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December, 2017
Volume 43, Number 4
  
10 November 2015
Greg Kandra




Forces of the Syrian opposition launch missiles targeting Hemeimeem military airport in Latakia, Syria, on 10 November 2015. (photo: Ali Hafavi/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

Blasts strike Syrian city (Reuters) At least 23 people were killed and 40 wounded in two explosions in the Syrian city of Latakia on Tuesday, a monitoring group said, in one of the bloodiest attacks on President Bashar al-Assad’s coastal stronghold. The blasts hit two separate areas of the city, one from rocket fire and the other either from a rocket or a planted explosive device, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said. With many of the wounded in serious condition, the death toll was expected to rise, said the Observatory, which monitors the war using sources on the ground...

Canadians brace for surge of Syrian refugees (CBC) Refugee resettlement agencies across Canada are working overtime to develop plans for integrating an unprecedented surge of refugees, without knowing how soon they’ll arrive or whether their agencies’ budgets will increase to meet the costs...

A Christian safe zone in Iraq? (Al-Monitor) Christian activists are making the unlikely gamble as their yearslong exodus from Syria and Iraq has turned into an outright stampede under the Islamic State (ISIS). They’re launching a lobbying blitz to get the United States to label their plight a genocide — and create pressure for the subsequent creation of a Christian safe haven in Iraq. “We are forming a lobby team and trying to raise some money to hire [a] very respected diplomat so we can get more countries involved in this issue,” said Loay Mikhael, head of the Foreign Relations Committee at the Chaldean Syriac Assyrian Popular Council...

Ethiopia appeals for help to feed thousands (AP) An Ethiopian official says the country’s more than 730,000 refugees could go hungry if $55 million in food aid is not raised by the end of the year. Ayalew Awoke, deputy director of refugee affairs, said Monday that a $20 million donation by the U.S. will be used up by the end of December and he warned of “a major crisis” unless aid comes in...

Russian Orthodox church to offer “pure” Wi-Fi (The Guardian) The Russian Orthodox Church has said it will offer free “Orthodox internet” Wi-Ficleansed of immoral content near churches and in public places around Moscow. Orthodox priest Roman Bogdasarov, who heads the Russian Inter-religious Council, told Izvestia newspaper that the internet contains many threats to users, including recruitment materials for Christian sects and Islamic State, pornography and “distorted versions of history”...



Tags: Syria Iraq Ethiopia Russian Orthodox

9 November 2015
Greg Kandra




A refugee family from Mosul rests in their home, a hut at the Bahirka Tent City in Erbil, Iraq,
29 October 2015. (photo: Yunus Keles/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)


U.N. prepares for refugee exodus in Iraq (Voice of America) The United Nations is expecting huge numbers of civilians to flee when Iraqi forces mount an offensive to retake the city of Mosul from Islamic State militants. It is not clear when Iraqi forces will be ready to attack the northern city. The much anticipated counter-offensive has been repeatedly postponed because Iraqi forces are unprepared and bogged down in battle elsewhere...

Confirmation of attack on Russian jet could strengthen Putin’s resolve (The New York Times) The main bell in St. Isaac’s Cathedral in St. Petersburg tolled 224 times on Sunday, once for each victim of the destruction of a Russian charter flight in Egypt a week ago. Although President Vladimir V. Putin and his aides at first indignantly dismissed suspicions of a terrorist act, the Kremlin has since then clearly come to grips with the idea that a bomb was probably involved in the crash: Late Friday it suspended all travel by Russians to Egypt, and initiated an emergency airlift that by Sunday had repatriated 11,000 Russians, by government count. Should an attack be confirmed — and particularly if the Islamic State’s claim that it bombed the plane in revenge for Russia’s intervention in Syria turns out to be true — analysts and other experts expect that it will only strengthen Mr. Putin’s resolve to become more deeply involved in the Middle East...

Dialogue council sends message to Hindus (Vatican Radio) The Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue has sent a Message to all people professing the Hindu religion, who are preparing to celebrate the festival of Deepavali (Diwali). The theme of the Message this year is our common duty to care for creation and work to build and develop an authentic “human ecology”...

Eritreans risk deadly odyssey to reach Europe (Al Jazeera) In addition to armed groups from Sudan to Sinai who seek to abduct them for ransom, and a treacherous Mediterranean Sea crossing that has killed more than 3,000 people this year, Eritreans now face a new peril — Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also knows as ISIS) gunmen who have caught and executed scores of African Christian refugees as they crossed Libya...

Oldest Ukrainian Catholic parish in the U.S. getting a makeover (ByzCath.org) Usually there isn’t scaffolding in the middle of the pews at this church in Shenandoah, but St. Michael’s Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church is getting some needed repairs. For years, the domes at the church have been leaking and the lighting wasn’t energy efficient but that“s changing. “We had to start first with our roof and our domes because that’s where most of the water leakage was coming from,” explained Msgr. Myron Grabowsky...



5 November 2015
J.D. Conor Mauro




Refugee and migrant children, living in a field on the Greek island of Lesbos, wait to register with refugee services on 4 November. (photo: Aris Messinis/AFP/Getty Images)

Greek island struggles to provide medical care to refugees (Al Jazeera) Tragedy has struck the island of Lesbos, in the eastern Aegean Sea, repeatedly in the past year, and October was the worst month yet. Lesbos received 125,000 refugees, double the number in August. It saw dozens of shipwrecks, with at least 35 people killed on 28 October alone. Despite the worsening weather, people keep on coming — about 6,000 per day. Overwhelmed, Lesbos now faces serious gaps in emergency medical care…

U.N. calls for access to vulnerable communities in eastern Ukraine (U.N. News Center) The United Nations humanitarian chief today concluded a three-day visit to Ukraine, calling for sustained and unimpeded access to the vulnerable communities caught in the middle of the crisis and who urgently need humanitarian aid…

Christians demonstrate in Erbil against law on conversion of minors (Fides) On Wednesday, hundreds of people belonging to the non-Islamic components of Iraqi society demonstrated in front of United Nations representatives in Erbil to protest against the law that allows the automatic change of children to the Islamic religion when one of the parents convert to Islam. The demonstration saw the participation of various political and civil society organizations and groups of Christians, Yazidis and Mandaeans…

Children’s photo exhibit brings plight of Syrian refugees to Washington (Al Monitor) UNICEF and a Lebanese nongovernmental organization are putting on an exhibit of photos taken by some 500 children between the ages of 7 and 12 in more than 200 informal settlements throughout Lebanon. For this project, the shots were taken in 2013 and 2014 by disposable cameras made available by UNICEF and ZAKIRA (“memory” in Arabic) in an effort to empower the children and help them overcome the trauma of war…

Moscow calls for agreement on opposition groups in Syria (AINA) “[The] U.S.-led coalition’s intervention in Syria lacks legitimacy since it is an action against democratically elected president and government; United States sought in Syria to lead a war of attrition and destroying Syrian infrastructure,” said a Russian spokesperson. Moscow now states it has arranged “working coordination groups” with “opposition representatives” aimed toward bolstering the fight against ISIS…

Egyptian naval fire kills Gaza fisherman, says official (Daily Star Lebanon) An Egyptian naval patrol shot and killed a Palestinian fisherman and wounded another Thursday off the coast near the border between Gaza and Egypt, a Gaza health ministry spokesman said. The victim was identified as Faris Meqdad, 18, ministry spokesman Ashraf al Qudra said. Egyptian forces have previously opened fire on Gazans they accused of crossing the maritime border between Egypt and the Palestinian enclave…



Tags: Syria Iraq Ukraine Gaza Strip/West Bank Greece

4 November 2015
Greg Kandra




In the video above, the U.N. warns that the stakes are getting higher for refugees fleeing Iraq and Syria, because of the weather. CNEWA is partnering with the Vatican to raise funds to help Syria’s refugees survive the cold. Click here to learn how. (video: Rome Reports)

Ukraine prosecutor survives apparent assassination attempt (SkyNews) Ukraine’s top prosecutor has survived what could have been an assassination attempt after a sniper fired shots at his window. Prosecutor-General Viktor Shokin’s life was saved by the bulletproof glass at his office in Kiev when the three shots were fired. No injuries have been reported...

Rough seas, falling temperatures fail to halt tide of refugees heading to Europe (The New York Times) The great flood of humanity pouring out of Turkey from Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq and other roiling nations shows little sign of stopping, despite the plummeting temperatures, the increasingly turbulent seas and the rising number of drownings along the coast...

Copts, women make big gains in Egypt election (Ahram.org) On top of the biggest winners of the first stage of Egypt’s parliamentary elections, held between 17 and 28 October in 14 governorates, are Copts and women. Official statistics show that out of 110 running as independents and party-based candidates in the first stage, 32 women have succeeded in securing seats in the coming parliament. Statistics also indicate that 16 Egyptian Copts have also won seats...

Holy See: we must see the “human face of migration” (Vatican Radio) The Holy See delegation to the United Nations on Tuesday said “Racism, racial discrimination and xenophobia are a serious affront to human dignity and are inexcusable impediments to building an international community committed to the promotion of human rights...”

Pope: help persecuted Christians in Middle East (Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Wednesday gave his support to the work of Aid to the Church in Need, which offers help to persecuted Christians around the world. The Church in Poland is marking on Sunday a “Day of Solidarity with the Persecuted Church,” which is promoted by Aid to the Church in Need in collaboration with the Polish Bishops’ Conference...

UN says climate change a major threat to food security (Vatican Radio) On November 30th a major international conference on climate change will open in Paris in an attempt to agree a legally-binding deal which will keep rises in global temperatures to below 2 degrees Celsius. But less than a month before the summit begins the UN special rapporteur on the right to food has sounded the alarm, saying climate change is a big threat to food security...



Tags: Syria Iraq Egypt Ukraine Copts

3 November 2015
Greg Kandra




Local residents and a search team inspect a collapsed building and try to rescue people after Syrian air forces struck residential areas in the Kellese region of Aleppo, Syria,
on 30 October 2015. (photo: Beha el Halebi/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)


Russia pushes for Syria peace talks (Reuters) Syrian government officials and members of the country's splintered opposition could meet in Moscow next week as Russia pushes to broker a political solution to the crisis, a senior official said on Tuesday. “Next week, we will invite opposition representatives to a consultation in Moscow,” Interfax news agency quoted Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov as saying...

Egypt dismisses ISIS claims of credit for Russian jet crash (Al Jazeera) Egypt’s president has dismissed as “propaganda” claims that ISIS fighters could have downed a Russian passenger jet over the Sinai Peninsula, as U.S. defense officials reportedly suspect either a bomb or a fuel tank explosion may have been responsible for the crash...

Rebels reportedly using Syrian soldiers as human shields (CNN) Rebels are caging captured Syrian soldiers and others loyal to the regime and using them as human shields to fend off government attacks, Human Rights Watch and a Syrian opposition group reported. “Nothing can justify caging people and intentionally putting them in harm’s way, even if the purpose is to stop indiscriminate government attacks,” said Nadim Houry with Human Rights Watch...

Properties returned to churches in Turkey (Fides) The Court of Appeal returned 439 acres of land that had been confiscated from the Syriac Orthodox monastery in Mor Hananyo, located in Mardin, in the southeast of Turkey. As Fides has learned, at the end of a legal dispute, the church authorities obtained a favorable verdict. Although the title deed of the land clearly indicates that it belongs to the foundation of the monastery, the land had been confiscated by the state and then was returned to the Church in 2006...

Report on anti-Christian violence in India being prepared (Fides) The Commission of Inquiry on anti-Christian violence that took place in 2008 in the district of Kandhamal, in Orissa, concluded its work and hearings on 30 October and is preparing to publish a detailed report on the investigation, which will be released at the end of December and presented to the government of Orissa...



Tags: Syria India Egypt Russia Turkey

2 November 2015
Greg Kandra




In St. Petersburg, Russia, a woman brings a photo of one of the victims of the crash as people mourn at the Palace Square on 1 November 2015. (photo: Alexander Aksakov/Getty Images)

Russia mourns victims of plane crash (AP) In a massive outpouring of grief, thousands of people flocked to St. Petersburg’s airport Sunday, laying flowers, soft toys and paper planes next to the pictures of the victims of the crash of a passenger jet in Egypt that killed all 224 on board in Russia’s deadliest air crash to date. “I can’t remain indifferent, there were so many people from St. Petersburg on the plane,” said Yelena Vikhareva, a 48-year old sales clerk who came to the airport with her son. “The pain is piercing the heart...”

Countries warned of dangers flying over Sinai (AP)The United States, Germany and Britain all had overflight warnings in place for Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula, where a Russian passenger plane went down killing all 224 people on board...

Pope Francis sends condolences to Russian people (Vatican Radio) Pope Francis has sent condolences to the Russian President and to the people following the crash of Russian Airbus A321 in Egypt in which 224 people were killed...

ISIS advances in Homs, Syria (BBC) Islamic State (IS) fighters have reportedly captured the Syrian town of Maheen, in central Homs Province, from government forces. They launched the offensive with two suicide car blasts late on Saturday, the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says. Clashes were also taking place in nearby Sadad, a mostly Christian town...

Indian scientist returns award in protest (Vatican Radio) A leading Indian scientist and writer has decided to return the Padma Bhushan award in protest against the climate of “religious intolerance” that has spread in the country. The decision of Dr. Pushpa Mittra Bhargava, the founder and director of the Center for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB) in Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh, came after 107 senior scientists signed an online statement on Wednesday to join the chorus of protests by other scientists, artists and writers. About 135 scientists had signed an online petition addressed to the President on Tuesday protesting intolerance and violence unleashed by Hindu fundamentalists in India...

All Souls Day fosters ecumenism in India (UCANews.com) In major cities in South Asia, the commemoration of All Souls’ Day is a tribute to ecumenism when Protestants and Catholics, a religious minority on the subcontinent, come together at centuries-old British-built cemeteries. On 2 November, the day Catholics and Protestants pray for the deceased, thousands of people in major cities in Bangladesh, India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka flock to common cemeteries...

Serbian Orthodox iconographer creates icon of 21 Coptic Christians beheaded by ISIS (Aleteia) The images released of their beheadings on the Mediterranean Coast of North Africa shocked the world. It deeply affected a Serbian Orthodox iconographer living in Germany, and now the icon he has written — that is, painted — is being auctioned off so the proceeds can help the families of the 21 victims. Nikola Sarić also says he hopes that through viewing the icon, titled “Holy Martyrs of Libya,” people will pray for the conversion of the terrorists...



Tags: Syria India Egypt Pope Francis Russia

30 October 2015
J.D. Conor Mauro




A Jordanian boy looks on during a protest in solidarity with Palestinian demonstrators following Friday prayers in Amman on 30 October. (photo: Khalil Mazraawi/AFP/Getty Images)

Pilgrims visit Holy Land, despite the violence (Fides) Pilgrimages continue to take place in Holy Land, despite the violence in recent weeks across the territory, according to the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem. “A pilgrimage in difficult times is a real pilgrimage,” wrote Bishop William Shomali in a note thanking visitors and inviting groups to pray for peace in Holy Land…

Coptic Christians targeted for kidnappings in Egypt (Christian Today) Police complacency toward the kidnapping of Coptic Christians in Egypt has fostered a climate of impunity, according to a Christian persecution charity. The phenomenon of kidnapping Coptic Christians for ransom has spread in the Minya province, the latest of which occurred last week…

Project for women and vulnerable children in the Somali region (Fides) The Catholic Church in the Somali region of Ethiopia is engaged in a project assisting women and vulnerable children. The idea, says a local source, was born following the meeting of missionary volunteers with underserved local residents. Most of these vulnerable people live with H.I.V. and other serious health problems…

Photos: 150 rescued from sinking boat off Lesbos (Al Jazeera) Photos of the rescue effort: The craft was one of many to encounter trouble making the crossing from Turkey as waters turn treacherous…

Patriarch Kirill believes in improvement of Russian-U.S. relations (Interfax) Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia believes that problems in Russian-U.S. relations will become history. “I think there is a special need for closer contact when problems arise in the relations between our countries,” the patriarch said in a meeting with U.S. Ambassador John Tefft in Moscow on Friday…



Tags: Egypt Refugees Ethiopia Holy Land Patriarch Kirill

29 October 2015
Greg Kandra




A picture taken on 29 October 2015 shows Syrians inspecting damaged buildings following a reported air strike by Syrian government forces in the rebel-held area of Douma, east of the capital Damascus. (photo: Sameer Al-DoumyAFP/Getty Images)

Kerry seeks end to Syrian civil war “hell” (BBC) The US is intensifying diplomatic efforts to end the “hell” of Syria’s civil war even as it increases support for moderate rebels, US Secretary of State John Kerry has said. Mr. Kerry is travelling to Vienna for talks with foreign ministers on ending the four-and-a-half year conflict...

Cardinal: Only peace will save the Christians of Mesopotamia (Fides) In Iraq and Syria, “without peace, there is no hope for anyone,” and only the end of sectarian conflicts can ensure the survival of the indigenous Christian communities in Mesopotamia. This is how Cardinal Fernando Filoni, Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, highlighted the dangers that threaten the present and the future of Christians in vast areas of the Middle East...

Bishop: talks underway about possible meeting between Pope Francis and Patriarch Kiril (Tass) The Russian Orthodox Church and the Vatican are in talks over the possible meeting between Pope Francis and Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia, said Bishop Tikhon (Shevkunov) of Yegoryevsk... “The relations [between the Russian Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Church] have varied over the past 20-30 years, at times they were tense. However, it is a different period now — of benevolent attention to each other. The negotiations over such a meeting [between the Pope and the Patriarch] are underway, and it is quite possible that we will learn something specific in the near future,” he said answering a question from a TASS correspondent...

Istanbul churches issue “Basic Principles of Christianity” book (TodaysZaman.com) For the first time after 1,700 years in the Christian world, the leaders of the Greek Orthodox, Armenian Apostolic, Syriac Orthodox, Catholic and Evangelical churches in Turkey came together at the Fener Greek Patriarchate in the Balat neighborhood of Istanbul to release the book “Basic Principles of Christianity” written by a council consisting of members from the churches...

Rastafarians return to Ethiopia (CNN) Two hundred and fifty kilometers from Addis Ababa, Shashamene’s Rastafarians live in 200 hectares of land bequeathed by former Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie I, the country’s leader from 1930 to 1974. A modernizer, he was a strong supporter of pan-Africanism and brought the country into the League of Nations, United Nations and made the capital Addis Ababa the center of the Organization of African Unity — the precursor for the African Union. But for many Rastafarians he was more than just the head of state. In fact the erstwhile duke (“Ras”) Tafari Makonnen gave his name to an entire religion...



28 October 2015
Greg Kandra




In the video above, Pope Francis marks the 50th anniversary of Nostra Aetate during his
weekly audience. (video: Rome Reports)


Iran accepts invitation to Syria peace talks (Reuters) Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and three of his deputies will attend multilateral talks on Friday in Vienna that seek to resolve the conflict in Syria, the foreign ministry was quoted as saying on Wednesday. It will be the first time that Tehran, the main regional backer of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, attends an international summit on the four-year-long war. Other participants, notably the United States, say Assad can play no part in Syria’s future...

Russians meet with religious leaders in Syria (Fides) A Russian delegation composed of parliamentarians, political and military representatives recently made a visit to Syria for a program of meetings which also includes visits to representatives of churches and local religious communities...

Iraqi parliament rejects law on religious affiliation for children (Fides) Parliament in Iraq rejected the proposal — made by Christian representatives, but supported by parliamentarians belonging to different alliances — to amend the law by which a child is automatically registered as a Muslim, even if only one parent converts to Islam...

Ethiopia experiencing worst drought in 30 years (UN Humanitarian Bulletin) Ethiopia is experiencing its worst drought in 30 years. The impact of the failed spring belg rains was compounded by the arrival of the El Niño weather conditions that weakened summer kiremt rains that feed 80 to 85 per cent of the country. This greatly expanded food insecurity, malnutrition and devastated livelihoods across six affected regions of the country. The level of acute need across virtually all humanitarian sectors has already exceeded levels seen in the Horn of Africa drought of 2011 and is projected to be far more severe throughout an 8-month period in 2016...

Catholic bishops in India ask government to focus on values, inclusiveness (Vatican Radio) The CBCI has proposed the ministry of Human Resource Development to form its new education policy focusing on teaching values and probity in public life without being religion-specific. The Catholic Church which owns the second highest number of education institutions in the country claimed that the present system was deficient in ethical and moral components. Further, the Church said that the new policy should nurture diversity, inclusiveness and secularism as well as divergent and critical thinking among the students...

‘Nostra Aetate’ at 50: the ‘Magna Carta’ of interreligious dialogue (CNS) Representatives of the world’s religions gathered in Rome to commemorate and reflect on the 50th anniversary of “Nostra Aetate,” the Second Vatican Council’s declaration on relations with other religions. Although it is the shortest of the Second Vatican Council’s documents, its influence continues to be felt in the life of the church today, said speakers at an anniversary conference 26-28 October sponsored by the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue and the Pontifical Commission for Religious Relations With the Jews...



Tags: Syria Iraq India Pope Francis Russia

27 October 2015
Greg Kandra




Cardinal Oswald Gracias of Mumbai, India, signs a document in which leaders of the world’s regional bishops conferences appealed for action on climate change. From left behind the cardinal are Auxiliary Bishop Jean Kockerols of Mechelen-Brussels, Belgium; Cardinal Ruben Salazar Gomez of Bogota, Colombia; unidentified priest; Archbishop Thomas G. Wenski of Miami; and Archbishop Richard Smith of Edmonton, Alberta. (photo: CNS/Paul Haring)

Syrian violence spurs civilian flight from country (The New York Times) A tenuous truce in the Syrian countryside north of the city of Homs was shattered this month when Russian warplanes attacked the village of Ter Ma’aleh, killing at least a dozen people and sending most of the residents into hurried exile. The intensity of the fighting, they say, is fueling increased desperation as a growing number of Syrians are fleeing to neighboring countries and, especially, to Europe. More than 9,000 migrants a day crossed into Greece last week, according to the International Organization for Migration, the most since the beginning of the year. The assault on the village was part of a wider escalation of violence across the country that has displaced tens of thousands of people in just weeks and led relief workers to warn that Syria is facing one of its most serious humanitarian crises of the civil war...

Bishops plead for climate change action (CNS) The presidents of the U.S. and Canadian bishops’ conferences joined leaders of the regional bishops’ conferences of Asia, Africa, Latin America, Oceania and Europe in signing an appeal for government leaders to reach a “fair, legally binding and truly transformational climate agreement” at a summit in Paris. Indian Cardinal Oswald Gracias of Mumbai, president of the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences, signed the appeal on 26 October at the beginning of a joint news conference at the Vatican...

Father Jacques Murad speaks of his captivity in Syria (Fides) “Even while being deported, with my hands tied behind my back, I surprisingly found myself repeating again and again: I am going towards freedom. My captivity was like being born again.” This was how Syrian monk and priest the Rev. Jacques Murad, Prior of the Monastery of Mar Elian, summarised the spiritual experience during the time he was deprived of his freedom by ISIS jihadists. A period of trial which started on 21 May, when armed men abducted the priest from the Monastery in the outskirts of Qaryatayn together with a co-worker, and ended on 11 October, when Father Jacques regained full freedom...

Chaldean archbishop: Thousands of Christians fleeing Iraq (Christian Today) Thousands of Iraqi Christians are still fleeing their country even though the humanitarian situation for the displaced has improved, Chaldean Catholic Archbishop Bashar Warda of Erbil has told Aid to the Church in Need. Growing numbers of Iraqi Christians forced out of their homes by ISIS are leaving the country as hopes fade that they will be able to return home, he said...

Pope Francis congratulates patriarch on honor (Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Monday sent a message on the occasion of the conferral of an honorary doctorate to Bartholomew I, Patriarch of Constantinople. The Honorary Doctorate in the Culture of Unity was granted the Patriarch by the Sophia University Institute “for his service to the unity of the human family...”

Synod drafts declaration on Middle East, Africa, Ukraine (Vatican Radio) The Synod Fathers launched a new appeal for peace and the resolution of conflicts in the Middle East, Africa and Ukraine, asking the international Community to act via diplomatic channels and to engage in dialogue to end the suffering of thousands of people. In the declaration, the Fathers make special reference to families compelled to flee their homes, and give thanks to the countries that have welcomed refugees...

Russian Orthodox official warns eating potato chips is “sinful” (The Moscow Times) Orthodox believers should shun unhealthy foods such as potato chips and products made by corrupt manufacturers because they are sinful, Moscow Patriarchate deputy speaker Roman Bogdasarov was cited as telling the Interfax news agency by the RBC news website on Sunday. “The Church has laid down a strict rule — sin is that which harms human health,” Bogdasarov said. Problematic products include foods containing “various trans fats, alcoholic beverages of poor quality, potato chips, energy [drinks] — everything that negatively affects a person’s health,” he was cited as saying in the report...



Tags: Syria Iraq India Russian Orthodox





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