Current Issue
December, 2018
Volume 44, Number 4
2 September 2015
Greg Kandra

In Canada, the Ukrainian Cultural Heritage Village near Edmonton recreates the life of settlers in the region. To learn how Ukrainians are passing on their heritage in Canada, check out “Holding on Through the Generations” in the November 2005 edition of ONE. (photo: Richard McGuire)

2 September 2015
Greg Kandra

In the video above, Pope Francis marks the anniversary of the end of World War II on Wednesday with a renewed condemnation of war and a call for a halt to arms trafficking and persecution of minorities. (video: Rome Reports)

Pope issues heartfelt appeal for peace (Vatican Radio) At a time when people are experiencing trouble and conflict in many countries, Pope Francis at the end of his General Audience on Wednesday made a heartfelt appeal for peace. Recalling the end of Second World War in the Far East, the Holy Father prayed that the world would never again have to experience the horrors of “such tragedies”...

Christian schools in Israel continue protest (Fides) Initiatives to support Christian schools in Israel continue. Instead of re-opening to students at the beginning of the new school year, a strike has begun against the political choices of the Jewish State deemed discriminatory. In Nazareth, in front of the Basilica of the Annunciation, a crowded demonstration of solidarity took place yesterday afternoon, 1 September...

EU set to continue sanctions to put pressure on Moscow (The Wall Street Journal) The European Union is set to roll over until 15 March sanctions targeted against almost 200 Russian and Ukrainian-separatist individuals and firms to maintain pressure on Moscow to fully implement the Minsk ceasefire terms by the end of the year, diplomats said...

Russia puts troops in Syria (The Daily Beast) As if Moscow weren’t satisfied with the game in Ukraine, the last month has seen a flurry of reports about its ever-expanding military involvement in Syria. One report has even alleged that Russian pilots are gearing up to fly missions alongside the Syrian air force, dropping bombs not just on ISIS but on anti-Assad rebels who may or may not be aligned with the United States or its regional allies...

Archbishop Marini named to head Eastern Catholic liturgical commission ( Pope Francis has reconstituted the Congregation for the Eastern Churches’ Special Commission for the Liturgy and has named Archbishop Piero Marini as its president. The commission, founded in 1931, approves Eastern-rite liturgical books. Archbishop Marini, 73, served as Master of Pontifical Liturgical Celebrations from 1987 to 2007 and is president of the Pontifical Committee for International Eucharistic Congresses...

Tags: Syria Pope Francis Ukraine Israel Russia

1 September 2015
Michael J.L. La Civita

Syriac Catholics, most of them Iraqi refugees, receive communion at a Divine Liturgy in a makeshift church in Amman, Jordan. (photo: Cory Eldridge)

As with most Christian communities of the Middle East, the Syriac Catholic Church has suffered severely as the region’s stability has deteriorated in the last 100 years or so. During Iraq’s civil war (2006-2007), thousands fled the violence in Baghdad and Mosul, where they had once enjoyed relative prosperity. The displaced found security in their remote ancestral villages near ancient Nineveh.

Now, these once proud centers of the church — the source of many of its vocations to the priesthood and religious life — have been lost, too, as Islamic extremists invaded the Nineveh Plain in August 2014, displacing more than 100,000 Christians, as well as Yazidis and other minorities. Civil war in Syria has uprooted thousands more, while economic stagnation and political uncertainty in Egypt and Lebanon have encouraged some Syriac Catholic families to emigrate to the West.

A small church, numbering about 207,000 people worldwide, the Syriac Catholic Church somehow endures, despite the repeated conflicts and cycles of persecution in the last 120 years.

Together with the much larger Syriac Orthodox Church (which numbers some 4.2 million people, including 3.7 million in India), the Syriac Catholic Church shares in the heritage of the Syrian city of Antioch, the political and socioeconomic center of the eastern Mediterranean in the ancient world. Though inhabited by a diverse population — Greeks and Macedonians, Romans and Jews, Syrians and Nabateans — Antioch was culturally Hellenic and its lingua franca, Greek. But those who lived in Syria’s rural interior spoke Syriac, a dialect of Aramaic nurtured in the city of Edessa.

Parishioners pray at Our Lady of Deliverance Church in central Baghdad on 7 November 2010. Just a week earlier, 46 worshipers were massacred during the celebration of the Liturgy. (photo: Ahmad Al-Rubaye/AFP/Getty Images)

In the seventh century, Syriac Christians generally welcomed the invading Muslim Arabs, who accepted them as “People of the Book.” Syriac Christianity flourished. Poets composed hymns that simplified complex ideas. Scholars translated ancient Greek texts and wrote biblical commentaries. Monks explored grammar, medicine, philosophy, rhetoric and science. Theologians and poets continued the tradition of creating liturgies, borrowing elements from the Byzantine and other traditions.

Arab Muslim leaders employed Syriac scholars, who were largely responsible for the Arab world’s familiarity with ancient Greek astronomy, chemistry, mathematics and philosophy — disciplines that eventually reached Europe via Arab Sicily and Spain.

In the 18th century, a renewed Catholic presence in the Middle East, bolstered by the presence of French and Italian missionaries, formed a Catholic community within the Syriac Orthodox Church. The growth of this new church ended, however, as the long and painful decline of the Ottoman Turkish Empire coincided with the rise of European colonial ambitions. Suspicious of collusion, the Ottomans murdered more than 25,000 Syriac Christians between 1895 and 1896.

During World War I, the Christian subjects of the Ottoman sultan were caught between two opposing cultures — their Sunni Muslim superiors and the Allied “Christian” powers of Great Britain, France and Russia, which encouraged separatist movements. The consequences were grave. Hundreds of thousands were killed, including some 50,000 Syriac Catholics and six of the church’s bishops. Survivors, including the patriarch, sought refuge in cities, especially Beirut, which remains the seat of the Syriac Catholic patriarchate.

Click here for a full account from the pages of ONE magazine.

1 September 2015
Greg Kandra

In this image from Ethiopia, farmers in the northern Tigray region have constructed retaining walls to protect the soil from erosion. Pope Francis has designated the first day of September as World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation. Learn how you can help those struggling to care for the earth and for each other in Ethiopia at this link. (photo: Petterik Wiggers)

1 September 2015
Greg Kandra

Migrants and refugees protest at the Keleti railway station in Budapest on 1 September 2015. Keleti, the biggest Hungarian railway station was closed today as police evacuated people trying to get on trains bound for Germany. (photo: Attila Kisbenedek/AFP/Getty Images)

Hungary shuts down largest train terminal to halt refugees (Al Jazeera) Hundreds of angry refugees demonstrated outside Budapest’s shuttered Eastern Railway Terminus on Tuesday, demanding that they be allowed to travel on to Germany, as a migration crisis put the European Union’s rules under unprecedented strain. Hungarian authorities closed the train station altogether, then reopened it but barred entry to the refugees. About 100 police wearing helmets and wielding batons guarded the station. Dozens of refugees who were inside were forced out...

Christian schools stage strikes in Israel (Fides) Christian schools in Israel will begin a number of strikes as of today, 1 September, just when the new school year begins in the country. Through the extreme measure of suspension of all school activities, they intend to protest against the policies of the Jewish State against them, considered “discriminatory.” This was reported by official sources of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, reconstructing the reasons and the various steps of the dispute that has long seen Christian schools and Israeli policies in contrast...

Russian Orthodox spokesman calls on faithful to replace political elite (The Moscow Times) A Russian Orthodox Church spokesman has called for Russia’s faithful to replace the current “tired, corrupt and cynical” political elite with devout leadership, news site news portal reported on Sunday. “Today, [the faithful] need to take the place of tired, corrupt, cynical elites, to exercise their civil action at the level of a village, a city, a region, of the country as a whole and of the whole world,” church spokesman Vsevolod Chaplin was quoted as saying...

Israeli-Canadian woman who went to fight ISIS returns to iraq for charity work (The Jerusalem Post) An Israeli-Canadian woman who went to Kurdistan last year to join the fight against ISIS and spent years in jail in the US for her part in a multi-million dollar scam, has returned to Iraq with a group that works to free children and women taken captive by the Islamic State, the Jerusalem Post learned Monday...

Harvest festival gains prominence in Kerala churches ( For Christians, the traditional Onam harvest festival in the southern Indian state of Kerala has become more than just a celebration of culture. Church entrances are elaborately designed with floral carpets. Christian schools declare holidays for at least three days and parishes organize special lunches and competitions during this season. Some parishes also organize a special liturgy on the day. In Kerala, Onam is traditionally celebrated with special plays, joyful competitions and good food. Boat races and dances make the season special. Men, disguised as tigers, dance on the streets to the accompaniment of drums...

Ethiopia’s secret Jews see small gains in tolerance (Al Jazeera) Jews have a quiet but central presence in Ethiopia’s history. Their origins are disputed, but it is believed they arrived less than 3,000 years ago, around the time King Menelik I, the son of the queen of Sheba and King Solomon, traveled from Israel to the Horn of Africa. In Ethiopia, particularly in poorer rural areas outside the capital, Addis Ababa, their marginalization is a product of widespread belief that they are agents of evil. Common superstitions are that Jews shoot fire from their eyes, use Christian corpses to make their pottery and turn into hyenas at night. Al Jazeera spoke to more than a dozen Jewish Ethiopians, researchers and historians who described these lingering beliefs as well as occasional violence in the Amhara and Tigray regions where they have been historically concentrated...

Tags: Syria Ethiopia Refugees Israel Russian Orthodox

1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 |