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Current Issue
Spring, 2015
Volume 41, Number 1
  
29 June 2015
J.D. Conor Mauro




Pope Francis salutes Orthodox Metropolitan John of Pergamon, a hierarch under the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, at the end a mass for the investiture of the pallium on 29 June. (photo: AFP/Filippo Monteforte)

Pope welcomes Orthodox delegation for feast of Sts. Peter and Paul (Vatican Radio) On the feast day of Sts. Peter and Paul, Pope Francis urged 46 new metropolitan archbishops to hear the first apostles’ call to prayer, to faith and to witness. The pope’s words came during his homily at Mass in St Peter’s Basilica, which included several significant ecumenical initiatives…

Historic meeting of pope and Russian Orthodox head approaching (Reuters) A historic meeting between Pope Francis and Patriarch Kirill of the Russian Orthodox Church is “getting closer every day,” a senior Orthodox prelate said in an interview published on Sunday. The unprecedented meeting would be a significant step towards healing the 1,000-year-old rift between the Western and Eastern branches of Christianity, which split in the Great Schism of 1054…

Al Azhar and Vatican against terrorism (AsiaNews) There is a clear common vision between Al Azhar, the most prestigious and authoritative university in the Sunni world, and what the Vatican has been saying for over a year now — terrorism is a global challenge and must be addressed with an all-out campaign. However, it is increasingly clear that many countries prefer the distinctions of ambiguous alliances, focusing particularly on mere economic interests…

Christians organize ‘banquet of unity’ for Ramadan (Fides) Once again this year, according to custom, parishes and Christian families in Egypt have organized to celebrate with their Muslim neighbors who in these weeks observe, from dawn to dusk, the fast prescribed in the holy month of Ramadan…

Gaza-bound flotilla vessel seized by Israeli navy (Al Jazeera) Israel has boarded and taken over a vessel attempting to break the blockade of the Gaza Strip, officials said. In a statement the Israeli army said on Monday that it did not use force in redirecting the main boat Marianne to the Israeli city of Ashdod…

Aleppo’s fuel prices quadruple (Al Monitor) The rebel-held parts of northern Syria that extend from Aleppo to Idlib and through Hama’s northern countryside are paralyzed; vehicular traffic is significantly reduced while fuel vendors are no longer present on the side of the roads. This was not the case before 31 May, when the Islamic State prevented the entry of fuel to rebel-controlled areas…

Anti-Christian Violence in Kerala (Fides) Christians in India continue to face attacks by Hindu extremist groups. As reported to Fides by the Evangelical Fellowship of India, a new episode of anti-Christian violence took place on 14 June in Kerala: A group of worshipers was attacked during a celebration in a Protestant church in the town of Attingal. As reported to Fides, over 200 militants of radical Hindu organizations entered the hall of worship shouting slogans like “Bharat Mathaki Jai” (”Hail Mother India”)…



Tags: India Pope Francis Middle East Ecumenism North Africa

26 June 2015
J.D. Conor Mauro




Family members visit Sister Paraskevia at the Convent of the Transfiguration, located on a hill above oldest part of Tbilisi. To learn more about this religious community, read Alternative Lifestyles from the September 2007 issue of ONE. (photo: Justyna Mielnikiewicz)



Tags: Sisters Georgia Tbilisi

26 June 2015
J.D. Conor Mauro




Syrian Kurds wait behind the barbed wired on the Syrian side of the border with Turkey after fleeing the Syrian town of Kobane on 26 June. (photo: AFP/Bulent Kilic)

Why many Kurds in Turkey are willing to die in Syria’s border towns (Washington Post) The battle for Kobane raged once more this week after ISIS fighters launched an assault on the Syrian border town, which had been firmly in the control of Kurdish militias ever since they chased out the jihadist organization in January. Initial reports suggested dozens died in the fighting, including numerous civilians, with Syrian Kurdish militias forces either killing, capturing, or cornering most of the Islamic State militants. The plight of Kobane, a predominantly Kurdish town right on the border with Turkey, is a lightning rod for many Kurds in Turkey…

ISIS offensive on Syria’s Kobane leaves almost 150 dead (Haaretz) An attack by Islamic State fighters on the Syrian town of Kobane and a nearby village has so far killed at least 146 civilians, the second-biggest massacre by the hardline group in the country, a conflict monitor said on Friday…

Vatican signs treaty with Palestine, calls for two-state solution (National Catholic Reporter) The Vatican on Friday signed a comprehensive agreement formally recognizing the state of Palestine following 15 years of negotiations on a bilateral accord that is said to provide juridical recognition for Catholic churches and call for a two-state solution with Israel on the basis of their borders in 1967…

Patriarch calls for Iraqi churches to unite after centuries of division (Catholic Herald) Chaldean Patriarch Louis Raphael I has proposed that the three main Iraqi Christian churches should merge in order to secure the survival of the faith in that country. Writing on the patriarchate website the head of the Chaldean Church, which has been in communion with Rome, proposed a reunion between his church and the two largest Assyrian churches: the Church of the East, and the Ancient Church of the East…

Maronite head demands help for the exiled Iraqi Christians (The Tablet) The head of the Maronite Church has condemned the “international silence” over the suffering of Iraq’s Christians, during a one-day visit to Erbil in Iraqi Kurdistan. At the head of a Lebanese-Italian delegation to visit refugees, Patriarch Bechara Peter demanded action from the international community to help Iraqi Christians stay in their homeland…



Tags: Syria Iraq Middle East Christians Turkey Patriarchs

25 June 2015
J.D. Conor Mauro




The pastor of St. Elias Melkite Greek Catholic Church in Ezraa points out the Roman-era foundation of the sixth-century church. To learn more about the ancient Christian communities of the volcanic plains south of Damascus known as the Houran — now threatened by the approach of militants — read From Dust to Life, from the March 2008 issue of ONE. To lend support to Christians and their neighbors affected by war in Syria, click here. (photo: Mitchell Prothero)



Tags: Syria Middle East Christians Cultural Identity Village life Architecture

25 June 2015
J.D. Conor Mauro




Pope Francis looks on after greeting Armenian Catholic Patriarch Nerses Bedros XIX during a 12 April Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican to mark the 100th anniversary of the Armenian genocide. Today, the pope sent a telegram to the the Patriarchate of Cilicia in Beirut to express condolences for the death of the patriarch. (photo: CNS/Tony Gentile, Reuters)

Armenian Catholic Patriarch Nerses Bedros XIX dies in Lebanon (Daily Star Lebanon) Armenian Catholic Patriarch of Cilicia Nerses Bedros XIX passed away Thursday after suffering from a heart attack, media reported. The renowned Egyptian patriarch, who resided in Lebanon, was widely known for serving the Armenian community and promoting its interests. The patriarch had visited Armenian communities in Europe, the Middle East and the U.S. to boost Armenian Catholic schools…

Displaced Iraqis still wait to return home (Al Monitor) Amid accusations of affiliation with ISIS and an uncompleted demining process in the liberated areas, most of Iraq’s displaced have yet to return to their cities…

ISIS trying to retake Kobane in northern Syria (Christian Science Monitor) ISIS militants launched two major attacks in northern Syria on Thursday, storming government-held areas in the mostly Kurdish city of Hassake and pushing into Kobane — the Syrian Kurdish border town they were expelled from early this year — where they set off three cars bombs, killing and wounding dozens, activists and officials said…

On Greek island, migrants bring stark contrast to the usual tourists (Washington Post) This is the second front in Europe’s migrant crisis. Tens of thousands of migrants from the Middle East, Africa and Asia are rushing the shores of Europe, with Greece now just behind Italy as the single largest entry point. From clandestine ports in Turkey as close as 30 minutes by raft, dozens of newcomers are landing every day…

Indian government denies any crackdown on Caritas India (Vatican Radio) A government spokesperson addressed popular reports claiming that Caritas India has been put under a “prior approval” category, saying the organization had been remitted money by a Netherlands-based donor under that category…



Tags: Iraqi Refugees Armenian Catholic Church Greece Migrants ISIS

24 June 2015
J.D. Conor Mauro




Students play basketball at San Joe Puram in the Faridabad district of the northern Indian state of Haryana. To learn more about the important work of this Syro-Malabar Catholic Church institution, read A Place of Promise — and Providence in the Winter edition of ONE. (photo: John Mathew)



Tags: India Education Syro-Malabar Catholic Church Catholic education Youth

24 June 2015
J.D. Conor Mauro




A boat illegally carrying immigrants of Syrian origin to Greece sinks off the coast of Turkey in the Aegean Sea on 23 June. Passengers were rescued by the Turkish coast guard. (photo: Getty Images/Anadolu Agency)

Migration crisis: The E.U.’s shipwrecked refugee plan (Der Spiegel) When 800 refugees drowned on their way to Europe this April, leaders promised to act. Just over two months later, the European Union’s attempts at real reform have all but failed — and raised some serious questions about the credibility and nature of the union…

ISIS attacks Hassake (Fides) On Tuesday evening, 23 June, the city of Hassake in the northeast of Syria was struck by ISIS. The series of attacks started with an explosion at a tank adjacent to a garrison of Kurdish militias. Then a truck full of explosives detonated in the northeast of the city…

ISIS blows up ancient shrines near Syria’s Palmyra (Al Jazeera) ISIS says it has destroyed two ancient shrines close to the Syrian city of Palmyra, seized by the armed group a month ago. Photographs posted online appeared to show the shrines being blown up and reduced to rubble on Saturday. It was the first reported damage to ancient sites since ISIS first captured Palmyra, known as Tadmur in Arabic and famed for its UNESCO-listed Roman ruins…

Ukrainians displaced by fighting tell speak to U.S. bishops (CNS) Displaced Ukrainians shared their stories and experiences with the members of a U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops delegation visiting Ukraine for four days. Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, Kentucky, U.S.C.C.B. president, and Archbishop Blase J. Cupich of Chicago, chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Subcommittee on Aid to the Church in Central and Eastern Europe, headed the delegation…

Indian government places Caritas India on watch list (The Indian Express) The Indian government has placed Caritas India — an arm of Catholic Bishops Conference of India — under its “prior approval” category. Any transaction the organisation makes through Indian banks will now need clearance from the Ministry of Home Affairs. A senior government official said the organization was put under the category after its funds, given to various NGOs, were alleged to be involved in purportedly “anti-India” activities…

Thousands in Armenia protest steep hikes in electricity rates (Washington Post) Thousands of protesters returned to a main thoroughfare of downtown Yerevan, Armenia, on Tuesday evening, facing down riot police to protest steep electricity price increases planned in the economically strapped country. Protesters in the capital city marched toward the presidential palace on Marshal Baghramyan Avenue just hours after police had unleashed water cannons to disperse a peaceful overnight sit-in that had taken place in the same spot earlier in the day, detaining more than 230 demonstrators and journalists in the process…



Tags: Syria India Ukraine Armenia Migrants

23 June 2015
J.D. Conor Mauro




Elderly Roma men sit and chat together in Hodasz, 240 miles east of Budapest, Hungary. Citing a recent Harvard University study, NPR reports “the Roma minority in that Central European country face an unprecedented amount of violence and discrimination.” To learn more about this community, check out Our Town in the March 2008 issue of ONE. (photo: Balazs Gardi/VII Network)



Tags: Cultural Identity Village life Hungary Roma Discrimination

23 June 2015
J.D. Conor Mauro




A child refugee from Syria sits eats near his tent on the outskirts of Mount Lebanon on 20 June. (photo: Getty Images/Anadolu Agency)

In exile, Assyrian children bear scars of war (IOCC) Desperate to flee the onslaught of violence surrounding his village near Hassake, Syria, Charbel remembers how frightened he was when his family barely escaped their home before they saw it destroyed by their attackers. The 14-year-old Assyrian boy left behind all of his possessions, friends, and school, but still carries his memories of Syria before the war and a wish to become a dentist someday…

Syrian military and Druze allies join forces to fend off ‘terrorist’ militants (Los Angeles Times) About 70 miles southeast of Damascus, the Syrian military is making a stand against an opposition onslaught along the nation’s strategic southern flank. The overstretched Syrian military, fighting battles across multiple front lines, is relying here on a key ally: members of the Druze sect, an offshoot of Islam that has adherents in Syria, Lebanon and Israel. Thousands of men from the province are said to have signed up to protect Suwayda, the Druze heartland. Syria is believed to be home to about half of the estimated 1.5 million Druze worldwide…

Kurdish forces gain ground against ISIS in Syria (Christian Science Monitor) Kurdish-led forces advanced on Monday deep into territory in Syria held by Islamic State, showing new momentum after they unexpectedly swiftly seized a border crossing from the jihadists last week…

U.N. report on Gaza war may bolster I.C.C. inquiry (The Guardian) The United Nations inquiry into the 2014 Gaza war issues a rallying call for suspected war criminals “at all levels of the political and military establishments” to be brought to justice, but as the report itself wearily concedes, that is unlikely to happen soon. However, the report is likely to bolster the International Criminal Court’s preliminary examination of last summer’s conflict, increasing the likelihood that a full investigation will eventually follow…

Greek Catholic Synod spotlights anti-Christian violence, families in crisis (AsiaNews) The annual Synod of the Greek Melkite Catholic Church, held on 15-20 June at the patriarchal summer residence in Ain Trez, Lebanon, focused on the development of centers for catechesis, Christian preparation for marriage and families in crisis, as well as the situation in Syria, whose war has devastated the country and the Middle East, sparking a Christian exodus…

Church condemns the assault of a sister in Raipur (Vatican Radio) The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India has spoken out against an attack on a sister of the Salesian Missionaries of Mary on Friday night, 19 June, at a nursing center run by the sisters…



Tags: Syria India Lebanon Gaza Strip/West Bank Israel

22 June 2015
Greg Kandra




Retired Latin Patriarch Michel Sabbah of Jerusalem speaks to parishioners and visitors about religious co-existence and forgiveness during a prayer service at the Benedictine Church of the Multiplication in Tabgha, Israel on 21 June. (CNS photo/Mary Knight)

Following last week’s attack on a holy site in Galilee — which authorities suspect was carried out by Jewish extremists — people of many faiths gathered Sunday to pray and protest:

Thousands of Christians held a protest rally in the Galilee on Sunday, near the Christian church that suffered serious damage following a suspected arson attack last week.

The event was held in the compound of the Church of the Multiplication of the Loaves and Fishes, in Tabgha, near Tiberias. Although it had been planned as a quiet prayer rally, the mood quickly became more aggressive.

Hundreds of youths carrying crosses of various sizes and waving Vatican flags blocked the access road to the church and chanted in honor of Jesus and Mary. Inside the church, a mass was led by former Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem Michel Sabbah and Bishop Giacinto-Boulos Marcuzzo.

U.S. Deputy Chief of Mission William Grant attended the mass, telling Haaretz he wanted to express his condemnation and disgust with the alleged attack, which he described as a hate crime like last week’s attack on the church in Charleston, South Carolina, that left nine African Americans dead.

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