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Current Issue
September, 2018
Volume 44, Number 3
  
30 July 2018
Greg Kandra




A Syrian boy walks at a refugee camp in Zahrani, Lebanon last month. Russia is pushing for refugees to return home. (photo: CNS/Ali Hashisho, Reuters)

Syrian refugees fear Russian repatriation (Vatican News) Russia, a key backer of hardline Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, wants refugees to go home, though an ongoing conflict in Syria has killed more than 350,000 people and displaced millions. The Russian special presidential envoy for Syria, Alexander Lavrentiev, told reporters he had discussed the repatriation of refugees with government officials during his visits Thursday to Jordan and Lebanon…

Cardinal: call to ban confession in India is against freedom of religion (Vatican News) The Catholic Church of India has expressed shock that the government’s National Commission for Women (NCW) has called for abolishing the Sacrament of Confession, saying it is undue interference in a sacred an vital issue of Christian life. Cardinal Oswald Gracias, Archbishop of Bombay, the president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India (CBCI) issued a press release on 27 July saying the demand by the commission is absurd…

Latin Patriarchate issues statement about new Israeli Nation-State Law (Latin Patriarchate website) The recently enacted Basic Law: “Israel, the Nation-State of the Jewish People” is a cause of great concern. Seemingly enacted for internal political reasons, while defining Israel as the nation state of the Jewish people, the law fails to provide any constitutional guarantees for the rights of the indigenous and other minorities living in the country. Palestinian citizens of Israel, constituting 20 percent are flagrantly excluded from the law…

Ukraine’s president calls Russian Orthodox Church a security threat (Politico) Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko on Saturday called the influence of the Russian Orthodox Church a national security threat. At a ceremony marking the country’s conversion to Christianity 1,030 years ago, AFP reported that the Ukrainian leader said that the Russian church’s sway among Ukrainian believers is a “direct threat to the national security of Ukraine.” The head of state also added that “this obliges us to act…”

Indian state ’treats Christians as terrorists’ (UCANews.com) All nine Catholic bishops of India’s northeastern Jharkhand state have sought federal intervention to stop Christians being treated like terrorists as part of alleged state government harassment. The bishops told governor Draupadi Murmu, who is the representative of the Indian president, that the state government led by the pro-Hindu Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had used its Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS) to probe Christian institutions…

Egypt investigates death of Coptic bishop (Egyptian Streets) Following the gruesome discovery of the corpse of Bishop Epiphanius, Egypt’s Coptic Orthodox Church announced that authorities would be officially investigating the death. Bishop Epiphanius was the head of Anba Makar Monastery (Saint Macarius the Great) near Wadi el-Natroun. The church issued a statement on Sunday that the bishop had died in ‘strange circumstances…’



Tags: Syria India Egypt

27 July 2018
Greg Kandra




The video report above shows the aftermath of the attack by ISIL (ISIS) in Syria on Wednesday that left more than 200 people dead. (video: RT/YouTube)

Gruesome massacre in Syria is a reminder ISIS is far from dead (CNN) The militants went from home to home, killing families as they slept, before launching several suicide bombings on Wednesday, targeting a bustling vegetable market as well as government-held positions in the southern Syrian province of Suwayda. When the attackers ran out of ammunition, they detonated their explosive vests. By the day’s end more than 200 people were dead, and 180 wounded, in a gruesome massacre claimed by ISIS. The coordinated assault is a chilling reminder that ISIS is far from dead…

Reports: Ethiopian Prime Minister brings end Orthodox schism (AFP) Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has overseen the reunification of two feuding wings of the one of the world’s oldest Christian churches, his top aide said Friday. The Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church split in 1991 over the naming of a new patriarch after the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) removed the Derg military junta from power. Abiy oversaw a reunification ceremony in Washington, attended by priests in flowing black and red robes, state media reported…

Indian Christians upset by call to abolish confession (UCANews.com) An Indian federal agency has proposed abolishing the sacrament of confession on grounds that Christian priests misuse it to blackmail and target women, but church officials believe the plan is unnecessary interference in religious affairs…

Lebanon welcomes Russian proposal on refugees (The Daily Star) Lebanese officials Thursday welcomed Russia’s proposal for the return of Syrian refugees, pledging to form a committee to oversee the return with General Security playing a key role, according to a source with knowledge of the discussions…

Russian Orthodox Church slams plan to continue selling beer at stadiums (Reuters) The Russian Orthodox Church has criticized a proposed plan for Russia to relax its ban on beer sales at sports stadiums after a regional official asked President Vladimir Putin to continue sales after the World Cup. Russia relaxed its 2005 ban on alcohol sales at stadiums for the football tournament this summer in line with football governing body FIFA’s regulations. Beer sales in the 11 host cities rose by up to 39 percent during the tournament…



Tags: Syria India Lebanon Ethiopia

26 July 2018
Greg Kandra




In this image from last summer, a displaced Iraqi boy fills a bottle with water in Jada, Iraq. Iraqi Cardinal Louis Raphael Sako has issued a letter to his flock, asking them to promote harmony in their country. (photo: CNS/Suhaib Salem, Reuters) Caption

Iraqi cardinal appeals for citizens to come together (Vatican News) Recently appointed Iraqi Cardinal Louis Raphael Sako issued an appeal in a heart-felt letter to the citizens of Iraq this week. In his letter he asks for help from the people in order to promote harmony, unity and partnership in their country…

Death toll from ISIS attack in Syria climbs to 216 (AP) The death toll from coordinated attacks by Islamic State fighters on a usually peaceful southern Syrian city and surrounding countryside has climbed to 216, a local health official said Thursday, in the worst violence to hit the area since the country’s conflict began. Mass funerals were held in the city of Sweida on Thursday, a day after the wave of attacks that began in the early hours of the mourning and lasted for hours. The city was the scene of several suicide bombings, including one at a busy vegetable market that left a scene of devastation and set in motion the coordinated assaults…

Caste bias alleged at Indian relief camp (The Hindu) A group of people belonging to the Dalit community have alleged that they faced caste discrimination at a relief camp at Pallippad panchayat in Alappuzha district. Fifty-six members of the community, belonging to 23 families, registered a complaint with Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and District Collector S. Suhas, stating that members of the Christian community had humiliated them at a relief camp functioning at Anjilimoodu L.P. School. Mr. Suhas has ordered a probe into the complaint…

Thousands of Syrian refugees want to remain in Lebanon (The Daily Star) At least 30,000 Syrian refugees who fought against the Syrian army hope to remain in Lebanon, a representative of Russia’s Foreign Ministry said Tuesday…

Russian Orthodox patriarch hopes anniversary will bring peace to Ukraine (RT) The head of the Russian Orthodox Church has expressed hope that the forthcoming 1030th anniversary of Christianization of the Kievan Rus, and planned celebrations for the event, will help to overcome strife in Ukraine…



Tags: Syria Iraq Iraqi Christians ISIS

20 July 2018
Greg Kandra




In the town of Aiga, Ethiopia, children receive nutritionally dense biscuits from a school meal program. Read more about how CNEWA is serving others — and serving the Gospel — in Msgr. John E. Kozar’s ‘Focus’ feature in the current edition of ONE.(photo: John E. Kozar)



Tags: Ethiopia

20 July 2018
Greg Kandra




In this image from 2017, U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres smiles as he visits with Syrian refugee women at Zaatari camp near Mafraq, Jordan. Jordan closed its border this year and refused to admit any more refugees, sparking a dramatic public backlash. (photo: CNS/Ammar Awad, Reuters)

Jordan shut out refugees — and then saw a backlash (The Washington Post) Over the past month, fighting in southern Syria has displaced more than 300,000 people — the most at any one time in Syria’s nearly seven-year civil war. More than 60,000 of these Syrians fled south, hoping to find safety in Jordan. But Jordan’s government closed the border and refused to let them in, claiming the country has already done enough to help Syrian refugees. Many Jordanians reacted angrily to the government’s position — #OpenTheBorders became a top trending Twitter hashtag in the country as people called the decision shameful and vowed to share their bread with the refugees…

India court steps in to try and contain mob violence (UCANews.com) India’s Supreme Court has asked parliament to introduce a new law to curb a dramatic spike in mob attacks and lynching incidents. The top court on 17 July directed states to set up special or fast-tracked courts to conduct trials of lynching perpetrators. It also wanted lower courts to hand down the maximum punishment for crimes involving mob attacks…

Israeli law declares the country a ’nation-state of the Jewish people’ (The New York Times) Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel has long demanded that the Palestinians acknowledge his country’s existence as the “nation-state of the Jewish people.” On Thursday, his governing coalition stopped waiting around and pushed through a law that made it a fact. In an incendiary move hailed as historic by Mr. Netanyahu’s right-wing coalition but denounced by centrists and leftists as racist and anti-democratic, Israel’s Parliament enacted a law that enshrines the right of national self-determination as “unique to the Jewish people” — not all citizens…

Italian bishops warn against culture of fear that rejects migrants (Vatican News) A statement released on Thursday by the Italian Bishops’ Conference warns against a current climate of fear in the country that has led to a political crackdown against immigration. The statement, entitled “Migrants, from fear to welcome” notes that we are becoming accustomed to images of an ongoing tragedy in which so many die or witness death during their journeys of hope…

Artist brings Jewish figures to life with paper (The Jerusalem Post) King David, a crusader queen, and Suleiman the Magnificent—these are just some of the ancient figures that have been brought to life by Karen Sargysan. The famed Dutch-Armenian artist spent months creating a series of colorful aluminum sculptures of a slew of historical and biblical characters who helped shape Jerusalem’s history. They are on display at “Rock, Paper, Scissors,” a new exhibition at the Tower of David Museum, which is located in the Old City of Jerusalem…



Tags: India Jerusalem Jordan Migrants

19 July 2018
Greg Kandra




People form a human chain in India's Jharkhand state on 15 July to protest what they say is state-sponsored harassment of Christians. (photo: UCANews.com)

Climate change is killing the cedars of Lebanon (The New York Times) After centuries of human depredation, the cedars of Lebanon face perhaps their most dangerous threat: Climate change could wipe out most of the country’s remaining cedar forests by the end of the century…

Syrian media: two pro-government villages evacuated (AP) All the residents of two Syrian pro-government villages in the country’s northwest — over 7,000 people — who were besieged by the rebels for three years were evacuated on Thursday to government-held territory, Syria’s state-run media reported…

Thousands protest harassment of Christians in India (UCANews.com) About 10,000 Christians in eastern India’s Jharkhand state formed a 20-kilometer [about 12 miles] human chain to protest what they call the state-sponsored harassment of Christians and a hate campaign against them. The mostly indigenous Christians say their government, run by the pro-Hindu Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), has developed policies to take away their rights and land…

More Syrian refugees to leave Lebanon (The Daily Star) Two more groups of Syrian refugees will return to their homeland from Lebanon in the “next few days,” General Security chief Abbas Ibrahim said Thursday. ”The first group of about 1,000 [refugees] will leave from Arsal,” Ibrahim said to LBCI. Earlier Thursday, during a ceremony marking the opening of a security building in Baalbeck, Ibrahim said a security plan in the Bekaa Valley would serve the people. “They have their rights, [which] they will receive,” he said…

Emotional reunion of Ethiopian and Eritrean families (Borkena.com) The burden of Ethio-Eritrea conflict was heavy on some families. Families have lost loved ones as more than 80,000 people were killed on both sides during the two years war. But there were also families who were condemned to live separately until the rapprochement initiated by the prime minister Abiy Ahmed brought about peace between the two countries after 20 years of stalemate…



Tags: Syria Lebanon Ethiopia Indian Catholics

19 July 2018
Greg Kandra




People form a human chain in India's Jharkhand state on 15 July to protest what they say is state-sponsored harassment of Christians.

Climate change is killing the cedars of Lebanon (The New York Times) After centuries of human depredation, the cedars of Lebanon face perhaps their most dangerous threat: Climate change could wipe out most of the country’s remaining cedar forests by the end of the century…

Syrian media: two pro-government villages evacuated (AP) All the residents of two Syrian pro-government villages in the country’s northwest — over 7,000 people — who were besieged by the rebels for three years were evacuated on Thursday to government-held territory, Syria’s state-run media reported…

Thousands protest harassment of Christians in India (UCANews.com) About 10,000 Christians in eastern India’s Jharkhand state formed a 20-kilometer [about 12 miles] human chain to protest what they call the state-sponsored harassment of Christians and a hate campaign against them. The mostly indigenous Christians say their government, run by the pro-Hindu Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), has developed policies to take away their rights and land…

More Syrian refugees to leave Lebanon (The Daily Star) Two more groups of Syrian refugees will return to their homeland from Lebanon in the “next few days,” General Security chief Abbas Ibrahim said Thursday. ”The first group of about 1,000 [refugees] will leave from Arsal,” Ibrahim said to LBCI. Earlier Thursday, during a ceremony marking the opening of a security building in Baalbeck, Ibrahim said a security plan in the Bekaa Valley would serve the people. “They have their rights, [which] they will receive,” he said…

Emotional reunion of Ethiopian and Eritrean families (Borkena.com) The burden of Ethio-Eritrea conflict was heavy on some families. Families have lost loved ones as more than 80,000 people were killed on both sides during the two years war. But there were also families who were condemned to live separately until the rapprochement initiated by the prime minister Abiy Ahmed brought about peace between the two countries after 20 years of stalemate…



Tags: Lebanon Ethiopia Indian Christians Eritrea

18 July 2018
Greg Kandra




Angella Bourudjian and her children, Christian and Carl, sit in their current home in Bourj Hammoud, Beirut, Lebanon. Read about their efforts to start a new life after fleeing Syria in A Letter from Lebanon in the June 2018 edition of ONE. (photo: Tamara Hadi)



Tags: Syria Lebanon

18 July 2018
Greg Kandra




Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed (left) and Eritrean President Isaias Afworki open a new embassy in Addis Ababa on Monday. (photo: Vatican Media/AFP)

Eritrean archbishop describes new peace accord as a miracle (Vatican News) ”First of all, I was impressed by this young Ethiopian Prime Minister who accepted the decision of the Border Commission unconditionally. This was key because Eritrea accepted it 16 years ago,” said the Metropolitan Archbishop of the Archeparchy of Asmara, Menghesteab Tesfamariam. He was speaking with Vatican News on Wednesday. The Archbishop added, “It is like a miracle after twenty years of ‘no war, no peace’ situation that has held us like hostages in a way. To hear this (Eritrean delegation in Addis Ababa), I think the people of Eritrea and the people in Ethiopia are overjoyed. The news itself was already something great,” he said…

Pro-Assad villages being evacuated in Syria (Vatican News) The villages of al-Foua and Kefraya have remained loyal to President Assad. But now, as a long-time siege by insurgents tightens, its residents are being evacuated. Around 6,000 people will leave the area on 88 buses in a deal brokered by rebels and Iranian-backed forces. Reports suggest 1,800 rebel prisoners being held in Damascus are being released in exchange for the evacuation…

ISIS making a comeback in Iraq (The Washington Post) The Islamic State is creeping back into parts of central Iraq just seven months after the government declared victory in the war against the group, embarking on a wave of kidnappings, assassinations and bombings that have raised fears that a new cycle of insurgency is starting again…

India named the most dangerous place for women (UCANews) After a recent survey found India to be the most dangerous place in the world for women to live, rights activists are calling on the government to take action to make the country a safer place for half of the population. The survey, released by the London-based Thomson Reuters Foundation on 26 June, cited the high risk of sexual violence and slave labor that Indian women face…

Young musicians serve as a ’bridge of dialogue’ in Jerusalem (CNS) Eleven young musicians from Jerusalem and the West Bank had the opportunity to show U.S. audiences that music can be a bridge across cultural divides during a brief tour of the Washington-Baltimore area…



Tags: Syria Ethiopia Eritrea ISIS

17 July 2018
Greg Kandra




Cardinal Berhaneyesus Souraphiel, Archbishop of Addis Ababa, leads a press conference following a meeting of local bishops. He paid tribute to Catholic relations with the Orthodox in Ethiopia. (photo: Vatican Media)

In Syria, civilians killed in airstrike on shelter (AP) On Tuesday, at least 10 civilians were killed when a suspected Russian airstrike hit a school that serves as a shelter in the village of Ain el-Tineh in Quneitra countryside, about 7 kilometers (4 miles) from the Israeli frontier, according to a Syrian search and rescue team…

Sisters provide aid, support to refugees in Jordan (Global Sisters Report) In many ways, sisters are uniquely positioned to provide this kind of case-by-case assistance, because they are integrated with the community and have a familiarity with Catholic organizations providing aid. In Zarqa, a suburb of Amman, Dominican Sisters of St. Catherine of Siena run the Pontifical Mission Mother of Mercy Clinic, which provides prenatal care and vaccines for more than 1,000 people every month…

Ethiopian Catholic Church praises relations with Orthodox (Vatican News) Officially opening the Plenary Assembly meeting in Ethiopia, AMECEA Chairman, Cardinal Berhaneyesus Souraphiel, the Metropolitan Archbishop of Addis Ababa, paid glowing tribute to relations between the Catholic Church in Ethiopia and the Orthodox Church…

Vatican Media renews desire to collaborate with East African bishops (Vatican News) On Sunday, the new Prefect for the Dicastery for Communications sent a message to the Bishops of AMECEA gathered in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, for their 19th Plenary Assembly. ”I could not let this opportunity pass me by”, begins Dr Paolo Ruffini, the new Prefect of the Dicastery for Communication…

Remembering the tsar and his family on the 100th anniversary of their executions (Radio Free Europe) Fresh genetic tests on the bones of Russia’s last tsar and his family have confirmed their authenticity, Russian investigators announced on the eve of the 100th anniversary of their executions. Russia’s Investigative Committee, which looks into serious crimes, announced on 16 July that the tests ordered by the Russian Orthodox Church “confirmed the remains found belonged to the former Emperor Nicholas II, his family members, and members of their entourage…”

How a Ukrainian Church in Rome unites Ukrainians (Vatican News) Santa Sophia Cathedral in Rome is not only a place to worship God, but also a key gathering point for Ukrainian immigrants in Italy. We visited the church to meet some of them…



Tags: Syria Ethiopia Jordan Russia





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