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Summer, 2014
Volume 40, Number 2
imageofweek From the Archive
In this 1996 image, children attend a festival in New York celebrating Greek heritage. (photo: Karen Lagerquist)
  
6 June 2014
Michael J.L. La Civita




Pope Francis and Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople venerate the Stone of Unction in Jerusalem’s Church of the Holy Sepulchre on 25 May. The two leaders marked the 50th anniversary of the meeting in Jerusalem between Pope Paul VI and Patriarch Athenagoras. (photo: CNS/Grzegorz Galazka, pool)

The Holy See announced this morning the structure for this weekend’s prayer with the presidents of Israel and the Palestinian National Authority, and confirmed the participation of the ecumenical patriarch, Bartholomew of Constantinople.

From the Vatican Information Service:

During a briefing held this morning, the Rev. Pierbattista Pizzaballa O.F.M., custodian of the Holy Land, and the Rev. Federico Lombardi, S.J., director of the Holy See Press Office, presented the details of the “Invocation for Peace” initiative scheduled to take place in the Vatican on Sunday. Pope Francis has invited the presidents of Israel and Palestine, Shimon Peres and Mahmoud Abbas, to join him in a prayer encounter.

Peres and Abbas will arrive at the Vatican within a few minutes of each other (the former at 6:15 p.m. and the latter at 6:30). The Holy Father will receive them at the entrance of the Domus Sanctae Marthae, and will then speak briefly with each. All three will then join together, along with the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, and will then proceed by car to the Vatican Gardens where the event will take place, beginning with a musical introduction and an explanation in English of the structure and form of the celebration, which will follow the chronological order of the three religions: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.

At around 7 p.m. there will be a prayer (creation) in Hebrew, a brief musical interlude, a prayer invoking forgiveness, another musical interlude, a prayer invoking peace, and finally, a Jewish musical meditation. The Christian part will follow the same structure, but the first prayer will be in English, the second in Italian, and the third in Arabic. Finally the Muslim part of the celebration will proceed as above, in Arabic.

The reader will then introduce in English the final part of the celebration, beginning with Pope Francis’ discourse invoking peace. The Holy Father will then invite each of the two presidents to formulate his own invocation. Shimon Peres will begin, followed by Mahmoud Abbas. As a gesture of peace, in which the Patriarch Bartholomew will also participate, they will all shake hands and the Pope will then accompany them in planting an olive tree, symbol of peace.

At the end of the celebration the four will remain side by side while the delegations pass by to greet them. The Holy Father, the two presidents and the Patriarch will then proceed to the Casina Pio IV to speak in private.

Finally, Shimon Peres and Mahmoud Abbas will leave the Vatican, while Pope Francis and the Patriarch Bartholomew will return to the Domus Sanctae Marthae.



Tags: Pope Francis Vatican Ecumenism Middle East Peace Process Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I
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6 June 2014
J.D. Conor Mauro




A parishioner prays at the shrine to Our Lady of Iraq at the Chaldean church in Amman, Jordan. To learn more about the Iraqi Christian community in Jordan, read Out of Iraq, from the Spring 2013 issue of ONE. (photo: Cory Eldridge)



Tags: Refugees Jordan Iraqi Christians Chaldean Church Chaldeans
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6 June 2014
J.D. Conor Mauro




Pope Francis and Catholicos Aram I, head of the Catholicosate of the Great House of Cilicia of the Armenian Apostolic Church, prayed at the Vatican’s Redemptoris Mater Chapel. (video: Rome Reports)

Armenian Catholicos praises Pope Francis’ efforts for Middle East peace (Vatican Radio) Armenian Apostolic Catholicos Aram I of the Great House of Cilicia told Pope Francis on Thursday that he hoped his invitation to the Palestinian and Israeli presidents to pray for peace in the Vatican would be the start of a process leading to justice and peace in the Middle East. He said the pope and the Vatican are playing an important role in expressing solidarity with Christians throughout the Middle East and in Syria in particular…

Sisi victory deals ‘deadly blow’ to revolutionary youth movement (Al Monitor) As Egypt’s military strongman Abdel Fattah al Sisi was declared president with a landslide 96.9 percent of the vote, and as the ailing nation prepares an inauguration ceremony that will cost millions, the revolutionary youth are contemplating a grim political future wherever they are — in jail, in exile or occupying opposition seats expected to be extremely vulnerable to the highly anticipated wave of oppression…

Egypt criminalises sexual harassment for first time (The Guardian) Egypt has criminalised sexual harassment for the first time, in a move that campaigners say is just the first step towards ending an endemic problem. United Nations research from 2013 suggested that 99.3 percent of Egyptian women had experienced sexual harassment, but it is often the victims who are blamed for their experience, rather than the harassers. Campaigners welcomed the law, but warned that it remained to be seen whether police will enforce it…

Eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk keeps humming amid insurgency (Washington Post) For two months, Donetsk, a city of 1 million people, has been occupied by pro-Russian insurgents who have declared the Donetsk region a sovereign republic, independent of Ukraine. They have vowed a radical transformation of the established order and, backed by a considerable arsenal, they have overtaken dozens of government buildings. But the insurgents, as it turns out, don’t have much time or inclination for the daily drudgery of governing. Rather than risk the ire of residents by disrupting public services, they have left the business of running this city to the same people who were doing it all along: Donetsk’s 13,500 municipal employees, who have kept the metropolis humming even as battles rage all around. “Our workers haven’t missed a day,” said Konstantin Savinov, the city administrator. “But it’s not easy to work under the threat of weapons…”



Tags: Egypt Pope Francis Ukraine Ecumenism Armenian Apostolic Church
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5 June 2014
Michael J.L. La Civita




Pope Francis stops in front of the Israeli security wall in Bethlehem, Palestine, on 25 May. (photo: CNS/L’Osservatore Romano, pool)

On the feast of Pentecost, Sunday, 8 June, the president of Israel, Shimon Peres, and the president of the Palestinian National Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, will gather in the Vatican with Pope Francis to pray for peace in the Holy Land.

“In this place where the Prince of Peace was born, I desire to invite you, President Mahmoud Abbas, and President Shimon Peres, to raise together with me an intense prayer to God for the gift of peace,” the pope said while in Bethlehem in late May.

“And I offer my house in the Vatican to host you in this encounter of prayer.”

The pope has made it clear that this gathering is not a summit or an act of mediation, but an act of prayer.

“Everyone wants peace, many people build it every day with small gestures, many suffer patiently and bear the fatigue of many attempts to build it. And everyone — especially those who are at the service of their people — have a duty to be the instruments and builders of peace, above all in prayer.

“Building peace is hard,” Francis concluded, “but living without peace is a torment. All men and women of this earth and of the whole world are asking us to bring before God their ardent desire for peace.”

Since this is a private act of prayer among the sons of Abraham, Jewish, Christian and Muslim, the form this prayerful gathering will take remains private among the participants. But prayers for the pope and presidents, who will meet in the Vatican in the afternoon, are encouraged.

So, on this sacred feast celebrating the birthday of the church, join Francis in praying for peace in the land of the Prince of Peace.



Tags: Pope Francis Israel Middle East Peace Process West Bank Separation Barrier
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5 June 2014
J.D. Conor Mauro




A nun walks home after farming a small plot in Ethiopia’s countryside. To learn about the challenges Ethiopian women face, read An Uphill Battle, from the May 2009 issue of ONE. (photo: Petterik Wiggers)



Tags: Ethiopia Education Women (rights/issues) Women
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5 June 2014
J.D. Conor Mauro




Every day 2,500 new Syrian refugees arrive in Lebanon, more than half of them children who have witnessed incredible horrors. (video: Al Jazeera)

U.N. pessimistic over establishing Syrian refugee camps (Daily Star Lebanon) United Nations Special Coordinator for Lebanon Derek Plumbly said Thursday he is downbeat about the possibility of establishing refugee camps for Syrians in Lebanon. Lebanon has been mulling the organization of camps for Syrians along the border with the United Nations. However, Lebanese officials want the camps established inside safe Syrian territories or on the Syrian side of the border…

Aleppo again without water, Armenian population threatened (Fides) In Aleppo the presidential vote with which Assad seeks to perpetuate his power was held with the central districts subjected to intense missile launch and the whole city without water again. “For two days we have been without water,” says Armenian Catholic Archbishop Boutros Marayati, from the patriarchal residence…

Catholicos Aram I meets Pope Francis in the Vatican (Public Radio of Armenia) Following a private meeting between the two church leaders, Pope Francis I met with Armenian Apostolic Catholicos Aram I and the delegation accompanying him. In his speech the catholicos noted that since 1997 he has had the opportunity to meet Popes John Paul II, Benedict XVI, and currently, His Holiness Francis I. The catholicos then expressed his appreciation of the pope’s effort to take the church to the people, which he said is also at the heart of the Armenian Orthodox Church and to which it is fully committed. He then invited all churches to leave confessional differences aside and face together the urgent challenges confronting humanity…

Christians object to serving in Israel’s army (Al Jazeera) The leaders of Israel’s large Palestinian minority are stepping up opposition to Israeli government plans to recruit Christians into the military with a specially convened congress on Friday. According to the IDF, about 2,000 Christians reach the age of conscription each year. Despite the government’s promotion of enlistment, only about 150 Christians are reported to be serving. “The reality is that most Christians do not want to serve and will not respond to the call-up,” says Riah Abu el Assal, the former Anglican bishop of Jerusalem. Opponents of enlistment among the Palestinian minority have staged a series of protests…

Israel to build 1,500 more homes in settlements (The Guardian) Israel’s housing ministry has announced new plans for almost 1,500 new settlement housing units in the West Bank and east Jerusalem, described as a “fitting Zionist response” to the new Palestinian unity government, backed by the Islamic militant group Hamas…

Pope Francis laments threats to Roma (VIS) “New civil, cultural and social approaches, and a new pastoral strategy for the church [against] modern forms of persecution, oppression and slavery” are necessary to face the situation of Roma throughout the world, said Pope Francis during this morning’s audience. Roma often find themselves on the margins of society, “and at times are looked upon with hostility and suspicion; they are rarely involved in the political, economic and social dynamics of the country…”

Pope Francis sends message to Catholic-Orthodox meeting in Minsk (Vatican Radio) The secretary of state of the Holy See, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, has sent a message on behalf of Pope Francis to the European Orthodox-Catholic Forum, which took place in Minsk, the capital of Belarus. “His Holiness hopes that religious freedom in Europe will be protected in all of its forms and that Christians may always bear witness to the hope that is in them with kindness, respect and an upright conscience,” reads the message…



Tags: Lebanon Syrian Civil War Pope Francis Refugees Armenian Apostolic Church
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4 June 2014
Greg Kandra




U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry poses with Bechara Peter, patriarch of the Maronite Church, in Beirut on 4 June. Kerry is on an unannounced trip to Lebanon to bring Obama administration support to the country’s government as it confronts severe difficulties, with an influx of refugees in Syria and a political stalemate at home. (photo: CNS/Mohamed Azakir, Reuters)



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4 June 2014
Greg Kandra




Pope Francis visits with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas after an arrival ceremony at the presidential palace in Bethlehem, West Bank, 25 May. President Abbas will be joining Israeli President Shimon Peres for a prayer meeting with Pope Francis this weekend.
(photo: CNS photo/Paul Haring)


Prayer will be the center of this weekend’s meeting (Vatican Radio) The Holy See’s Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, said prayer will be at the center of the 8 June meeting between Israeli President Shimon Peres and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas at the Vatican. Pope Francis invited the two leaders to the Vatican on 25 May, during his pilgrimage to the Holy Land. “It is a meeting of prayer. The Pope has placed it in this perspective: Prayer is like a force for peace,” Cardinal Parolin said. “Certainly, there will be a very powerful symbolic meaning in the fact that the Palestinian president and Israeli president will be there together,” he added. “But then there is an added value, the value of prayer: They will pray together. We hope that there, where human efforts have so far failed, the Lord offers to all the wisdom and fortitude to carry out a real peace plan, including building trust ...and overcoming obstacles — which are ... numerous and serious — which still prevent the achievement of peace in the Holy Land...”

Syrian election sends powerful signal of Assad’s control (Washington Post) Syrians voted on in a tightly controlled election Tuesday that reinforced President Bashar al-Assad’s tenacious hold on power, underscoring the failure of U.S. policies aimed at inducing him to step down. Three years after Assad’s brutal suppression of nationwide protests plunged Syria into a vicious civil war, the election seems certain to deliver him a third seven-year term in office, defying President Obama’s 2011 call for him to “step aside...”

Rebels in Ukraine capture governments posts (The New York Times) Rebel fighters in Ukraine’s troubled east have scored a major victory, capturing a border guard command base here after besieging it for two days and then overwhelming a second base that housed Ukrainian internal security forces...

Bethlehem University students engage in service through Catholic Charities (CNS) A group of students recently arrived in the U.S. from Bethlehem University in Palestine in order to participate in a one-of-a kind program with Catholic Charities. Fostered by a two-year partnership between the Catholic university and Catholic Charities USA, selected students travel to America every year and participate in a six-week summer internship program that allows them to use the skills they have developed within their prospective majors in Catholic Charities agencies nationwide...

Kerala bishops to back new government (The Hindu Businessline) The Kerala Catholic Bishops Council (KCBC), a powerful body that has immense clout in Kerala’s political scene and government policies, has extended its support to the Modi Government. At a meeting on Tuesday, KCBC president Baselios Mar Cleemis said the organisation will support all the people’s welfare programmes of the new Government..



Tags: Syria Ukraine Palestine Israel Bethlehem University
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3 June 2014
Antin Sloboda




Dr. Anastasia Shkilnyk and her husband Dr. Jim Kingham. (photo: Dr. Jim Kingham)

On 13 May, we learned with great sadness that Dr. Anastasia Shkilnyk had departed to eternal life, after a long battle with cancer. She was 68 years old.

Here at CNEWA Canada, we have known Anastasia as a generous person who strived to make the world a better place and who succeeded in changing many hearts.

Being a Ukrainian Canadian, she cared particularly about the marginalized people of Canada and Ukraine; however, her generosity knew no geographic borders. During her fulfilling life, she championed the principles of social justice and spent enormous amounts of personal time and resources to help victims of discrimination.

In 2013, together with her husband Dr. Jim Kingham, she established with CNEWA Canada a special endowment fund to support social justice projects in Ukraine. A modest woman, Anastasia refused to have the endowment named after her. This year, the endowment will start continuously supporting the charitable initiatives of Caritas Ukraine. One of these projects will be lending medical equipment, free of charge, to poor people with serious temporary and permanent disabilities.

The legacy of Anastasia’s writings, actions and of her sacrificial love will continue transforming lives in many countries. You can read more about her remarkable life in this tribute, on the website for Ukrainian Catholic University.

Eternal rest grant unto her, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon her ...



Tags: Ukraine CNEWA Canada
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3 June 2014
Greg Kandra




In this image from 2002, Bishop Nersess Bozabalian instructs seminarians at Armenia’s Vazkenian Armenian Apostolic Theological Seminary. (photo: Armineh Johannes)

In 2002, we visited Armenia to report on life at the local seminaries:

The future of Armenia’s church percolates in the minds of its young seminarians.

In dark blue uniforms resembling military garb, the young seminarians of Vazkenian Armenian Apostolic Theological Seminary line up to attend Sunday Divine Liturgy at St. Arakelotz Church on the Sevan Lake peninsula in eastern Armenia. The seminary is named after the late Vazken I, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians. The visionary leader pioneered the Armenian Church’s commitment to ecumenism.

The Vazkenian theological seminary was founded in 1990 on the Sevan peninsula. Once an island, this bit of land was gradually absorbed into the surrounding terrain in the 1940’s with a loss of lake waters. Located 36 miles north of the capital of Yerevan, and with an altitude of 6,600 feet above sea level, the area seemed an ideal spot for a seminary because of its serene atmosphere, its pure air and its proximity to the ancient churches of St. Arakelotz and St. Hovannes on the peninsula.

Sevan Lake, like the famous Mount Ararat — legendary home to the remains of Noah’s ark — is the pride of the Armenian nation. The beauty of this area has inspired poets, musicians and artists alike from around the globe.

Seminarians are admitted to Vazkenian seminary after finishing high school. The maximum age for entrance to the seminary is 23. Beginning in September, the academic year runs until June, with 52 to 55 students enrolled each year. The rigors of the first year, however, often weed out some students.

“At the end of the year there are usually 46 or 47 seminarians left,” says Father Minas Martirossian, the seminary’s rector.

“They leave for health or family reasons,” he adds, while others simply learn that they are unsuited for priestly life.

Seminarians study for five years, after which they take an exam and are then transferred to the Gevorkian Apostolic Theological Seminary in Etchmiatzin for their final years of study. Each year one or two top students in their fourth or fifth year are sent to France, Germany, Switzerland, Romania or the United States for further study.

Read more on Hopeful Growth in Armenia’s Seminaries in the March-April 2002 issue of our magazine.



Tags: Armenia Seminarians
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