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Current Issue
September, 2018
Volume 44, Number 3
  
12 April 2018
Greg Kandra




Bishops Samuel Mar Irenios and Yoohanon Mar Theodosius have been elected coadjutor bishops for the Syro-Malankara Catholic Church in India. (photo: Vatican News/Syro-Malankara Catholic Church)

Two co-adjutor bishops elected in India (Vatican News) The Synod of Bishops of the Syro-Malankara Catholic Church, headquartered in India, has elected two coadjutor bishops. Auxiliary Bishop Samuel Mar Irenios of Trivandrum has been elected Coadjutor Bishop of Pathanamthitta, while Bishop Yoohanon Mar Theodosius, the Curial Bishop of the Major Archdiocese of Trivandrum has been elected the Coadjutor of the Diocese of Muvattupuzha, both in the southern state of Kerala…

U.S. embassy move to Jerusalem stalled (Haaretz) The conversion of the American consulate in Jerusalem into an embassy was exempted from needing a building permit, and a contractor has been chosen to do the work, but the chances of it being completed by Independence Day are slim, TheMarker has learned. The reason is that no funds have been committed for building a wall around the embassy, one of the main safety precautions demanded by the Trump administration…

‘Greater Jerusalem means no churches and no mosques’ (Al Jazeera) Palestinian interfaith officials have warned against monopolizing the city of Jerusalem by the Israeli government and the effects that would have on Christianity and Islam. Hanna Issa, secretary-general of the Palestinian Authority’s Muslim-Christian Committee said that more than 95 percent of Jerusalem had already been “Judaized” by Israel, and that “Greater Jerusalem” would alter the city’s identity and importance to Christians and Muslims…

Syria’s refugee children: futures lost to war (Al Jazeera) Muzoon Almellehan would be an ordinary Syrian girl from Deraa, south of Damascus, dreaming of a future as a journalist, if war hadn’t forced her family of six to flee her home country in 2013. But Muzoon, 20, is no ordinary girl. For the past five years, living as a refugee, she spearheaded a campaign to promote the right of refugee children to an education. She kicked her mission off at the age of 14 in a refugee camp in Jordan, after several of her schoolmates dropped out of school to be married off as child brides…

Syrian refugee describes his flight from ISIS (CNS) A middle-of-the-night phone call — then another — alerted Gabriel Jabbour to the threat. Reluctantly, he packed a few belongings and $3,000 in cash, and fled from Syria with his wife to avoid being publicly executed by Islamic State militants. Now living in Omaha, Jabbour shared the story of his narrow escape and the Catholic faith that sustains him…

The last Greeks of Addis Ababa (Al Jazeera) “Did you know that Ethiopia gets its name from the Greek word Aethiopia, first used by Homer?” Greek Ambassador to Ethiopia Nikolaos Patakias says proudly. Sitting in his office in the capital Addis Ababa, Patakias shows an ancient Greek romantic novel, The Aethiopica. It’s a love story about the relationship between the daughter of the queen of Ethiopia and a Greek descendant of Achilles…



Tags: Syria Ethiopia Jerusalem Syro-Malankara Catholic Church

11 April 2018
Greg Kandra




Relatives of the victims of a school bus accident in India’s Himachal Pradesh mourn their dead. (photo: Vatican News via ANSA)

Indian bishops offer prayers, condolences following school bus accident (Vatican News) India’s Catholic bishops have expressed their condolence at a school bus accident in the Himalayan foothills in the north, in which at least 30 were killed, mostly children. The tragedy occurred about 200 miles from Shimla, the capital of Himachal Pradesh state, when a school bus carrying home some 40 students from their school in Nurpur in Kangra district, plunged some 60 meters into a gorge…

Trump promises strike on Syria (The New York Times) President Trump announced that missiles fired at Syria “will be coming, nice and new and ‘smart!’ ” After the threat, the president said in a separate tweet that relations between the United States and Russia are worse than ever…

Egypt sentences 36 to death for church bombings (The National) Thirty-six people were sentenced to death on Tuesday by an Egyptian military court for their role in a number of deadly church bombings and attacks on security personnel. Prosecutor-General Nabil Sadek referred the accused to an Alexandria military court last May after at least 80 people died in a series of shootings and bomb attacks on Coptic churches in Cairo, Alexandria and the Nile Delta city of Tanta between 2016 and 2017…

Jordan and Lebanon are going broke and Israel should worry (Haaretz) By Middle East standards, Jordan is a citadel of stability, and even though the threat of war with Hizbollah is ever-present, Lebanon has been a placid place since its own civil war ended in 1990. That may be about to change. Jordan and Lebanon have been living on borrowed time economically, which has left them saddled with unsustainably high levels of debt. Now they have little choice but to take unpopular measures like tax hikes and subsidy cuts…

Women religious share stories of being on the frontlines (Vatican News) Women religious, working in some of the world’s worst conflict zones, are sharing their stories on Wednesday at a seminar organized by the U.S. Embassy to the Holy See. Jointly sponsored by the International Union of Superiors General and Solidarity with South Sudan, the encounter will highlight the vital, yet often unseen, work of sisters serving in some of the most deprived communities in countries across the globe…

Vatican urges Buddhists and Christians to work together (Vatican News) The Vatican is inviting the world’s Buddhists and Christians to work together to combat and prevent the “heinous crime” of corruption by eradicating its underlying causes. The Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue made the call in a message released on Wednesday in view of the upcoming Buddhist festival of Vesakh…

The sweet traditions of Russian Orthodox Easter (NPR) Abby Slater is forming a dough of milk, sugar, yeast and flour. It’s Slater’s first time making Easter bread. She’s observed and helped her Aleut family make it many times before though. “My earliest memory of Easter bread was actually later in life, because we didn’t reconnect with my aunt until I was a little bit older,” Slater said. “She was the one who had the recipe for the Easter bread. My grandma died before I was born, my native grandma, my kukax. So she didn’t get to pass that along to us grandkids.” The recipe her aunt uses is the same the family has been using for generations…



Tags: Syria India Egypt Lebanon Jordan

10 April 2018
Greg Kandra




In the video above, Pope Francis blesses a statue of the Armenian St. Gregory of Narek in the Vatican Gardens. (video: Rome Reports/YouTube)

Trump pledges ‘forceful’ response following Syria attack (BBC) U.S. President Donald Trump has promised a “forceful” response to the alleged chemical attack in Syria, as Western leaders consider what action to take. “We have a lot of options militarily,” he told reporters. He added that a response would be decided “shortly”…

Iran-Israel conflict escalates in shadow of Syrian civil war (The New York Times) Israel on Monday appeared to have escalated its shadow war in Syria against Iran, with a predawn airstrike against a military base that coordinates Iranian-backed militias, killing four Iranian military advisers. The dead included a colonel who served as a senior officer in Iran’s drone program, according to Iranian news reports…

Residents of Jerusalem neighborhood petition high court against new embassy (Times of Israel) A group of residents whose homes overlook the American consulate in Jerusalem submitted a petition to the High Court on Sunday against plans to open the new U.S. Embassy there on 14 May…

Outcry as religious leaders become state ministers in India (UCANews.com) Muslim and Christian leaders in India have slammed Madhya Pradesh state government for according “minister of state” status to five Hindu religious leaders in what many called a deadly mix of religion and politics in an election year. The central state’s government, run by the pro-Hindu Bharatiya Janata Party (B.J.P.), last week gave minister status to the leaders even though they have not contested or won any election…

Indian faith leaders condemn exploitation of religion (Vatican News) Leaders of six major religions in India came together last week and called for an end to branding people as patriotic or unpatriotic based on religion, region or community, amid increasing attempts to exploit religious sentiments for political gains. Leaders of Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Jain, Muslim and Sikh communities gathered on 5 April in Margao in the western state of Goa to express their dismay at communal tension building in states such as Bihar, West Bengal, Rajasthan and Odisha, ahead of crucial elections…

Pope blesses statue of Armenian saint (CNS) During a brief ceremony in the Vatican Gardens, Pope Francis blessed a new statue of a tenth-century Armenian monk he had declared a “doctor of the church” in 2015. Blessing the bronze statue of St. Gregory of Narek on 5 April capped off a series of morning meetings with Armenian political and religious dignitaries, beginning with Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan…



Tags: Syria India Jerusalem United States

9 April 2018
Greg Kandra




In this image from 2016, Archbishop Pierbattista Pizzaballa, the apostolic administrator of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, greets people upon his arrival a vespers at the co-cathedral of the Latin Patriarchate in the Old City of Jerusalem. The archbishop has just created a “personal parish” for migrants and refugees in Jerusalem, which take effect canonically on 20 May. (photo: CNS/Debbie Hill)

Archbishop creates ‘personal parish’ for migrants and refugees in Jerusalem (Vatican News) A “personal parish” for migrants and refugees in Israel and an especially dedicated episcopal vicariate have been created by the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem. The man behind the initiative is the Apostolic Administrator of Jerusalem, Archbishop Pierbattista Pizzaballa who explained that in recent years a growing number of migrants and refugees have become an integral part of the community in Jerusalem and in other cities, highlighting the need for assistance and services that many traditional parishes are unable to offer…

Pope Francis appeals for peace in Syria (Vatican News) After praying the Regina Coeli with the faithful gathered in St. Peter’s Square on Divine Mercy Sunday, Pope Francis made a special appeal on behalf of Syria. The Holy Father told those present that terrible news was arriving from Syria. Bombardments in Syria have claimed dozens of victims, many of them women and children, he said. In addition, there is news that the bombs contained chemical substances. “Let us pray for all the deceased, for the wounded, for the families who suffer,” Pope Francis said…

In Easter address, Russian Orthodox patriarch urges Christians to take a step toward Christ (TASS) The best way to spend the Easter holidays would be reading the Gospel, taking care of other people and making steps toward faith, Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia said in his televised Easter address…

Grand imam visits Coptic pope to offer Easter greetings (Arab News) The grand imam of Egypt’s Al Azhar, the country’s top Islamic authority, offered greetings to Coptic Pope Tawadros II on the occasion of Easter. Imam Ahmad al Tayyeb met the pope on Sunday morning at the papal headquarters at the St. Mark Coptic Orthodox Cathedral in Abbassiya, Cairo…

Ethiopian Orthodox mark Easter (Africa News) Thousands of Orthodox faithful across the East African country are celebrating Fasika, Orthodox Easter (8 April). It is the end of eight weeks of fasting from meat and dairy. On Easter Eve, Ethiopian Christians participated in an hours-long church service that ends around 3 a.m., after which they break their fast and celebrate the rising of Christ…

In new document, pope writes: ‘Do not be afraid of holiness’ (CNS) God calls all Christians to be saints — not plastic statues of saints, but real people who make time for prayer and who show loving care for others in the simplest gestures, Pope Francis said in his new document on holiness…



Tags: Egypt Pope Francis Jerusalem Saints

6 April 2018
J.D. Conor Mauro




Medical staff treat a wounded Palestinian, injured during the 'Great March of Return' protest near the Israeli border, on 6 April. (photo: Abed Zagout/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

Pope Francis meets with Armenian leaders (Vatican News) Pope Francis received Serzh Sargsyan, President of the Republic of Armenia in the Vatican on Thursday morning before meeting with the Catholicos of All Armenians Karekin II, and with Aram I, the Catholicos of the Great House of Cilicia. Following the meetings, the Pope and the Armenian delegation participated in an inauguration ceremony and blessing of a statue of Saint Gregory of Narek in the Vatican gardens…

Gaza protests: Death toll rises to 22 (Washington Post) Palestinian protesters faced off against Israeli troops on Friday, creating a billowing smokescreen of burning tires on the Gaza side of the border with Israel in the latest show of anger a week after deadly confrontations along the heavily guarded dividing line. Israeli soldiers fired live ammunition and tear gas. The Gaza Health Ministry reported that at least two people were killed and scores were injured, five of them with critical injuries to the head and upper body. On Friday morning, a 30-year-old man was said to have died from injuries sustained during last Friday’s demonstration. The death of Thaer Rabaa, 30, brought the Palestinian death toll to 22 from last week’s clashes. The Gaza Health Ministry said more than 1,000 people were wounded by gunshots…

Assyrians in Syria celebrate traditions despite dangers (Christian Science Monitor) The Assyrian community, an ethnic minority in the Middle East, gathered to observe their New Year holiday and foster community pride. The group, whose numbers in the region are dwindling, have frequently been a target of ISIS…

Patriarch of Baghdad sees Chaldean martyrs as a source of peace and unity (AsiaNews) In a written statement commemorating the Day of the Chaldean Martyrs on 6 April, Chaldean Catholic Patriarch Louis Raphael I refers to Iraqi martyrs as a “source of inspiration” embodying values of “hope, human dignity, tolerance and peace…”

Church in Goa, India, attacked with stones during Easter Vigil (Crux) An Easter vigil Mass was interrupted by people throwing stones in the Indian state of Goa. One woman was injured and two vehicles in the parking lot were damaged in the incident…



Tags: India Middle East Christians Gaza Strip/West Bank

5 April 2018
J.D. Conor Mauro




Palestinians take part in a protest near the border with Israel in the east Khan Yonis town southern Gaza Strip, on 4 April. (photo: Momen Faiz/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Palestinian killed by Israeli air strike on Gaza border: ministry (Daily Star Lebanon) A Palestinian was killed by an Israeli air strike on the Gaza border early Thursday, the health ministry in the Palestinian enclave said, as tensions increased ahead of new protests. This event comes after at least 17 Palestinians were killed by Israeli forces last Friday when tens of thousands gathered along the border in a protest that led to clashes…

Egypt’s Catholic Coptic Church focusing on education, health and welfare (Vatican News) In a result that came as no surprise to Egyptians or to observers abroad, former army General Abdel Fattah al Sisi won the country’s presidential elections with 97 percent of the votes, securing another four-year term in office. Announcing the final results on Monday, Egypt’s election commission said there had been a 41.5 percent turnout at the polls. The only other opponent who ran against el-Sisi was little-known Mousa Mostafa Mousa, who entered the race hours before the deadline and whose party had previously endorsed Al Sisi. Father Rafic Greiche, spokesman for the Egyptian Coptic Catholic Church, said Coptic Catholic Patriarch Ibrahim Isaac Sidrak sent the president a congratulatory letter, highlighting the importance of taking care of the educational, health and welfare sectors over the next four years…

White House says U.S. presence in Syria coming to ‘rapid end’ (AINA) The White House said Wednesday that the U.S. military mission in Syria was coming to “a rapid end” but offered no firm timeline for a withdrawal, even as President Donald Trump has insisted it’s time for American troops to return home…

India’s Dalits protest as laws protecting them are rolled back (Christian Today) A ruling by India’s Supreme Court that threatens to reduce protection for its marginalized Dalit people could be overturned after the court agreed to hear an appeal. At least 10 people died in protests yesterday against the ruling when tens of thousands of Dalits — formerly known as “Untouchables” — took to the streets…

Gaza fishermen face gunfire, death plying their trade (Al Monitor) Under a truce agreement after their 2014 conflict, Israel restricts Palestinian fishing to within six miles of shore. Israel says it considers ships outside that zone suspect because they could be smuggling arms. However, according to the Palestinian Center for Human Rights in Gaza, Israeli attacks are taking place within the permitted area…

Attacks on Pakistani Christians after Easter kill four Catholics (Vatican News) Four members of a Catholic family were killed in a militant attack in the southwestern province of Balochistan on Easter Monday, and in another incident the following day, a group attacked worshippers in a Christian church in Punjab province, injuring many…

Ethiopia seeks return of looted treasures from London museum (Al Jazeera) Ethiopian artifacts looted by the British colonialists in the 19th century are on a display in London, but a top Ethiopian official says the treasures belong to Addis Ababa and they need to be returned to the rightful owner…

Armenians protest Turkish authorities’ intervention in patriarch selection (Fides) Within the Apostolic Turkish Armenian community protests and division continue regarding the results of the process of election of the new Armenian Patriarch of Constantinople, with see in Istanbul. Turkish-Armenian periodical Agos reports the appearance of anonymous posters criticizing Archbishop Aram Athesyan, former “locum tenens” of the patriarchate who in August was replaced by Archbishop Karekin Bekdjian. The latter has taken on a key role in the internal affairs of the patriarchate since the Turkish authorities cancelled the entire electoral process started in 2016 to choose a successor to Patriarch Mesrob II Mutafyan, affected in 2008 by a disabling neurological sickness…



Tags: Syria Gaza Strip/West Bank Palestine Turkey Dalits

4 April 2018
Greg Kandra




A broken Marian statue is shown inside the grotto of Bihabandh Catholic Church in Odisha state after unidentified people attacked it on 1 April. (photo: provided by Rourkela Diocese)

Syrian regime claims last rebel group leaving Ghouta (CNN) Members of the last remaining and most powerful rebel group in the besieged Syrian enclave of Eastern Ghouta outside Damascus are leaving, according to Syrian state media. But an activist countered the government’s narrative, saying the evacuees were humanitarian cases — not all members of the group. Twenty buses carrying 1,065 Jaish al-Islam fighters and their families left Douma for Al-Wafideen Crossing on Monday. They headed to Jarablus in northern Syria, the Syrian Arab News Agency said...

Churches attacked in India’s Odisha state (UCANews.com) Vandals have destroyed two Marian statues and set fire to the sacristy and storeroom of a parish in Rourkela Diocese of India’s Odisha state. Sundergarh district administration has deployed armed police in the area because of the religious sensitivity of the two separate incidents on 1 April, said police inspector Bijay Kumar Singh...

Lebanon unemployment at alarming levels due to refugees, weak economy (Albawaba.com) President Michel Aoun said Thursday that the grave economic situation, presence of Syrian refugees and the reluctance of Lebanese to take low-paid jobs has caused unemployment to soar to 46 percent. Aoun made the remarks during a meeting with a delegation from the Lebanese Press Syndicate at Baabda’s presidential palace...

Jordan helping refugee children overcome trauma through football (The Jordan Times) HRH Prince Ali has highlighted Jordan’s efforts to heal traumatized Syrian refugee children through football. In a recent interview with CNN, conducted by Becky Anderson, a British journalist and anchor at CNN, Prince Ali explained that football is not only a sport, but a universal language in itself. Anderson visited the Zaatari refugee camp, during the Laureates and Leaders For Children summit, where she spoke to Prince Ali about how football is helping some children deal with the trauma of Syria’s civil war...

Indian government withdraws rules to punish journalists for ‘fake news’ (Vatican News) The round-about turn from Narendra Modi’s government came following an outcry from journalists and opposition politicians who said the measure was to stifle press freedom, especially in the run-up to next year’s general elections. Late Monday, the Information and Broadcasting Ministry had announced the government would withdraw its accreditation to journalists who peddled “fake news.” The withdrawal of accreditation would be either for a limited time or permanently, depending on the frequency of infringements...

Easter message of Christian leaders in Jerusalem (Vatican News) Heads of Christian Churches in Jerusalem have issued an Easter message offering their prayers for those suffering across the world for various reasons, that they may find hope, peace and life in the Cross of Christ. Thirteen patriarchs and heads of various Christian denominations in Jerusalem released a joint message on Friday, as violence erupted between Palestinians and Israeli security forces along the Israeli-Gaza border...

800 Copts travel to Jerusalem for Easter (Egypt Today) Five Air Sinai flights carrying 800 Coptic pilgrims headed to Jerusalem on Monday to celebrate Easter, officials from the Cairo International Airport told Egypt Today on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to brief the media. Egypt has built an air bridge to transport elder Coptic Christians, who are allowed to perform pilgrimage in Jerusalem during the Holy Week, the week before Easter...



3 April 2018
Greg Kandra




Pope Francis greets the crowd during his Easter message and blessing “urbi et orbi” (to the city and the world) delivered from the central balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican on 1 April.
(photo: CNS/Vatican Media)


Netanyahu cancels plan to resettle African asylum seekers (Haaretz) Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced Tuesday that Israel is cancelling a deal with the United Nations on the resettling of African asylum seekers. The deal was annnounced by Netanyahu himself on Monday afternoon. The deal was set to stop the forced deportation to Africa from Israel of asylum seekers, resettle 16,000 of them in Israel and the same number in Western countries. Netanyahu hours later decided to suspend the deal, even though he has already signed it, following pressure from within his party and from coalition members...

Iraq vows to secure Sinjar border region (Vatican News) The Iraqi prime minister said that any attempt by ‘foreign fighters’ to launch cross-border attacks on Turkey will be prevented by the Iraqi military. Haider Al Abadi told Turkish officials he had ordered the army to establish full control of the national frontier, especially near Sinjar — a region of Iraq which borders Turkey...

Christians in Iraq celebrate Easter (The Jerusalem Post) Thousands of Christians celebrated the Assyrian New Year in northern Iraq over the last several days. The celebrations coincided with Easter and brought together groups of Assyrian Christian activists who are seeking to rekindle the flame of their community from the ravages of ISIS. The Easter Mass at the Saint Mary’s Assyrian Church of the East was attended by hundreds of worshipers on March 31, the same day on which Juliana Taimoorazy, the founder and president of the Iraqi Christian Relief Council and co-founder of a project called “Rise Nineveh,” led members of her group to Mosul to stand on the ruins of Nineveh...

War in Syria: Stories of survival and hope (National Geographic) “War arrives suddenly, uninvited, and brings with it a new normal,” writes Rania Abouzeid in No Turning Back, her poignant account of the Syrian conflict. Following the lives of a group of people from rebel-held areas over a period of five years, she brings home to us what television coverage rarely can: the human dimension of one of the most violent and complicated conflicts since World War II...

Pope’s Easter appeals include prayers for Syria, Gaza (CNS) In his Easter appeal for peace throughout the world, Pope Francis made special mention of the ongoing “carnage” in Syria and the recent violence along Israel’s border with the Gaza Strip, violence the Pope said had not spared “the defenseless...”

Pope’s Urbi et Orbi message: ‘The last word is the resurrection’ (Vatican News) Beginning his customary “Urbi et Orbi” message, Pope Francis greeted the faithful with “Jesus is risen from the dead!” He then said that Jesus used of the image of the grain of wheat that falls to the earth and dies to prophesy his own death and resurrection...



29 March 2018
Greg Kandra




Archbishop Pierbattista Pizzaballa, apostolic administrator of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, washes the feet of a clergyman on Holy Thursday 29 March 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/Corinna Kern, Reuters)

Easter in Jerusalem: No access for Gaza’s Christians (Al Jazeera) Israel has not issued permits for Gaza Palestinian Christians to travel to Jerusalem to celebrate Easter, church authorities have said. The Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem said church authorities had applied for around 600 permits for Gaza Palestinian worshipers to travel, but had not received any…

Jews in Israel prepare for Passover (The Jerusalem Post) Jews in Israel on Thursday are making last-minute preparations for the Jewish holiday of Passover, due to begin Friday at sunset. In ultra-Orthodox neighborhoods of Jerusalem residents burn all remnants of leavened food they have in their house, before the start of the holiday…

Lebanon is drowning in its own waste (BBC) This beach has already been cleaned up 16 times, and had been cleaned less than a week before I stepped onto it with Joslin Kehdy, the founder of Recycle Lebanon, which arranges the cleanups. Plastic is turning up on beaches around the world, but the difference in Lebanon is that rubbish is also being directly dumped into the sea and coastal landfills — spelling disaster for the shoreline’s ecosystem and public health…

Thousands evacuate Eastern Ghouta in Syria (NPR) Let’s turn now to Syria and to the rebel-held enclave of Eastern Ghouta, where thousands of people are bidding goodbye to their homes and boarding buses to leave, maybe for good — a part of a deal with the government to end the rebel presence in the area…

Turkey’s churches publish landmark book of common Christian doctrine (Sight Magazine) A joint commission of Turkey’s major Christian denominations has published an historic book of concise Christian doctrine, receiving the unprecedented endorsement of all the nation’s Orthodox, Catholic, Armenian, Syriac and Protestant churches. According to Armenian Bishop Sahak Masalyan, keynote speaker at the formal book launch in Istanbul of the English edition on 3 February, the “most spectacular aspect” of the book is in fact its first page of endorsements, which he declared “akin to a miracle.” “[This book] expresses the shared beliefs of the churches in Turkey. We approve its publication and recommend that it be widely read,” the statement says…



Tags: Lebanon Gaza Strip/West Bank Jerusalem Holy Land Christians

28 March 2018
Greg Kandra




The video above shows some of the damage of Eastern Ghouta in Syria. (video: YouTube)

Troops mass around rebel town in East Ghouta, Syria (BBC) Syrian government forces have massed around the last rebel-held town in the Eastern Ghouta area, after rebels were reportedly given a deadline to leave. A newspaper said troops were preparing for a “huge” operation in Douma, which is controlled by Jaysh al-Islam...

Syrian Christians feel like strangers in their own country (The Tablet) Poor living conditions, security problems and economic insecurity, have left Syrians &dlquo;feeling like strangers in their own country,” Syriac Orthodox Archbishop Selwanos Petros Al-Nemeh of Homs said this week...

Kerala closer to getting another saint (UCANews.com) The canonization process of Sister Mariyam Thressia, the founder of the Holy Family congregation of nuns in Kerala, is a step closer now. An expert team in Vatican has approved a miracle, the survival of a child born with acute respiratory failure, attributed to her intercession...

Israel approves plan to open new U.S. embassy in May (Haaretz) Acting at the request of Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon, the National Planning and Building Council exempted the U.S. government from permitting requirements to enable the relocation of its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem in May. That will allow work to proceed on a building in Jerusalem’s Arnona neighborhood that now houses a U.S. consular section and will be repurposed as a temporary embassy...

Religious sisters in Indian slum work for human dignity (UCANews.com) The nuns of Devapriaya (beloveds of God) Sisters, a local congregation founded by former Bishop Gregory Karotemprel of Rajokot, aims to help poor women have a greater awareness of their rights and offers training and advice on how to earn an income...







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