Current Issue
December, 2017
Volume 43, Number 4
** Please be advised that the website will be unavailable between 4:30pm to 7:00pm on Thursday Feb 22, 2018. **

21 April 2017
Greg Kandra

A young child receives a checkup at the clinic administered by the Near East Council of Churches in Shajaia, a neighborhood of Gaza City. Read more about this clinic Where Hope Is Kindled in Gaza in the March 2017 edition of ONE. (photo: Tamara Abdul Hadi)

Tags: Children Gaza Strip/West Bank Health Care Eastern Churches

21 April 2017
Greg Kandra

A woman and children attend an Easter liturgy in Mar Yohanna Church in the nearly deserted, predominantly Christian Iraqi town of Qaraqosh near Mosul. (Photo: Carl Court/Getty Images)

Celebrating Easter in an Iraqi town that has lost its Christians (New York Times) Islamic State militants overran the Christian town of Qaraqosh nearly three years ago, smashing every crucifix they found and using the walls of churches for target practice. Residents fled by the thousands, and the few who stayed were forced to spit on images of the Virgin Mary. This weekend, my colleagues and I attended Easter service in Qaraqosh, which has long been a center of Christian life in Iraq, hoping to find signs of rebirth. Instead, we drove through what looked like a ghost town…

Holy See ‘deeply concerned’ over Middle East situation (Vatican Radio) The Holy See has expressed deep concern over the current situation in the Middle East and reiterated its support for a two-state solution in Palestine…

ISIS claims credit for Paris attack (The Independent) A note expressing support for ISIS has been found near the body of a gunman who shot a police officer dead in the center of Paris. Sources within the investigation told news agencies of the discovery as a probe continued into the chief suspect, a 39-year-old Frenchman who was the subject of a previous terror investigation. Police also found a pump-action shotgun and knives in his car, showing the attacker was armed for an extended assault. ISIS swiftly claimed responsibility for the attack, giving the perpetrator a war name indicating he had links in Belgium and hailing him as a “fighter of the Islamic State”…

Indian police rescuing women from sex traffickers (Vatican Radio) In a unique gesture, police in the Indian state of West Bengal are going beyond the call of duty by raising funds for the women they rescue from sex traffickers to help them get back on track…

Holy Fire from Jerusalem delivered to Washington, D.C. (Sputnik) The Holy Fire from the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem has been delivered to Washington, D.C., Archpriest Victor Potapov, rector at the Russian Orthodox Cathedral of St. John the Baptist told Sputnik…

Tags: Iraq India Palestine Iraqi Christians France

20 April 2017
Greg Kandra

In this image from 2015, Assyrian Christians who had fled Syria and Iraq carry placards and wave the flag of the Assyro-Chaldean nationalist movement during a gathering in front of U.N. headquarters in Beirut. A new report says animosity toward religious groups has grown. (photo: CNS/Nabil Mounzer, EPA)

A new report from the Pew Research Center offers some stark statistics. From Catholic News Agency:

“Government restrictions on religion and social hostilities involving religion increased in 2015 for the first time in three years,” the latest annual Pew Research Center report on “Global Restrictions on Religion” began.

In 2015, there were “very high” or “high” levels of animosity shown towards religious groups in 40 percent of countries, the report noted, either through restrictive government laws targeting religious groups or violence or harassment toward adherents of specific religions by other members of society.

The 2015 percentage was up six points from 2014, when 34 percent of countries reported such levels of hostility to religious groups.

Pew’s report drew from various sources on global religious freedom, both from the U.S. government (annual international religious freedom reports of the State Department and the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom), the European Union and United Nations, and other non-governmental organizations.

The report was part of the “Pew-Templeton Global Religious Futures project,” funded by The Pew Charitable Trusts and the John Templeton Foundation.

Certain countries and regions of the world showed especially high hostility towards religious groups. Russia, Egypt, India, Pakistan, and Nigeria all showed both government harassment of and social animus toward certain religious groups.

Some of the most common instances of hostility included “mob violence” waged against people for their religious beliefs or violence conducted in the name of religion, and also “government harassment and use of force against religious groups” Pew explained.

Read more. And read the full report at this link.

Tags: religious freedom

20 April 2017
Greg Kandra

The Didos family, one of the many Ukrainian families displaced by war, exits a Greek Catholic Church in Lviv. Read more about The Displaced in the March 2017 edition of ONE. (photo: Ivan Chernichkin)

Tags: Ukraine War Eastern Christianity

20 April 2017
Greg Kandra

Pope Francis and Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al Sisi shake hands during a private audience in 2014 at the Vatican. Pope Francis will visit Cairo next week and meet with the Egyptian president, among others. (photo: CNS/Gabriel Bouys pool, via Reuters)

Egypt arrests 13 suspected of planning attacks (CNA) Egyptian police on Sunday arrested 13 people who were allegedly planning attacks against Christians and public institutions in the country…

Hope and fear ahead of pope’s visit to Egypt (Canadian Catholic News) Fanatics are stepping up their fear campaign against Christians in Egypt in an attempt to derail Pope Francis’ visit at the end of the month, say the Canadian directors of two Catholic aid agencies working in the country. The pope’s visit will include meetings with the Coptic Orthodox Pope Tawadros II, the Grand Imam of the Mosque of Al Azhar, Sheikh Ahmed Mohamed al Tayyib and Egyptian president Abdel Fattah al Sisi. “The extremists don’t want the pope to meet with the highest Muslim authority of Egypt,” said CNEWA (Catholic Near East Welfare Association) Canada national director Carl Hétu…

Catholic bishops in India urge worship rights for all (Fides) The Catholic Bishops Conference of India on 19 April urged the federal government to ensure that every citizen enjoys the basic right to worship…

Satellite dishes connecting Mosul to the world (AFP) Satellite dishes have been sprouting on the rooftops of east Mosul since it was retaken from ISIS, who punished anyone caught with a dish with the lash. “Now we know what is happening in the world,” Muhammad Turki says as he installs one in the Al Qahira district…

Gaza’s only power plant runs out of fuel (The Independent) The only power plant in the Gaza Strip has ceased producing electricity after running out of fuel, crippling the entire enclave with massive power cuts. Around two million people in the territory are now coping with just two to four hours of power a day, leaving schools, hospitals and businesses unable to operate fully…

Pope names auxiliary bishop from Ukraine to head Chicago-based eparchy (CNS) Pope Francis has named Ukrainian-born Bishop Venedykt “Valery” Aleksiychuk as bishop of the Ukrainian Catholic Eparchy of St. Nicholas in Chicago. Bishop Aleksiychuk, 49, has been auxiliary bishop of the Archeparchy of Lviv, Ukraine, since 2010…

Tags: Iraq Egypt Pope Francis Gaza Strip/West Bank United States

19 April 2017
Greg Kandra

Young displaced students from a variety of faiths and backgrounds sing together in Arabic in Dohuk, Iraq. For more on the displaced in Iraq, read ‘God Wants Me Here’ in the March 2017 edition of ONE. (photo: Paul Jeffrey)

Tags: Iraq Iraqi Christians Iraqi Refugees

19 April 2017
Greg Kandra

In the video above, the Chaldean bishop of Aleppo reflects on the crisis facing Christians in Syria. (video: Rome Reports)

Cairo peace conference to include Pope Francis, Eastern Christian leaders (CNS) Orthodox Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople was scheduled to attend a peace conference in Cairo with Pope Francis and Sheik Ahmad al Tayeb, grand imam of Al Azhar University…

Terrorist attack near historic Sinai monastery (Fides) Gunmen opened fire on an Egyptian police checkpoint near Saint Catherine’s Monastery in Sinai late on Tuesday 18 April, killing one policeman and wounding four officials. ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack. After an exchange of gunfire, the attackers fled the scene, and some of the gunmen were wounded in the shootout…

Vatican releases itinerary for papal trip to Egypt (CNS) Pope Francis will meet with the leader of one of the world’s leading Sunni Muslim institutions, the head of the Coptic Orthodox Church and representatives of the Catholic Church on a two-day trip to Cairo…

Syria resumes evacuations after deadly bombing (BBC) Evacuations from two government-held areas of Syria have resumed, monitors and reports say, days after an attack on a convoy carrying evacuees killed 126 people, many of them children. Some 3,000 people have left the north-western villages of Fua and Kefraya, which have been surrounded by rebels…

Making a splash on Easter Monday in Transylvania (The New York Times) Young men in Sancraieni have risen early on Easter Monday for as long as anyone can remember. So have the women and girls — to be soaked in ice-cold water and sprayed with patchouli. “Sprinkling” is a spring rite in the heart of Transylvania, in central Romania, when women are watered like flowers. The water, freshly drawn from a well, is believed to secure health, beauty and perhaps even love for the women who find themselves beneath a bucketful of it…

Tags: Syria Egypt Pope Francis Eastern Europe

18 April 2017
Greg Kandra

Children in Bangalore, India, hold Easter eggs on 16 April. (photo: CNS/Jagadeesh Nv, EPA)

Tags: India Eastern Christianity Easter

18 April 2017
Greg Kandra

A Christian worshiper lights candles in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem on Easter Sunday. (photo: CNS/Ammar Awad, Reuters)

Pope Francis prays for persecuted Christian communities (Vatican Radio) On Easter Monday Pope Francis greeted pilgrims and visitors gathered in St. Peter’s Square, praying especially for Christians who are persecuted for their faith…

Pope Francis offers message to city and the world (Vatican Radio) “Jesus is risen!” — “He is truly risen, as he said!” Those were Pope Francis’ words as he delivered his traditional Urbi et Orbi (“to the city and the world”) message from the central loggia of St Peter’s Basilica on a sunny Easter Sunday…

Report: U.S. strike hit Syrian mosque (CNN) A new report suggests American forces failed to take necessary precautions to avoid dropping a pair of bombs on a Northern Syria mosque full of hundreds of worshipers. Syrians said the U.S. airstrikes hit a western Aleppo mosque on 16 March, killing at least 40 worshipers and injuring dozens more. The U.S. said the bombings targeted a meeting hall hosting Al Qaeda terrorists…

Mideast church leaders affirm Christian presence at Easter (CNS) In Easter messages, Catholic patriarchs in the Middle East deplored the widespread carnage and suffering, yet affirmed the presence of Christians in the region by calling upon their faithful to carry on with hope…

What life is like for Iraqis fleeing Mosul (Al Jazeera) As the Iraqi government’s military offensive against ISIS rages on, hundreds of thousands of civilians have been forced to flee their homes. Since the push to regain control of the western half of Mosul began on 19 February, the Iraqi government estimates that more than 220,000 people have been displaced. About 70 percent of these people are living in overstretched, underdeveloped refugee camps, according to the United Nations…

Coptic Christians mark Easter in the shadow of ISIS (AP) As Christians around the world celebrate Easter Sunday, eight million of them will be praying alongside security checkpoints, police guards and the threat of religious violence. This is the fate of the Coptic Christians of Egypt — an ancient religious minority whose persecution today is “the worst it has ever been,” according to analysts…

Orthodox and Catholics celebrate Easter on same day (RT) This year, followers of the Orthodox and Catholic churches are celebrating Easter on the same day. The next time the two churches will share Easter celebrations won’t be until 2025…

Tags: Syria Iraq Egypt Pope Francis Easter

13 April 2017
Greg Kandra

Archbishop Pierbattista Pizzaballa, apostolic administrator of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, dries the feet of a clergyman during the foot-washing ceremony on Holy Thursday in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem’s Old City. The ritual reflects the call to imitate Christ by serving one another. (photo: CNS/Ammar Awad, Reuters)

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