the Middle East — to climate change. New findings published in the Journal of Geophysical Research-Atmospheres put it in even starker context, showing that the drought is likely the worst to affect the region in 900 years…

Spring rains bring some relief to Ethiopia (Reuters) Rain in parts of Ethiopia is bringing some relief to Africa’s second most populous nation, which is in the grip of its worst drought in 50 years. More than one in ten Ethiopians will require food aid this year, prompting the Ethiopian government and United Nations to appeal for $1.4 billion to respond to the emergency. “Overall, the crisis is going to worsen up until August or September,” said John Graham, country director for Save the Children. “We have not seen the worst yet...”

Newly launched TV news channel declares ‘war on war’ in Lebanon (Fides) In the heart of the Middle East region torn apart by bloody conflict, a new satellite TV channel will share news “from the Catholic point of view,” in order to “build bridges of peace” and “work for the common good.” This is the ambitious program adopted by a channel launched yesterday by TV network Noursat-Tele Lumiere, in Dora, a northeastern suburb of Beirut…



Tags: Syria Iraq Ethiopia United Nations Drought

1 March 2016
J.D. Conor Mauro




Students at Ashabhavan tackle a variety of arts and crafts projects. To learn more about how this institution changes the lives of children with special needs, read Kerala’s House of Hope, appearing in the Winter 2015 edition of ONE. (photo: Jose Jacob)



Tags: India Children Disabilities Catholic education

1 March 2016
J.D. Conor Mauro




Migrants find shelter outside the passenger terminal after arriving from the islands at the port of Piraeus in Athens on 1 March. (photo: Milos Bicanski/Getty Images)

U.N. agency warns of imminent humanitarian crisis in Greece (U.N. News Center) Europe faces an imminent humanitarian crisis, largely of its own making, following a rapid build-up of people in already over-stretched Greece, the United Nations refugee agency warned today…

About 27,000 Syrian refugees stranded near Jordanian border (Al Monitor) Amman is blocking approximately 27,000 Syrian refugees from leaving a Jordanian desert area near the country’s northeast border, an international aid official citing Jordanian border guards told Al Monitor. The number of Syrian refugees in Rukban and Hadalat is significantly higher than the number the Associated Press reported earlier…

Syrian army takes land east of Damascus during fragile truce (Yahoo! News) Syrian armed forces took territory east of Damascus on Monday, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said, on the third day of a fragile international attempt to halt nearly five years of fighting…

U.S. warns of ‘tsunami wave’ across Iraq if Mosul Dam collapses (AINA) Iraq’s Mosul Dam faces “unprecedented” risk of a “catastrophic failure” that would unleash a wave of water which could flatten cities and kill hundreds of thousands within hours, the United States has said. The American government issued an unusually stark warning of the horrors that face Iraq if the dam gives way, describing a “tsunami-like wave” that would crush nearly a third of the country…

Number of Christians in the Gaza Strip continues to dwindle (Fides) The small Christian presence in Gaza Strip continues to dwindle. In recent months, at least 30 young people decided to leave the land in which they were born to emigrate and funeral services are frequent as elderly community members reach the end of their life on earth, says the Rev. Mario da Silva, parish priest of the Latin Catholic Holy Family Church…

Egypt’s Pope Tawadros II appoints new archbishop of Jerusalem (AllAfrica) Patriarch of the Coptic Orthodox Church Pope Tawadros II enthroned a new Coptic Orthodox metropolitan archbishop for Jerusalem and the Near East on Sunday. Archbishop Theodor Antonine was ordained in a ceremony attended by the ambassadors of Palestine and Syria, according to a statement posted on Pope Tawadros II’s official website…



Tags: Syria Iraq United Nations Migrants Greece

29 February 2016
Greg Kandra




Abune Mathias I, patriarch of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church, visited Pope Francis today. (video: Rome Reports)

Pope Francis today met with His Holiness Abune Mathias, Patriarch of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church:

During the meeting the bishop of Rome emphasized that the patriarch’s visit strengthens the fraternal bonds that already unite both churches. He mentioned as milestones of the common path towards unity His Holiness Abune Paulos’s encountered with St. John Paul II in 1993 and with Pope Benedict XVI in 2009, who invited him to participate in the Synod of Bishops for Africa as was common practice in the early church for representatives to be sent to the synods of other churches. Likewise, a delegation from the Holy See was present at the 2012 funeral of Patriarch Abune Paulos.

Moreover, as Francis explained, since 2004 the Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox churches have deepened their communion through theological dialogue in the International Joint Commission, which over the years has analyzed the fundamental concept of the churches’ communion understood as participation in the communion between Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Many things have been found in common: one faith, one baptism, one Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, and many elements of the monastic traditions and the liturgy. “What unites us,” the pope said, “is greater than what divides us.”

The meeting comes at a time when Ethiopia is facing tremendous challenges. As we’ve reported in our magazine, the country is undergoing rapid urbanization and contending with the worst drought in decades. To learn more about the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church — and its rich history in Africa — check out our profile from the May 2010 edition of ONE.



Tags: Pope Francis Ecumenism Christian Unity Patriarchs Ethiopian Orthodox Church

29 February 2016
Bradley H. Kerr





Spring has arrived early in New York City, and, during a much-needed spring-cleaning of my desk, I uncovered this memento from a trip to the Holy Land back in 2013.

I met the little artist who drew this card at the Infant Welfare Center, in the Christian Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem. He’s one of about 27,500 Palestinian Arabs who, since Israel seized the Old City in 1967, still live within its ancient stone walls.

Jerusalem is a prosperous place, but many of the Palestinian families are deeply poor. The children of the Old City suffer from overcrowded housing, a lack of access to health care and limited educational opportunities — as well as a permeating mood of frustration and hopelessness. At bottom, they’re victims of the conflict between Israel and Palestine.

But behind the heavy metal door of the Infant Welfare Center, I didn’t see any suffering. The happy shouts of children filled the 700-year-old building with joy.

The center is a program of the Greek Catholic Annunciation Society and houses a kindergarten, a health clinic, tutoring for at-risk teens and other services that address genuine needs of the Palestinian children in the Old City. It’s a very impressive place. The youngsters I met there were just four or five years old, but the center was already teaching them English. We sang “Row, Row, Row Your Boat” together.

Now that the card has been rescued from the bottom of a drawer, it’s hanging on the wall above my desk. And I want to thank you for the wonderful memory. Because the Infant Welfare Center is supported by your generous donations to CNEWA.



Tags: Palestine Jerusalem Education

29 February 2016
Greg Kandra




Refugees speak to the press on the Greek-Macedonia border on 29 February 2016 in Idomeni, Greece. (photo: Pierre Crom/Getty Images)

Pope prays for refugees, Syria (Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Sunday prayed for refugees fleeing wars and what he called “other inhuman situations.” In particular, he drew attention to the migrant crisis in Greece and in other countries that are on the front line in offering aid to those in need which he added, required the cooperation of all nations…

Syria’s cease-fire holding (Time Magazine) A fragile cease-fire remained intact for a third day in parts of Syria on Monday, even as monitoring groups reported renewed Russian airstrikes on areas held by opponents of the Syrian government. The cease-fire applies only to the government and its allies, and a handful of rebel groups…

Canada welcomes 25,000th Syrian refugee (CBC) A plane touched down in Montreal on Saturday night carrying the 25,000th Syrian refugee to arrive in Canada since November. It marks the end of the first phase of the resettlement program launched by the Liberal government shortly after taking office…

Pope Francis to Ethiopian patriarch: Martyrs are the seed of Christian unity (Vatican Radio) Pope Francis urged world leaders to “promote peaceful coexistence” in the face of “a devastating outbreak of violence against Christians” on Monday, when he received the patriarch of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church, Abune Matthias I, in the Vatican…

U.S. warns of ‘catastrophic failure’ if Mosul dam breaks (CNN) Iraq’s Mosul Dam is facing a “serious and unprecedented risk of catastrophic failure with little warning,” the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad warned on Sunday. “A catastrophic breach of Iraq’s Mosul Dam would result in severe loss of life, mass population displacement, and destruction of the majority of the infrastructure within the path of the projected floodwave,” the U.S. government said in a fact sheet…

After 20 years, Palestinians in Gaza can once again go to the movies (Reuters) Palestinians in the Gaza Strip are enjoying their first night out at the movies since political tensions led to the torching of cinemas in the enclave 20 years ago. Hollywood blockbusters have yet to return and Hamas Islamists, who now rule Gaza, are looking out for anything they consider immodest. Nevertheless, the projectors are rolling again, in a newly opened cinema whose shows have been limited so far to films about the Palestinian struggle for statehood…

Christians protest book claiming Jesus was a Hindu (Christian Today) Indian Christians in Maharashtra state have protested against a book by one of the founders of the right-wing Hindu nationalist political organization Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (R.S.S.) claiming Jesus was a Hindu. First published in 1946 and written by Ganesh Savarkar, Christ Parichay — translated into English as “Jesus was a Tamil Hindu” — claims Jesus was a Brahmin and that Christianity is just a sect of Hinduism…



Tags: Syria Iraq India Ethiopia Gaza Strip/West Bank





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