onetoone
one
Current Issue
December, 2017
Volume 43, Number 4
  
15 November 2013
J.D. Conor Mauro




In this 5 October photo, Syrian refugee children gather around a fire near their makeshift tents in Ankara, Turkey. (photo: CNS/Umit Bekta, Reuters)

United Nations shocked by Syrian refugees being turned away (Daily Star Lebanon) On Friday, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) expressed alarm over reports that Greece and Bulgaria were turning away Syrians fleeing their war-ravaged homeland, forcing them to return to overloaded Turkey. “Push-backs and prevention of entry can put asylum-seekers at further risk and expose them to additional trauma,” UNHCR spokesman Adrian Edwards told reporters, saying that all states must cease such practices immediately…

In Syria, a new order for daily bread (Los Angeles Times) The war in Syria has disrupted food supplies, and few scarce commodities are missed more than bread, a staple in the nation. At the height of the shortages last year, Syrians posted sonnets online about a boy and his beloved: a loaf of bread. Shortages in opposition neighborhoods and towns lead to long lines and crowding at the few functioning bakeries, which become targets for government shelling or airstrikes in which dozens have been killed. Now bakeries here in Aleppo no longer sell directly to customers. “The whole point was to avoid the crowding,” said Yusuf Hirih, owner of a bakery in Kalaseh neighborhood…

‘Little flowers’ of solidarity blossoming in the desert of Syria’s war (AsiaNews) “Little flowers” are blossoming in the desert of Syria’s war, tended by acts of charity and solidarity towards civilians crushed by bombs and overwhelmed by hunger, according to Melkite Greek Catholic Archbishop Jean-Clement Jeanbart of Aleppo and Archbishop Mario Zenari, papal nuncio to Syria. In the stories that they tell, the two prelates describe another Syria, one that survives alongside the Syria of hatred and destruction covered by international media. “Through its charity work, the Catholic Church is trying to regain the sense of love and brotherhood between Christians and Muslims that the war has destroyed,” said Archbishop Jean-Clement…

India needs a Magna Carta for children’s rights (Fides) “Every month about 100,000 Indian children die from causes related to malnutrition. Many die because of infectious diseases that could be cured, but malnutrition has weakened their immune systems,” said Sajan George Kavinkalath, president of the Mother Teresa Foundation for Children, in an appeal for the protection and safeguarding of childhood in India. “The first task of social justice is to save the lives of children. … A solemn legislative affirmation is needed on equal access to education for girls and against any discrimination of gender and caste or economic and social status, a sort of Magna Carta for the child…”

Syro-Malabar Catholic Church protests Western Ghats report (The Pioneer) The Catholic Church in Kerala has taken a stance against recommendations of the Madhav Gadgil and Kasturirangan committees for the protection of the Western Ghats and its ecology, saying that implementation of the proposals would put the farmers in the state’s high ranges into peril. A pastoral letter issued by Syro-Malabar Bishop Mathew Anikkuzhikkattil of Idukki asked farmers and people of the high ranges to deal with political parties and leaders supporting the panel reports in an organized manner…

Chaldean patriarch: ‘We fear for our survival’ (Aid to the Church in Need) Hopes are high ahead of the meeting of the Catholic patriarchs of the Middle East with the pope. Patriarch Louis Raphael I, the head of the Chaldean Church, which is in full communion with Rome, recently spoke to the Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need, remarking that he expects much from the meeting. The patriarch, who resides in Baghdad, described it as a great challenge for the Christians in the Middle East to live as full and equal citizens of their countries. “Emigration is threatening our present and our future. We fear for our survival…”



Tags: Refugees Syrian Civil War Kerala Syro-Malabar Catholic Church Chaldean Patriarch Louis Raphael I

14 November 2013
J.D. Conor Mauro




Pope Francis takes off his zucchetto as he leaves his general audience in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican on 6 November. (photo: CNS/Paul Haring)

Prosecutor warns of a mafia threat against Pope Francis (Washington Post) Pope Francis could be at risk from the ‘Ndrangheta organized crime organization, according to a leading anti-mob prosecutor who has himself been the target of threats from the mafia. Nicola Gratteri, 55, a state prosecutor in the southern Italian region of Calabria, where the ‘Ndrangheta is most active, said the pope’s effort to reform the church is making the ‘Ndrangheta “very nervous.” The organization is considered by experts in Italy to be the most dangerous and coordinated mafia organization in the country. “For many years, the mafia has laundered money and made investments with the complicity of the church. But now the pope is dismantling the poles of economic power in the Vatican, and that is dangerous…”

Memory of a mass killing becomes another casualty of Egyptian protests (New York Times) Memory has become a frequent casualty of Egypt’s politics since the uprising against former President Hosni Mubarak in 2011. Leaders have tried to wipe away histories of atrocities by foot-dragging on investigations until new bloodshed dulls memories of the old. But nothing so far has matched the effort by the military-backed government and its supporters to extinguish the memory of Rabaa al Adawiya, the site of the worst mass killing in Egypt’s modern history, and a dangerous reminder of absent justice and Egypt’s festering political feuds. Reminders of the past have become a threat. Athletes have drawn outrage and censure for displaying the four-finger Rabaa symbol — Rabaa means “fourth” in Arabic — at competitions. For its part, the military quickly transformed the square where as many as 900 people were killed, leaving no hint of the violence except the bullet holes in lampposts and homes…

Egypt: Church threatens to reject constitution (Asharq al Awsat) The Coptic Church has threatened to reject Egypt’s new draft constitution over the terminology used to describe Christians and Jews. A member of the 50-member constitution drafting committee, speaking on condition of anonymity, revealed that the differences revolve around an article that uses the term “People of the Book” to refer to Christians and Jews, which some from the two minority groups find offensive. Egypt’s Christians have rejected the term “People of the Book,” preferring the article refer specifically to “non-Muslims…”

Jordan rejects Jewish prayer at Al Aqsa mosque compound (Al Monitor) Jordanian-Israeli ties, always under pressure, could be heading for trouble if the Knesset approves a controversial bill to divide Al Aqsa mosque compound in east Jerusalem, allowing Jews to pray in the Muslim compound. The bill was drafted by Israeli Deputy Minister for Religious Affairs Rabbi Eli Ben Dahan and was rejected by Arab Knesset members, who warned that if passed, the law could lead to the eruption of a third intifada. Under the peace treaty between Jordan and Israel, the former maintains a special supervisory role over Muslim and Christian holy sites in east Jerusalem, occupied by Israel since the 1967 war…

Syrian Kurds gaining ground, push for autonomy (Christian Science Monitor) Emboldened by a string of victories over powerful Al Qaeda affiliates fighting in Syria, Kurds there have taken a major step toward autonomy. On Tuesday, Kurdish groups announced the formation of an interim autonomous government in Syria’s Kurdish region, with elections to follow. The announcement comes on the heels of battle successes against Jabhat al Nusra and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, among the most powerful of the myriad homegrown and foreign forces fighting the Assad regime…

Russian Orthodox Church returns to Mideast (Al Monitor) Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, the Russian Orthodox Church’s chief external affairs officer, met with a number of state, political and religious officials in the Lebanese capital, bearing several messages. The most important was Russia’s decision to effectively act as the protector of Christians in the Levant and as their defender and legal representative, perhaps the only real one they have on an international level. The metropolitan went on to emphasize that the goals, principles and interests of the Russian Federation are predicated on “the survival of Levantine Christians in their countries, and their peaceful coexistence with their Muslim compatriots, away from external attempts to destabilize those countries…”

Serbian Orthodox Church celebrates “Vraci” (inSerbia) Today, the Serbian Orthodox Church celebrates the feast of Sts. Cosmas and Damian, popularly known as “Vraci” or “Vracevi.” These saints are considered patrons of the medical profession. Sts. Cosmas and Damian were twin brothers, physicians and early Christian martyrs born in Cilicia, part of today’s Turkey. They practiced their profession in the seaport of Ayas, Adana and the Roman province of Syria. They did not accept payment for their services, and many believe that this is how they attracted many people to Christian faith…



Tags: Egypt Pope Francis Syrian Civil War Jordan Russian Orthodox Church

13 November 2013
J.D. Conor Mauro




In his final address as president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Cardinal Timothy Dolan called religious freedom “a central social and political concern of our time” and urged the bishops to make the protection of religious liberty around the world a priority in their work. (video: CNS)

Cardinal Dolan urges bishops to make religious freedom a priority (CNS) New York Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan, CNEWA’s chair, called upon his brother bishops to champion the cause of people around the world being persecuted because of their faith even as the bishops continue to prevent what he described as infringements upon religious practice in the United States. In his final address as president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops at the opening of their fall general assembly on 11 November in Baltimore, Cardinal Dolan outlined a series of steps the bishops can take to protect religious freedom around the world…

Pope expresses deep sorrow for deaths of children in Syria (Vatican Radio) During the General Audience Wednesday in St. Peter’s Square, Pope Francis expressed great sadness over the tragic loss of innocent lives in the conflict in Syria, particularly the deaths this week of a number of school children in a Damascus suburb. “Let us pray that these tragedies do not occur!” he said. “These are the true battles to fight…”

Syrian mothers in refugee camp brace for winter (Al Monitor) More than 200 Syrian babies are born in Zaatari refugee camp in Jordan every month, and with winter on its way and a shortage of baby food, families are worried. In Zaatari, manufactured milk for babies is scarce, too, just like diapers, which can only be bought every few months and are very expensive…

Egypt’s Christians close ranks as kidnappings spike (Christian Science Monitor) A terrifying ordeal has become familiar for Christians throughout southern Egypt. More than 100 people have been kidnapped for ransom in this marginalized region in the last two and a half years, nearly all of them Christians, according to activists and church officials. And there has been a sharp increase in kidnappings in the months since 14 August, when hundreds were killed as police broke up two sit-ins supporting Muhammad Morsi, Egypt’s recently ousted president…

Israel halts West Bank settlement plan under pressure (Al Jazeera) Israel’s prime minister attempted to halt a plan to explore the potential construction of thousands of new homes in West Bank settlements, saying it had created an “unnecessary confrontation” with the international community that threatened to weaken his campaign against Iran’s suspect nuclear program. The plan, announced Tuesday by Israel’s Housing Ministry, drew angry criticism from officials in Washington, who said they had been blindsided by the announcement. A State Department statement reiterated that “we do not accept the legitimacy of continued settlement activity.” The U.N. deems all Israeli settlements on land occupied during the war of June 1967 to be illegal…

Iraq attacks kill 27 as Shiites mass for Ashura (Daily Star Lebanon) Violence across Iraq, including bombings against Shiites, killed 27 people on Wednesday as worshipers massed in a shrine city on the eve of major commemoration rituals often targeted by militants. The bloodshed was the latest in a months-long surge in unrest that has forced Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki to appeal for United States military assistance, as Iraqi action has failed to stem the unrelenting wave of attacks. Bombings mostly struck north and west of Baghdad, targeting Shiite Muslims and members of the security forces…

Short overview of wine in Georgia (Heritage Daily) According to a Georgian legend, God took a supper break while he was creating the world. He became so involved in his meal that he by accident tripped over the high peaks of the Caucasus and as a result he spilled his own food onto the land below. The land below blessed with the scraps of Heaven’s table was Georgia. The beginning of human civilizations is closely connected to the development of agriculture and the history of cultivated plants, and Georgia played a crucial role in this process. One of the reasons for that is that wine culture in Georgia can be traced to early prehistoric times. The research of linguists indicates that the root of the Indo-European term for ‘wine’ (“vino”) might derive from the Georgian word “Rvino”…



Tags: Iraq Violence against Christians Georgia Refugee Camps Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan

12 November 2013
J.D. Conor Mauro




In this 24 October photo, Comboni Sister Azezet Kidane, known as Sister Aziza, hugs a child at the nursery school in the African Refugee Development Center’s shelter in Tel Aviv, Israel. The shelter for single mothers and pregnant women has been helping Eritrean women fleeing to Israel through Egypt. (photo: CNS/Debbie Hill)

Comboni nun works to help Eritreans tortured, raped en route to Israel (CNS) Comboni Sister Azezet Kidane is fluent in Amharic, Tigrit, Arabic and Sudanese dialects, so she was a natural choice when a shelter for African refugees needed help. It was only after the nun, known as Sister Aziza, began conducting interviews with Eritrean refugees that she realized the people she was talking to had been tortured. “It is a horror story what is happening,” she told Catholic News Service from the African Refugee Development Center’s shelter for single mothers and pregnant women in a low-income neighborhood of Tel Aviv. “Sister Aziza is a blessing for us. People feel comfortable opening up to her,” said Shahar Shoham, director of migrants and statusless people at Physicians for Human Rights Israel. “The torture continues even now. As we are speaking it is happening…”

Activist groups condemn Eritrean human rights abuses (Open Doors) The United Nations’ special rapporteur on human rights in Eritrea, Sheila Keetharuth, recently told the General Assembly that human rights abuses in Eritrea are causing “countless Eritreans” to flee the country. Eritreans, according to U.N. figures, are second only to Syria in the number of those who have fled to Italy by sea as of 30 September. A number of rights organizations, including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, have condemned Eritrea’s human rights record. Amnesty International claims that Eritrea’s prisons are filled with “thousands of political prisoners, locked up without ever being charged with a crime, many of whom are never heard from again…”

Shelling in Damascus: children, civilians and churches affected (Fides) Mortar shells damaged the St. John Damascene Primary School yesterday in the district of Al Qassaa in Damascus, killing 5 children and wounding 27 others. Another rocket hit a school bus in Bab Touma, a predominantly Christian suburb in Damascus, injuring five students…

Syrian priest describes war of ‘all against all’ (Fides) The leader of Al Qaeda, Ayman Zawahiri, made an official pronouncement delegitimizing the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, the jihadist organization that last year had assumed a hegemonic position in the frontline of anti-Assad militias. This illustrates the growing conflicts between the factions fighting the Syrian army government, loyal to Assad. The Rev. Paul Karam, director of the Pontifical Mission Societies in Lebanon, commented on this turn of events. “On Syrian ground it is a war, all against all. … Who pays for all this? Only the exhausted Syrian population and, within society, the minorities who are the most vulnerable of all,” he said. “It is necessary to promote a true path of peace that does not take the form of a plan for the division of the country…”

Pope meets with Russian Orthodox Metropolitan Hilarion (Vatican Radio) Pope Francis met on Tuesday with Metropolitan Hilarion, head of the Department of External Church Relations of the Russian Orthodox Church. This meeting coincided with the meeting of Cardinal Angelo Scola and Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill in Moscow…

Interreligious dialogue in the teaching of the Catholic Church (VIS) TheHoly See Press Office held a press conference to present the book “Il Dialogo Interreligioso nell’Insegnamento Ufficiale della Chiesa Cattolica (1963-2013)” (“Interreligious Dialogue in the Official Teaching of the Catholic Church, (1963-2013)”). The speakers in the conference were Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, president of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue; the Rev. Miguel Angel Ayuso Guixot, M.C.C.J., secretary of the same dicastery; and Bishop Francesco Gioia, O.F.M., editor of the work. The aim of this third edition, which covers the papal magisterium from the Vatican Council II until Pope Benedict XVI, is to present directly to both Catholics and followers of other religions the official thought of the church…



Tags: Refugees Syrian Civil War Ecumenism Eritrea Interfaith

8 November 2013
J.D. Conor Mauro




Bishop Antoine Audo of Aleppo, Syria, pictured here in 2007, expressed concerns about the potential impact of combat over a Syrian power plant. (photo: CNS/Liana Allos)

Clashes at power plant put Aleppo at risk of environmental catastrophe (Fides) “For three days there has been no electricity in the center of Aleppo. There have been clashes at the power plant in Al Harrarieh, and there is very dangerous situation because hazardous materials are located in that area,” says Chaldean Bishop Antoine Audo of Aleppo…

Syrian archbishop denies massacre in Qamishli (Fides) According to Syriac Catholic Archbishop Jacques Behnan Hindo, there was no massacre of Christians in the Syrian cities of Hassaké and Qamishli. False news of a massacre of 70 Christians — including three priests — carried out in Qamishli by anti-Assad rebels had been launched on some sites already known for previous operations of misinformation…

Lebanese Shiite leader launches interfaith dialogue (Al Monitor) The prominent Lebanese Shiite scholar Ali Fadlallah has launched a new initiative aimed at promoting interfaith dialogue and cooling sectarian tensions in the region. This forum was announced during a ceremony held in Beirut on Tuesday, 30 October. A number of religious leaders were also in attendance, including the Rev. Fadi Daou, a representative of Maronite Patriarch Bechara Peter; the Rev. Sulaiman Wehbe, a representative of Melkite Greek Catholic Patriarch Gregory III; a representative for the papal ambassador to Lebanon; Archbishop Daniel Sukkar, a representative of Syriac Orthodox Patriarch Ignatius Zakka I; and a number of Sunni, Shiite and Druze religious scholars from Lebanon and the Arab and Islamic world…

Egypt-Ethiopia Nile talks end on sour note (Al Monitor) Disputes and disagreements erupted again between Egypt and Ethiopia concerning the Nile River dam construction, after both countries failed to reach an agreement governing the Ethiopian Renaissance Dam in their initial negotiating session. The attempt at dialogue quickly ended, while the crisis of trust between the two countries resurfaced as their fears that the other might appropriate the Nile’s waters became evident…



Tags: Ethiopia Syrian Civil War Violence against Christians Interfaith Environment

7 November 2013
J.D. Conor Mauro




In this September photo, Chaldean Patriarch Raphael Louis I delivers a homily in St. Raphael Chaldean Cathedral in Beirut during his pastoral visit to Lebanon. (photo: Chaldean Patriarchate)

Chaldean patriarch sends letter to clergy (Chaldean Patriarchate) On 31 October, His Beatitude Patriarch Louis Raphael I sent a second letter to the Chaldean clergy that came as a continuation for the first letter, sent on 4 July. This letter reminds the clergy, monks and nuns of the high vocation to which the Lord has called them. He focused especially on the values of daily prayer, communal life, humble service, clarity and transparency in dealing with financial matters. “‘The church is not an institution devised and built by men,’” the patriarch says, quoting theologian Romano Guardini, “‘but a living reality…’”

Iraqi children face poverty, violence, exploitation (Al Monitor) After more than ten years of continuous conflict in Iraq, children remain consistent victims of widespread poverty, political dysfunction and sectarian violence. Terrorist groups in Iraq have not excluded children, as numerous attacks have targeted places where children are likely to be present. This was the case in the attack that targeted an elementary school in one of the villages in northwestern Iraq on 6 October. This attack claimed the lives of more than a dozen children, while 44 were injured by the blast caused by two car bombs…

Pope Tawadros declines to celebrate the anniversary of his inauguration (Fides) Pope Tawadros II canceled the celebrations planned to mark the first anniversary of his inauguration as the pope and patriarch of the Coptic Orthodox Church. The anniversary falls on 18 November. This renunciation is due to the difficult condition experienced by the Coptic Church and the whole of Egypt. The Coptic pope nevertheless said that he will recite the liturgical prayers of that day, asking God to grant peace…

Middle East Christians consider threats to their communities (Al Monitor) During a gathering of Christian representatives from across the Middle East in Beirut, participants were divided on the matter of prioritizing dangers. The disparity in the opinions of the six delegations regarding the most important threats facing Christians was stark. In simpler words, there was disagreement over the first, immediate and spontaneous answer to the question: Who is currently your enemy? A point of broad agreement, however, concerned calling upon the West to support the cause of Christians in the Middle East…

Israel reportedly proposes separation wall as Palestinian border (Al Jazeera) Israeli negotiators told their Palestinian counterparts that the separation wall that cuts through the occupied West Bank will serve as the border of a future Palestinian state, according to Israeli media reports. Since peace talks resumed in late July, the Palestinians have repeatedly complained about Israel’s lack of clarity on the issue of borders. The Palestinians insist the peace talks should be based on the lines that existed before the 1967 Six Day War, when Israel seized and occupied Gaza, the West Bank and Arab east Jerusalem…

Pope to receive Russian president at the Vatican (Times of Malta) Pope Francis will receive Russian President Vladimir Putin on 25 November, an encounter that could help mend strained relations between the Vatican and the Russian Orthodox Church. Russian-Vatican relations have been fraught since the 1991 breakup of the Soviet Union, with Moscow accusing the Catholic Church of trying to poach believers from the Russian Orthodox Church, a charge the Vatican denies…



Tags: Iraq Pope Francis Middle East Christians Coptic Orthodox Pope Tawadros II Chaldean Patriarch Louis Raphael I

6 November 2013
J.D. Conor Mauro




In this 2010 photo, Latin Patriarch Fouad Twal of Jerusalem prays at the Stone of Unction before leading the the Easter Vigil Mass in the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. (photo: CNS/Debbie Hill)

Patriarch Twal: Israeli demolitions sabotage peace (Fides) Latin Patriarch Fouad Twal of Jerusalem condemned the recent demolition of a house built on Latin Patriarchate property by the Israeli government. “There is no justification for the demolition, but when the municipality and the Israeli government enact demolitions and displace people from their homes, these practices increase hatred and endanger the future of peace…”

Jesuits create online courses for refugees (Fides) Currently there are more than 500,000 Syrian refugees in Jordan. The Jesuit Refugee Service launched online higher education courses in Amman last July, and immediately found a welcome surprise: word of mouth among refugees has led to the boom of enrollments…

Pope extends greetings to Hungarian Roma (VIS) After today’s general audience, the pope extended his customary greetings to more than 45,000 participants gathered in St. Peter’s Square. He dedicated some words to the Hungarian Roma population who are participating in a national pilgrimage to Rome. “You have brought with you the cross that was blessed in this square ten years ago by Blessed John Paul II,” he said…

Egypt court upholds ban on Muslim Brotherhood (Los Angeles Times) An Egyptian appeals court on Wednesday upheld a sweeping ban on the Muslim Brotherhood, in a sign of the interim government’s determination to keep heavy pressure on the Islamist movement. The ban, ordered in September, outlaws all Brotherhood-linked groups and activities, and paves the way for the seizure of the movement’s assets. The Brotherhood denounced the ruling, which came just two days after deposed Islamist President Mohamed Morsi was put on trial by the military-backed government…

Bishop of Kerala to government: give a home to the homeless (Fides) Philipose Mar Crisostomo, Syro-Malankara metropolitan archbishop, urged the Prime Minister of Kerala, Oommen Chandy, to pursue initiatives to provide homes for the homeless. Mr. Chandy presented the project called “Zero Landless” to church leaders, which aims to provide a plot of land to all farmers who do not have one. On this occasion, the metropolitan suggested a similar project: “Zero Homeless,” demanding the state of Kerala to give the same attention to all homeless families…



Tags: Egypt Refugees Kerala Patriarch Fouad Twal Roma

5 November 2013
J.D. Conor Mauro




In this 2008 photo, Armenian Apostolic Catholicos Karekin II of the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin, patriarch of All Armenians, attends Pope Benedict XVI’s weekly general audience in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican. (photo: CNS/Dario Pignatelli, Reuters)

Patriarch Karekin II to head World Council of Churches (ArmenPress) The delegates of the tenth assembly of the World Council of Churches in Busan, South Korea, unanimously elected His Holiness Karekin II, supreme patriarch and catholicos of All Armenians, to become the president of the World Council of Churches. The Press Service of the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin informed Armenpress that the patriarch will head the Council for the coming eight years…

Archbishop calls Sadad killings the largest massacre of Christians in Syria (Fides) “What happened in Sadad is the most serious and biggest massacre of Christians in Syria in the past two years and a half,” said Archbishop Selwanos Boutros Alnemeh, Syriac Orthodox metropolitan of Homs and Hama. In Sadad, invaded by Islamist militias a week ago and then re-conquered by the Syrian army, “45 innocent civilians were martyred for no reason, and among them several women and children, many thrown into mass graves. Other civilians were threatened and terrorized. 30 were wounded and 10 are still missing. For one week, 1,500 families were held as hostages and human shields…”

Five days on the ground with Syrian Christians (Catholic World Report) As civil war continues to rage in Syria, Christian communities with ancient roots in the country stand in the crossfire between the Syrian government and the rebel forces. Below is an account of several days in the war zone from the Rev. Daniel Maes, a Belgian priest who has been at the Melkite Greek Catholic Monastery of Mar Yakub in Qara, Syria for several years. In it he details the efforts of Mother Agnes-Mariam de la Croix, the Lebanese-born superior of the Mar Yakub nuns, to free hostages taken by the rebels and to negotiate peace…

Explosion at the nunciature in Damascus, no casualties (VIS) According to the Holy See Press Office, the apostolic nunciature in Syria, located in Damascus in the central quarter of Malki, was struck by a mortar shell this morning. The incident did not cause extensive structural damages and the nunciature remained open to the public today…

United Nations estimates 40 percent of Syrians need aid (Al Jazeera) Valerie Amos, United Nations humanitarian chief, told the 15-member Security Council on Monday that 9.3 million people now need outside help to survive, up from 6.8 million in September, and 6.5 million are now homeless inside the country, up from 4.25 million. The population of Syria is about 23 million…

Orthodox and Catholic theologians call for peace in Middle East (U.S.C.C.B.) The North American Orthodox Catholic Theological Consultation issued a statement on the plight of Christians in the Middle East at their meeting in Mississauga, Ontario, calling for the release of a Greek Orthodox metropolitan and a Syriac Orthodox metropolitan — both from Aleppo, Syria — and repudiating the kidnapping, torture and killing of not only Christians but all civilians…

Ethiopian Orthodox Church works to end violence against women (Care2) With 45 million members, the Ethiopian Orthodox Church has powerful influence on Ethiopian society. U.N. Women forged an initiative with the church in two districts, Woldia and Kobo, in the northern Amhara region. Aiming to reach a broad population, the project involves in-depth training workshops that engage religious leaders to take the lead to end violence against women and girls. At the trainings, the religious leaders learn about the causes and consequences of violence against women and strategies to prevent violence…

To celebrate Diwali, Nepal and India ‘lose’ a month of electricity (AsiaNews) In India and Nepal, the five-day Diwali festival consumes every year as much electricity as a whole month of ordinary use. Still, the ’festival of lights’ is the most important and lavish celebration on the Hindu calendar. And today, the fifth and final day of the festival, people celebrated Bhai Tika, a time when brothers and sisters meet and exchange gifts…



Tags: India Syrian Civil War Violence against Christians Armenian Apostolic Church Ethiopian Orthodox Church

4 November 2013
Greg Kandra




In the video above, Melkite Patriarch Gregory III of Antioch answers questions at Aid to the Church in Need’s UK office. (video from Aid to the Church in Need)

Patriarch Gregory III of Antioch discusses life in Syria (Byzcatch.org) John Pontifex interviews Patriarch Gregory III of Antioch at Aid to the Church in Need’s UK office. The Patriarch, who is the head of the Melkite Greek Catholic Church, was visiting the UK as the guest-of-honour at Aid to the Church in Need’s Persecuted but never forgotten events in London and Glasgow. In this interview he talks about what life has been like for Christians in war-torn Syria...

Mursi trial begins in Egypt (Vatican Radio) Egypt on Monday began the trial of ousted president Mohamed Mursi. It is the second time in just over two years that an overthrown president has been in court in Egypt. The trial is not being aired on state television and journalists were barred from bringing their telephones into the courtroom set up in a Cairo police academy. The now-banned Muslim Brotherhood has said it will not abandon street protests to pressure the army,which toppled Mursi on 3 July, to reinstate him. Speaking to Vatican Radio the Chief press spokesman, of the Greek Melkite Catholic Church in Cairo, Fr. Rafic Greiche says he hopes the trial will help turn a page for the Egyptian people...

Pope Francis prays for deceased cardinals and bishops (Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Monday, 4 November celebrated Mass in remembrance of all the cardinals and bishops who died during the past year. During the Mass, which was held in St. Peter’s Basilica, the Pope reminded us that we are all in the merciful hands of God who will grant heavenly rewards to the just and the righteous...

Chaldean patriarch reflects on his ministry (Asia News) “Remember always that you are priests!” Therefore, “I invite you to think of the wonderful mission to which you are called” within “the One, Universal, Holy and Apostolic Church,” said Chaldean Patriarch Mar Louis Raphael Sako I in a letter to the Chaldean clergy, published on 31 October and recently sent to Asia News. His Beatitude talks about the ten years of his episcopate, his nine months at the helm of the patriarchal see and the coming final celebrations of the Year of Faith. For this reason, he has decided to address for a second time, after his first letter in May, all the bishops, priests, religious and nuns of the Chaldean community in order to invite them to “prayer and introspection” under the protection “of the Virgin Mary...”



29 October 2013
J.D. Conor Mauro




In this photo from last month, Pope Francis walks with Greek Orthodox Patriarch Youhanna X of Antioch during a private meeting at the Vatican. (photo: CNS/L’Osservatore Romano via Reuters)

Heads of Eastern churches to meet in summit (VIS) Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, prefect of the Congregation for the Eastern Churches, announced in his address at the opening of the new academic year of the Pontifical Oriental Institute that a summit meeting of the patriarchs and major archbishops of the Eastern churches of Syria, Iraq and the Middle East will be held in the Vatican, in the presence of Pope Francis, on 21 November. The meeting, which will take place from 19 to 22 November, will take as its general theme “The Eastern Catholic churches, 50 years after Vatican Council II…”

Jesuits on the Syrian conflict: Let’s stop arms dealers (Fides) In order to understand and stop the conflict in Syria, “one should recognize and call by name the real interests at stake — at a local, regional and international level — that do not correspond to the interests of the Syrian people,” the Provincial Superiors of the Jesuits of the Middle East and Europe said in a recent statement. The Jesuit provincials dwell in particular on arms trafficking as triggering and feeding the violence in the Middle East…

Orthodox bishop appeals to rescue the people of Qalamoun (AsiaNews) The Syriac Orthodox Bishop Silvanus Boutros Naame issued an appeal on behalf of the approximately 3,000 residents of Sadad and Hofar, in the Qalamoun region of Syria, near the border with Lebanon. The bishop asks that they that they be saved from siege and moved to safe places “in any direction, either towards the Convent of Al Attieh or towards the city of Homs, where we may welcome them…”

Beleaguered Syrian Christians fear future (Denver Post) The shelling and recent rebel assaults on predominantly Christian towns have fueled fears among Syria’s religious minorities about the growing role of Islamic extremists and foreign fighters among the rebels fighting against President Bashar al Assad’s rule. Al Qaeda-linked fighters have damaged and desecrated churches in areas they have seized. In Raqqa, militants set fires in two churches and knocked the crosses off them, replacing them with the group’s black Islamic banner. Radical Islamists also torched an Armenian church in the northern town of Tel Abyad on Sunday, according to the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights…

Syria polio outbreak confirmed by WHO (BBC) The World Health Organization has confirmed ten cases of polio in war-torn Syria — the first outbreak in the country in 14 years. The United Nations body says a further 12 cases are still being investigated. Most of the 22 people who have been tested are babies and toddlers. Before Syria’s civil war began in 2011, some 95 percent of children were vaccinated against the disease. The U.N. now estimates 500,000 children have not been immunized…

Patriarch: Interreligious relations in Serbia ‘harmonious’ (B92) The head of the Serbian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Irinej, has described interreligious relations in Serbia as “harmonious.” Patriarch Irinej last week headed a Serbian delegation on a visit to Jakarta, Indonesia. According to Tanjug, the patriarch said “there are no such [harmonious] relations in Kosovo and Metohija, where ethnic Albanians declared independence unilaterally.” The patriarch and his Indonesian hosts “agreed that religious conflicts occur when politicians abuse religious issues,” according to the news agency…



Tags: Pope Francis Middle East Christians Syrian Civil War Ecumenism Serbian Orthodox Church





1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 | 24 | 25 | 26 | 27 | 28 | 29 | 30 | 31 | 32 | 33 | 34 | 35 | 36 | 37 | 38 | 39 | 40 | 41 | 42 | 43 | 44 | 45 | 46 | 47 | 48 | 49 | 50 | 51 | 52 | 53 | 54 | 55 | 56 | 57 | 58 | 59 | 60 | 61 | 62 | 63 | 64 | 65 | 66 | 67 | 68 | 69 | 70 | 71 | 72 | 73 | 74 | 75 | 76 | 77 | 78 | 79 | 80 | 81 | 82 | 83 | 84 | 85 | 86 | 87 | 88 | 89 | 90 | 91 | 92 | 93 | 94 | 95 | 96 | 97 | 98 | 99 | 100 | 101 | 102 | 103 | 104 | 105 | 106 | 107 | 108 | 109 | 110 | 111 | 112 | 113 | 114 | 115 | 116 | 117 | 118 | 119 | 120 | 121 | 122 | 123 | 124 | 125 | 126 |