24 July 2015
Erbil’s Ain Kawa is a temporary home for many Christian refugees displaced by ISIS. (video: Rudaw)
Christian refugees languish in camps, looking for hope (Rudaw) Marolin Sabri is angry. The 28-year-old mother of three says she is sick and tired of local officials who have made promises to her community of Assyrian Christian refugees that nestles together in a former church in Kirkuk. “I have to laugh. So many people have come from the government saying they will help us, but we are only surviving on the help from NGOs and the church,” she said. Sabri is one of thousands of Christian refugees who were brutally driven from their homes by the Islamic State, or ISIS, and sought safety in cities and towns across the Kurdistan region. Sabri’s home town of Bartella is still held by ISIS, and she wonders if she’ll ever return…
Ecumenical Institute for the Middle East will train young Christians (World Council of Churches) A new initiative called the Ecumenical Institute for the Middle East is “promising and inspiring” in its attempt to train young Christians in ecumenical thought and history, according to the Rev. Dr. Olav Fykse Tveit, general secretary of the World Council of Churches (W.C.C.). The W.C.C. general secretary met with organizers, students and faculty of the Ecumenical Institute for the Middle East on 20 July during a visit to Beirut, Lebanon…
Turkey bombs ISIS targets in Syria (BBC) Turkish planes have for the first time carried out air strikes against ISIS targets in Syria. In the early hours of Friday, police launched raids against ISIS and Kurdish militants across the country, arresting 297 people. The arrests come after the Kurdistan Worker’s Party’s military wing said it killed two Turkish police officers on Wednesday. The group claims the men collaborated with ISIS in the bombing of a Kurdish activists’ group on Monday that killed 32 people…
West Bank village anxiously awaits demolition (Al Jazeera) As Palestinians in the West Bank celebrated the Eid ul Fitr holiday, the end of Ramadan was marred for residents of Khirbet Susiya by fears that demolition orders would be carried out on their homes. In May, Israel’s High Court of Justice lifted a freeze on demolition orders issued against homes in the Palestinian village of Khirbet Susiya, located in the south Hebron Hills. Rights group B’Tselem warned that, due to settler pressure, Israeli authorities had decided to undertake the demolition of these homes even before the court hears a petition by residents scheduled for 3 August…
23 July 2015
Tags: Syria Iraq Middle East Christians Turkey West Bank
Now available online is the summer edition of CNEWA’s award-winning magazine, ONE.
This edition takes you to the plains of northern Iraq, where one year ago ISIS stormed ancient villages, wiping out 2,000 years of a Christian presence in Mesopotamia. You will meet the heroic women who, a year after their exodus, have cast aside their own needs and fears to care for those men, women and children in need of the graces of hope and healing.
You will hear from a young priest from Lebanon who works in a factory in Chicago to support his parish, his wife and his children. And you will meet his wife, who reveals the origins of her own vocation.
Armenia is rich in culture, long in history, and fueled by faith. Read the story of one woman caring for the country’s new orphans, the elderly.
There is much more — including stories only available online, and features focusing on the activities of religious sisters, women working in harm’s way in India and the Middle East. And walk through the pages of our “virtual print edition,” an interactive feature that looks like our print edition, but includes links to videos and much more.
We are very proud of ONE, which year after year receives acclaim from the Catholic Press Association of the United States and Canada for its first rate reporting, writing and moving photographs.
23 July 2015
Syro-Malabar Catholic Sisters speak with neighborhood women outside their convent in east Delhi’s Mandawali area in India. To learn more about the work of the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church in this and the surrounding areas, read Caste Aside, from the Summer 2014 edition of ONE. (photo: John Mathew)
23 July 2015
Tags: India Sisters Syro-Malabar Catholic Church Women
Major Archbishop George Alencherry, who leads the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church, offers the Rev. Joseph Kodakallil a sign of his office as bishop of the Eparchy of Satna. (photo: M.L. Thomas, CNEWA)
New bishop for Syro-Malabar Eparchy of Satna (Vatican Radio) The pope has named the Rev. Joseph Kodakallil as bishop of the Syro-Malabar Eparchy of Satna in Madhya Pradesh, India. The announcement was made on 22 July 2015 simultaneously by Pope Francis at the Vatican and Major Archbishop George Alencherry, head of the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church, at the Indian church’s headquarters at Kakkanad…
Water cuts in Aleppo threaten children amid intense heat wave (UNICEF) The restoration of water supplies to the city of Aleppo has come as a relief to residents whose taps have run dry in recent weeks due to the fighting and frequent power cuts. The disruption to piped water supplies —in some cases deliberately implemented by parties to the conflict — increased the risk of water-borne disease especially among children. “These water cuts came at the worst possible time, while Syrians are suffering in an intense summer heat wave,” said Hanaa Singer, UNICEF Representative in Syria. “Some neighborhoods have been without running water for nearly three weeks, leaving hundreds of thousands of children thirsty, dehydrated and vulnerable to disease…”
What will happen to the children of Syria? (Middle East Eye) Eid ul Fitr, a religious holiday directly after Ramadan, is supposed to be a joyous occasion — especially for children, who could always expect new clothes, toys, fun games and extra pocket money. Not so for the children of Aleppo, many of whom have already lived through four wartime Eids, and spent this one hauling plastic containers of water from nearby wells to their homes. The water and power supply had been cut to the city for three weeks, and the only way to get water was to queue up outside communal wells in the sweltering summer heat, a job mostly left to minors as the adults were too exhausted by their ritual fast…
Patriarch calls lives of Middle East Christians ‘bad’ and ‘less bad’ (National Catholic Reporter) Christians in the Middle East are facing difficulties ranging from “bad” to “less bad,” said Latin Patriarch Fouad Twal of Jerusalem. While describing the condition of the Palestinians in the West Bank as “bad,” he said their situation is better than the challenges faced by Christians in Syria and Iraq, especially those who have been forced to flee homes. The patriarch pushed again for an end to hostilities throughout the Holy Land and the Middle East. “We condemn those who sell [military] arms to help [maintain the war] in Syria,” he told Catholic News Service in July. “It is a pity. We have never reached this level of violence. We preach, we hope, we weep. In all of the Middle East it is not a normal life…”
Group: Israel advances Jewish settlement plans in West Bank (Daily Star Lebanon) An Israeli settlement watchdog group says Israel has advanced plans to build or retroactively approve 1,065 housing units in West Bank Jewish settlements. Peace Now said on Thursday that an Israeli military committee retroactively approved 24 housing units in the Beit El settlement, though Israel’s Supreme Court ordered them demolished by the end of July because they were built on private Palestinian lands…
22 July 2015
Tags: Syria India Children Syro-Malabar Catholic Church United Nations
Residents of the St. Ann Nursing Home in northeastern Hungary, which opened its doors in 1997, go for a walk together. To learn more about how Hungarian Greek Catholic sisters have affected the lives of the local elderly, read A Sister’s Act, from the July 2007 edition of ONE. (photo: Tivadar Domaniczky)
22 July 2015
Tags: Sisters Eastern Europe Caring for the Elderly Hungary Hungarian Greek Catholic
A Christian couple sits inside a tent erected on the grounds of St. Elijah Church in Erbil, in December 2014. (photo: Matt Cardy/Getty Images)
Is this the end of Christianity in the Middle East? (New York Times) The future of Christianity in the region of its birth is now uncertain. “How much longer can we flee before we and other minorities become a story in a history book?” says Nuri Kino, a journalist and founder of the advocacy group Demand for Action. According to a Pew study, more Christians are now faced with religious persecution than at any time since their early history. “[ISIS] has put a spotlight on the issue,” says Anna Eshoo, a California Democrat in the U.S. House of Representatives, whose parents are from the region and who advocates on behalf of Eastern Christians. “Christianity is under an existential threat…”
Law requested against conversion of Christian minors without parental consent (Fides) Mikel Munir — a Copt, and the founder and leader of the liberal political party Al Haya — addressed a public appeal to Egyptian authorities to ensure the personal status law under review should include a clause that prevents the change of religion for Christians minors without the consent of their parents…
Iraqi government orders Nineveh Plain forces to Baghdad (Fides) The Iraqi central government has ordered to transfer to Baghdad 4,000 soldiers and police who previously worked in the north provinces of Iraq — including the province of Nineveh — and this has provoked strong reactions on behalf of organizations and Christian politicians…
Syrian refugees in Lebanon face mental health crisis (Al Monitor) Hunger, thirst, lack of hygiene and lack of medical care are not the only problems for Syrian refugees in Lebanon. They also suffer from depression, anxiety and stress, due not only to their displacement, but also to their precarious existence…
Nationalists rally against Ukraine’s government (Vatican Radio) Thousands of supporters of a right-wing, nationalist paramilitary group in Ukraine have protested against government policies amid a deadly standoff between the nationalists and Ukrainian security forces in the country’s western region, near the border with Hungary…
Pope to stress interfaith ties during NYC visit, Cardinal Dolan says (AM New York) Pope Francis will seek to emphasize the importance of interreligious relations during his September visit to New York City and will hold up the city as a prime example of harmony among faiths, Cardinal Timothy Dolan said Sunday…
21 July 2015
Tags: Syria Iraq Egypt Refugees Middle East Christians
Metropolitan Andrey Sheptytsky led the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church in the tumultuous period of both world wars and the early Soviet era. (photo: CNS)
CNS reports Pope Francis has declared Metropolitan Andrey Sheptytsky “venerable,” the second stage along the process of canonization in the Catholic Church:
The pope July 16 signed the decree recognizing that Metropolitan Sheptytsky heroically lived a life of Christian virtue. The recognition is an initial step in the sainthood process; the Vatican would have to recognize a miracle attributed to his intercession in order for a beatification ceremony to be scheduled.
Metropolitan Sheptytsky led the Ukrainian Catholic Church from 1901 until his death in 1944. During his leadership Ukraine and its people were ruled by seven different regimes: Austrian, Russian, Ukrainian, Polish, Soviet, Nazi and, finally, the Soviets again. …
The Rev. Peter Galadza, acting director of the Metropolitan Andrey Sheptytsky Institute of Eastern Christian Studies at St. Paul University in Ottawa, Ontario, also mentioned the metropolitan’s efforts to save Jews during the Holocaust — including by personally sheltering them — and his efforts to promote reconciliation among Ukrainians, Russian and Poles.
Decades ago, the Rev. Romanos V. Russo wrote a profile of the late metropolitan for the Autumn 1982 edition of our magazine:
Archbishop Andrew was a Moses to his people. As Moses was an outspoken defender and liberator of his people, blessed Vladyka (bishop) Andrew strove to aid his Ukrainian flock in developing a sense of national identity.
As Moses himself was an “outsider,” raised an Egyptian and exiled among the Midianites, Archbishop Sheptitsky grew up in a family that had become more Polish and Latin Catholic than the Ukrainian Greek-Catholics they were by tradition.
Moses was the great liturgist that decreed the paths of piety, holding what is the Lord’s in honor. Vladyka Andrew preserved the numbers of his secular clergy and increased the religious ministering to his people and waged a life-long battle to purify and ennoble their liturgical life.
Moses led his people in their bitter wandering through the desert. Shiptitsky burned with zeal for the members of his flock scattered throughout the New World in search of another promised land.
Moses brought his flock to the brink of the Holy Land but was not granted to lead them in. Metropolitan Andrew exhausted himself in striving for the unity of the Eastern Churches but was not to see the fruit of this labor in his lifetime.
Moses and Andrew both pointed the way to Christ: of the former Scripture says “There has never yet risen in Israel a prophet like him,” (Dt. 34:10) The faithful prayerfully hope that the last word to be said of their revered Vladyka will be: Saint.
Read the rest here.
21 July 2015
Tags: Pope Francis Ukraine Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church Saints Eastern Catholic Churches
Uruguayan schoolchildren and Syrian refugee children chat on their first day in school in Uruguay. (photo: Miguel Rojo/AFP/Getty Images)
Uruguay says more Syrian refugees welcome (Rudaw) Uruguay will continue welcoming Syrian refugees who are fleeing from civil war, the foreign minister said Monday, overriding concerns about the South American country’s budget. “We know it obviously costs money. But I appeal to the sensibility and solidarity of Uruguayans to understand the drama being lived by these families — a true hell on earth…”
Archbishop becomes ‘almost-mayor’ of Hassake (Fides) In the Syrian city of Hassake, where the counter-offensive of the Kurdish forces and the Syrian army has retaken the outlying suburbs from ISIS, public health and food emergencies that affect the civilian population have pushed Syriac Catholic Archbishop Jacques Behnan Hindo to assume a role not unlike that of a public official. The archbishop says he has become responsible for waste removal, pest control and numerous other services relating to public health…
Priest says situation in Gaza continues to deteriorate (CNS) One year after a war with Israel that turned daily life here into a nightmare, a Catholic priest in Gaza said the situation in this besieged Palestinian territory has deteriorated even further. “Compared with a year ago, we’re worse off. Although a truce stopped the war, the blockade of Gaza by Israel has grown more intense. This has direct consequences for the population,” said the Rev. Jorge Hernandez, pastor of Holy Family Catholic Parish in Gaza City…
West Bank villagers deliver final plea to save homes (Al Monitor) Residents of the Palestinian village of Khirbet Susiya say that their repeated requests for construction permits were rejected by Israel, which has instead decided to demolish their homes…
Migrants on the Greek-Macedonian border seek new life (Al Jazeera) Recently, Macedonia allowed refugees and migrants to transit through the country for three days. Hoda Abdel-Hamid reports…
20 July 2015
Tags: Syria Refugees Gaza Strip/West Bank Migrants Macedonia
On Saturday, CNEWA President Msgr. John E. Kozar participated in a pilgrimage to Zarvanytsia, Ukraine, as part of his pastoral visit to the country. There, he shared a message with thousands, conveying greetings from those suffering in this time of war:
Msgr. John Kozar offered his thanks for the invitation to take part in the pilgrimage. He conveyed greetings from Cardinal Timothy Dolan, archbishop of New York, and the faithful of the Catholic Church of America and Canada: “I offer to you this solidarity in prayer, and in suffering, of millions of faithful [who] have been forced to flee their homes, and even their homelands,” said Msgr. Kozar. “Here today before Mary, the mother of our savior, and our mother, we humbly seek her comfort and security. … Your presence these days at this holy place reminds us that we, too, are a holy people.”
Watch the whole video of his address below:
20 July 2015
Tags: Ukraine CNEWA Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church Msgr. John E. Kozar
Kima Atoian lives with her children and six grandchildren in Armenia’s northernmost town of Ashotzk, where poverty and unemployment are prevalent. Villagers often use cow manure as stove fuel, lacking the means to afford gas. To learn more about life in Armenia’s northern reaches, read Armenian Winter, from the March 2009 edition of ONE. (photo: Justyna Mielnikiewicz)
Tags: Armenia Poor/Poverty Eastern Europe Economic hardships