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Current Issue
September, 2018
Volume 44, Number 3
  
14 November 2018
Greg Kandra




In this image from 13 November, taxi drivers in Amman, Jordan, stage a protest against drivers from private hiring services. (photo: CNS/Andre Pain, EPA)



Tags: Jordan

14 November 2018
Greg Kandra




The video above shows the planned route and design for Jerusalem's proposed cable car system, which is facing mounting criticism from architects and activists. (video: Jewish Life/YouTube)

Iraq Prime Minister says ISIS militants seeking to enter Iraq (VOA) Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi said on Tuesday hundreds of Iraqi Islamic State militants at Deir al-Zor in eastern Syria were trying to cross into Iraq. The militants have launched attacks in recent weeks against U.S.-backed Kurdish forces on the Syrian side of the border, prompting Iraqi militias that operate alongside the army to reinforce in the area…

Russian-controlled church in Ukraine rejects unification (VOA) The Russian-controlled branch of the Orthodox Church in Ukraine said Tuesday that it would not participate in the establishment of a unified church there as Kiev seeks to cut spiritual ties with Moscow. The announcement came after a planned meeting between top pro-Moscow clerics and President Petro Poroshenko fell through…

Architects, activists slam Jerusalem cable car plan (AP) An Israeli plan to build a cable car to Jerusalem’s historic Old City has united architects and Palestinian activists in opposition to a project they say is both an eyesore and a ploy to entrench Israeli control over the city’s contested eastern sector. Developers say the proposed project is meant to relieve snarling traffic and will ferry some 3,000 tourists an hour from the western sector directly to the Old City, in east Jerusalem. It follows a series of Israeli projects in the combustible city that have enraged the Palestinians…

Jerusalem patriarchs offer to mediate monastery dispute in Egypt (Egypt Independent) Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem Theophilos III and Armenian Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem Nourhan Manougian offered to mediate between the Egyptian and Ethiopian churches to settle the issue of Deir Es-Sultan Coptic Orthodox Monastery in Jerusalem, an Egyptian Coptic Orthodox official said on Saturday…

Indian village still faces challenges three months after flooding (The Indian Express) After a gap of over two months, the familiar throbbing sound of the wooden handlooms can be heard once again in the bylanes of Chendamangalam, a small village in Kerala renowned for its centuries-old handwoven textiles. The devastating floods in mid-August, which left a pervasive trail of destruction across the state, had caused massive losses for the handloom cooperatives in Chendamangalam, home to nearly 600 weavers, most of them women…



Tags: Syria Egypt Jerusalem Kerala

13 November 2018
Greg Kandra




Mahinder Singh, a Dalit, sits with neighbors on charpai (cots of woven ropes) in their tiny village in Gangapar, India. (photo: John Mathew)

Indian Christians demand justice for Dalit Christians (Vatican News) India’s Catholics and Protestants jointly observed Dalit Liberation Sunday on 11 November with liturgy and activities calling for an end to discrimination suffered by Christians of lower-caste origins within the Christian community and in society. Bishop Sarat Chandra Nayak of Berhampur, chairman of the Office for Scheduled Castes/Backward Classes of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India (CBCI), asked people to remember the 100 poor Christians killed in anti-Christian violence in Odisha state’s Kandhamal 10 years ago…

Botched Gaza spy mission puts Israel back on the brink of war (The New York Times) On Sunday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu assured Israelis weary of conflict with Palestinians in the Gaza Strip that he was “doing everything I can in order to avoid an unnecessary war.” A day and a half later, Israel appeared to be on the brink of just that. After a botched intelligence mission by undercover commandos left seven Palestinian fighters dead, the militant group Hamas and other armed factions mounted an intense and escalating rocket and mortar barrage across much of southern Israel that continued into Tuesday morning…

Syrian Kurds resume push to remove ISIS from Syria (CNN) Syrian Kurdish forces are resuming the final phase of operations against ISIS, as the terrorist group is pushed back into its last remaining slivers of territory. The resumption comes as CNN releases remarkable and rare frontline footage of the recent intense fight against ISIS, filmed by Brazilian photographer Gabriel Chaim…

Holy See urges practical, effective action against human trafficking, slavery (Vatican News) The Holy See and the Catholic Church are deeply committed in the fight against human trafficking and modern slavery, both in tackling the drivers that fuel the scourge and in reaching out to victims. Archbishop Bernardito Auza, the Holy See’s Permanent Observer to the United Nations in New York made the statement on 9 November at a conference at the UN on “Practical Solutions to Eradicate Human Trafficking”…

Thousands join Ethiopia-Eritrea peace run (AFP) Thousands of Ethiopians and Eritreans took part in a 10km reconciliation run Sunday in Addis Ababa in the first joint sporting event since the former bitter foes launched a rapid diplomatic thaw in July. The peace run through the Ethiopian capital caught a new positive mood after years of “cold war”…

Conference explores Syriac Christianity (Vatican News) A two-day conference entitled “Syriac Christianity at the Crossroads of Cultures” gathered researchers from all over the world at the Pontifical Oriental Institute in Rome last week. Both Mar Gewargis III, Patriarch of the Assyrian Church of the East, and Cardinal Louis Sako, Patriarch of Babylon of the Chaldeans, participated in the opening session of the conference commemorating the 700th Anniversary of Abdisho of Nisibis…



Tags: India Ethiopia Israel Eritrea ISIS

9 November 2018
Greg Kandra




Pope Francis greets Mar Gewargis III, Catholicos Patriarch of the Church of the East. (photo: Vatican Media)

Pope prays for peace with head of Assyrian Church (Vatican News) During an audience with Mar Gewargis III, Pope Francis prayed for an end to the suffering of Christians in the Middle East, and celebrated the fruits of ecumenical dialogue between the Catholic Church and the Church of the East…

Syria war: Army frees 19 ISIS hostages (BBC) The Syrian army has freed 19 women and children held hostage since July by ISIS, state media say. They say the captives were rescued when troops launched an operation north-east of the desert city of Palmyra. The hostages were seized during an IS attack in the southern Suweida region. More than 200 people were killed. Suweida is a stronghold of the Druze religious minority, and the captives were drawn from this community…

Christians in Indian state seek religious freedom (UCANews.com) Christian leaders in India’s poll-bound Chhattisgarh state have presented a charter of demands to major political parties seeking to end discrimination and violence. The charter prepared by leaders of the ecumenical Chhattisgarh Christian Forum expressed concerns over the security of the miniscule Christian community in the central state, now ruled by the pro-Hindu Bharatiya Janata Party. It also calls on the next government to ensure freedom to practice religion...

Gaza youth protest march reaches Jerusalem (Haaretz) President Reuven Rivlin joined thousands of students from Gaza border communities and other communities across the country at a rally in Jerusalem on Thursday, the culmination of a five day march to protest the tension and hostilities along the border…



Tags: Syria India Assyrian Church Iran

8 November 2018
Greg Kandra




Youth of a Mishing community, an indigenous tribal group in India, put on a performance in their village. (photo: John E. Kozar)



Tags: India

8 November 2018
Greg Kandra




Egyptian Christians mourn during a 3 November funeral at Prince Tadros Orthodox Church in Minya. Gunmen killed seven pilgrims as they headed to a monastery on 2 November. Survivors have begun describing details of the attack. (photo: CNS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany, Reuters)

Russian military distributes food near Aleppo (TASS) Members of the Russian military have carried out a humanitarian mission, distributing 450 food sets to residents in a village in Syria’s Aleppo Province, Lieutenant General Vladimir Savchenko, chief of the Russian center for reconciliation of conflicting sides in Syria, told reporters on Wednesday…

Egypt’s Coptic monastery survivors describe bus attack (Arab News) Survivors from an attack on a convoy of Coptic Christian pilgrims have told Arab News of the horrific moments when extremists opened fire killing seven. The survivors included 7-year-old Mina Basem who lost his mother Reham Milad Yusuf in the attack. His older brother Fadi is recovering from his injuries. ”We visited the monastery and spent a wonderful time but on our way back we were attacked by two cars who fired on us,” Mina said. “I don’t remember anything after that.”A member of his family said Mina hid under the bus seats to avoid the bullets…

UN: ISIS left 200 mass graves in Iraq (BBC) More than 200 mass graves containing thousands of bodies have been found in areas of Iraq that were once controlled by the Islamic State (IS) group, a UN investigation has found. The graves were found in the north and western governorates of Nineveh, Kirkuk, Salahuddin and Anbar. They could contain as many as 12,000 victims, the UN report said.

Ethiopian Jews mark holiday in Jerusalem (Jewish Telegraphic Agency) On a national holiday for Ethiopian Jews, before a crowd of tens of thousands, the president of Israel vowed that the citizens of his country will not discriminate on the basis of skin color. “We are brothers and sisters, and anyone who tries to undermine that has no place amongst the tribes of Israel,” Reuven Rivlin said in his address Wednesday to mark Sigd, a state holiday since 2008 that marks the Ethiopians’ yearning to return to Jerusalem and Zion…

Schools opt for cleaner air during Diwali (Vatican News) As Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights approaches panic grips the Indian capital and its surroundings, with thick smog hanging in the air. Experts have warned that the air quality is expected to deteriorate drastically with the use of firecrackers in the run-up mark Diwali, which this year fell on Wednesday, 7 November. In a move against the annual threat, 12 Catholic schools in the national capital opted for a pollution-free Diwali this year…



Tags: Syria India Iraq Egypt

7 November 2018
Greg Kandra




Palestinian children receiving treatment are seen in early September at Augusta Victoria Hospital in East Jerusalem. U.S. Christian leaders expressed "grave concern" about the Trump administration's decision to stop financial assistance to six East Jerusalem hospitals.
(photo: CNS/Ammar Awad, Reuters)


U.S. completes food distribution at Syria camp near Jordan (Reuters) The United Nations has finished distribution of aid to thousands of Syrians, mostly women and children, stranded in the desert close to the border with Jordan, an aid official said on Wednesday. A U.N-led convoy of more than 70 trucks arrived on Saturday under Russian army protection after months of delay in the first such first aid delivery from inside Syria to the rebel-held camp that has over 50,000 people…

Christian leaders urge U.S. to restore aid to East Jerusalem hospitals (CNS) U.S. Christian leaders expressed “grave concern” about the Trump administration’s decision to stop financial assistance to six East Jerusalem hospitals. Israeli doctors from most of Israel’s major hospitals called the decision a blow to the health of the city…

Anger erupts in Egypt after massacre of Christian pilgrims (RNS) The Coptic bishop of this city south of Cairo, Anba Makarios, spent the weekend trying to comfort mourners after two buses carrying Coptic Christians were ambushed Friday as they left a monastery here, killing seven of the pilgrims and wounding 19. The Islamic State in Egypt claimed responsibility for the attack. But during Makarios’ appearance at Prince Tadros Church, as the bishop thanked provincial officials for issuing the necessary permits to conduct public funerals, the congregation erupted in anger…

Ethiopian Catholic Church pleased about first woman president (Vatican News) The Ethiopian Catholic Church says it is pleased that women in Ethiopia are getting their rightful place in the development of the country. According to a statement from the Ethiopian Catholic Secretariat, it is a blessing to see that Ethiopians are recognising the invaluable talent women have to offer to the integral development of the nation…

A political power struggle for the soul of the Orthodox church (Financial Times) I’m in a 17th-century monastery at the edge of Moscow’s Gorky Park, having a conversation that transports me several more centuries back in time. I’ve come to talk to Russian church officials about a new schism in the Orthodox church, a rupture that piqued my interest for its geopolitical dimension — and, in a small part, a personal one. I was raised Orthodox. “Any schism is bad,” Vladimir Legoida, a church official, tells me, as we look back to the Great Schism of 1054, the split between the Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches. “That’s a wound on the body of Christianity. We grieve it as a tragedy…”

Vatican sends ’cordial greetings’ to mark Deepavali (Vatican News) On 6 and 7 November, millions of people throughout the world will celebrate the Festival of Lights, or Deepavali. Rooted in the Hindu culture, Deepavali celebrates the triumph of good over evil. As is customary, the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue issued a message on 31 October entitled “Christians and Hindus: In Defense of the Vulnerable of Society”…



Tags: India Ethiopia Palestine Jerusalem Hindu

6 November 2018
Greg Kandra




Entertainers captivate children of all ages at Marie Doty Park in Bethlehem. (photo: CNEWA)

We were pleased to receive this update today on a project CNEWA has long supported in Bethlehem. Laura Schau-Tarazi in our Jerusalem office writes:

Marie Doty Park continues to be a beautiful green space for Bethlehem children and families. Our project coordinator, Gabi Kando, made a recent visit to the park to follow up on our work where two local area schools were holding activities.

Thanks to the Doty Foundation, work has been conducted during the year on various sections of the park including installing an alarm system and safety fence around the parameter of the park, new ventilators and new door for the multipurpose hall, games, rehabilitation of the water cistern and the procurement of new agricultural equipment. During this year, there has also been 16 children’s activities conducted so far, reaching 4,600 children. Additionally, the park hosted 38 different governmental and private schools and NGOs benefiting 2,500 children, as well as four summer camps for 500 children.

Some background on Marie Doty, from our magazine:

Over the years, Mrs. Doty, her husband, George, and their children have selflessly and generously supported CNEWA’s mission with their time, energy and financial resources.

Mrs. Doty played an active role in many agency works, including the restoration of the dome of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem and the development of the first recreational parks in Palestine. On a visit there more than a decade ago, she quietly observed, “The children have no place to play.”

Determined to remedy the situation, Marie and George Doty provided CNEWA with the funds to build and equip playgrounds and related facilities in Bethlehem, Gaza and Ramallah. In addition to swings and slides, handball and basketball courts, the parks feature fountains and green lawns, “luxuries” Palestinian children once associated with Israeli settlements.

Marie Doty entered eternal life in 2008 — but clearly, she left the children of Palestine a legacy of joy that endures to this day.

Marie Doty Park remains a peaceful oasis for children in Bethelehem. (photo: CNEWA)



Tags: Donors Bethlehem

6 November 2018
Greg Kandra




Dalit villagers gather for a prayer service in Bhikkawala, India. Christian Dalits across India will mark Dalit Liberation Sunday this weekend. (photo: John Matthew)

Fight against last vestige of ISIS stalls (The New York Times) An American-backed military offensive has stalled against the Islamic State’s last vestige in eastern Syria — in part because of the enemy that the allied fighting force had expected, and other threats that it very much had not…

Indian Christians to celebrate Dalit Liberation Sunday (Vatican News) Christians of various denominations in India are joining hands in jointly observing the Dalit Liberation Sunday (DLS) on Sunday. The Office for Scheduled Castes/Backward Classes (SC/BC) of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India (CBCI), and the National Council of Churches in India (NCCI), that comprises Protestant and Orthodox Churches, are marking the day on 11 November…

Is another Gaza war imminent? (Al Jazeera) Recently, rockets were fired into Israel from Gaza and three Palestinian children were killed in an Israeli air raid. Is another full-scale Israeli attack on the strip inevitable? Donald MacIntyre, former Jerusalem correspondent for The Independent and author of the book, “Gaza: Preparing for Dawn,” describes it as “a very fragile and dangerous situation”…

For one Moscow church, schism may spell end of unique status (Radio Free Europe) Tucked behind a Stalin-era skyscraper a short walk from Red Square, St. Nicetas is an “embassy church”, or metochi, of Mount Athos, the male-only monastic community in Greece that the world’s Orthodox Christians consider a spiritual home. While it belongs to the Russian Orthodox Church, St. Nicetas is symbolically tied to the mother church of Eastern Orthodoxy, the Constantinople Patriarchate, under whose jurisdiction Athos falls. ”On paper we’re part of the Moscow Patriarchate, but spiritually we represent Athos,” says Father Pyotr, a St. Nicetas clergyman who withheld his last name because he is not authorized to speak on the church’s behalf.

Is this how they built the pyramids? (CNN) Archeologists have spent centuries wondering how the towering pyramids of Giza were constructed thousands of years ago. Now, the discovery of a sophisticated ramp system has put them one step closer to solving the mystery. The remains of the 4,500-year-old ramp was found at an alabaster quarry -- of the same period -- in an Egyptian desert by a team of researchers from the University of Liverpool, UK, and Cairo’s French Institute for Oriental Archaeology…



Tags: Syria India Egypt Gaza Strip/West Bank

5 November 2018
Greg Kandra




The video above offers details of the deadly attack on Coptic Christians near a monastery in Minya, Egypt. (video: France 24/YouTube)

Pope Francis: ’A Christian cannot be an anti-Semite’ (Vatican News) Pope Francis on Monday held a meeting with representatives of the World Congress of Mountain Jews. It is the first time that a delegation from this community, which dates back to the 5th Century, has travelled to meet a Pope…

Egypt police kill 19 suspected in Coptic Christian attack (BBC) Nineteen Islamist militants accused of carrying out a deadly attack on Christians in Egypt have been killed by police, the interior ministry says. They died in a shoot-out after police pursued “fugitive terrorist elements” into the desert area west of Minya province, the statement said. Seven Coptic Christians were killed in an attack on two buses near a monastery in Minya on Friday…

Bishops in Holy Land speak out on Israel’s Nation State Law (Vatican News) It is out of a “spirit of dialogue” that the Catholic Bishops of the Holy Land speak out in a statement responding to the “issue of the Nation State Law passed by the Israeli Knesset on 19 July 2018. The legislation at issue limits the promotion and protection offered by the State of Israel to “Jewish citizens of the State of Israel”…

Missionaries of Charity agree to resume adoption service in India (UCANews.com) The Missionaries of Charity (MC) congregation has agreed to resume its service of giving children for adoption. The congregation founded by St. Teresa of Kolkata, commonly known as Mother Teresa, discontinued giving babies from their orphanages for adoption in October 2015 after disagreeing with a new federal law that allowed single and divorced woman to adopt children…

Luxury city could show future of Syria (AP) Marota City, as Syria’s largest investment project is known, is seen as setting the blueprint for how the government will undertake the ambitious rebuilding of areas devastated in the nearly eight-year civil war. The government is using controversial new property laws to create zones where partnerships of the government and businessmen take ownership of neighborhoods and redevelop them. Officials say the projects aim at re-planning slums and destroyed areas and attracting private investors to join the massively expensive task of reconstruction…

The soul of Russian Orthodox church bells (Al Jazeera) An automated future where the robots have stolen human jobs is a widespread modern concern. Even the most traditional of professions can be vulnerable, for example, church bell ringing in Russia…



Tags: Syria Egypt Israel Russian Orthodox Church Jews





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