18 April 2013
In this February 2011 photo, His Beatitude Christopher, archbishop of Prague and metropolitan of the Czech Lands and Slovakia, celebrates the Divine Liturgy at the Synodal Cathedral of Our Lady of the Sign in New York. Metropolitan Christopher resigned from his position as head of the Orthodox Church of the Czech Lands and Slovakia on Friday. (photo: Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia)
Scandal claims head of Orthodox Church of the Czech Lands and Slovakia (Prague Daily Monitor) The head of the Orthodox Church in the Czech Republic and Slovakia resigned Monday amid allegations that he has breached his oath as a monk, carrying out affairs with women and fathering illegitimate children. Having already denied the charges, Metropolitan Christopher, 59, opted to resign to help maintain the unity of the church. Metropolitan Christopher of Prague was elected in 2006 soon after the death of Metropolitan Nicholas of Presov. After his resignation, the church’s acting head will be the Olomouc-Brno Archbishop Simeon, 87, for about 40 days until a new primate is chosen. To learn more about the Orthodox Church of the Czech Lands and Slovakia, see our profile from the November 2011 issue of ONE…
Chaldean patriarch says politics is the domain of the laity (Fides) Chaldean Patriarch Louis Raphael has encouraged Christians to participate in the upcoming elections and to make serious and positive proposals to contribute to the common good. According to the text released by the Chaldean Patriarchate, the participation in the elections is “an essential national task.” Father Albert Husham Zarazeer, the communications manager of the Chaldean Patriarchate, expresses the conviction that “Iraqi Christians, who have deep roots in Iraq and have played an important role in its construction, will participate in the local elections in many of the provincial councils”…
Egyptian Copts reject ‘reconciliation meeting’ (AINA) A customary “reconciliation” meeting took place yesterday in Al Khosous to address the recent sectarian violence that resulted in the death of six Christians and one Muslim. Organized by the regime, the meeting included the governor of Qaliubia, Mr. Abdel-Ghafour; the assistant to the Egyptian President for social outreach; top ranking security personnel; representatives from Al Azhar; and two priests from St. Georges church in Al Khosous. The government delegation encountered anger and outright rejection from Copts, believing as they have learned from the past that such reconciliation meetings are useless. The Copts stressed the need to apply the rule of law to all — Christians or Muslims…
Syrian patriarch asks Vatican to increase peace efforts (CNA) The most powerful Catholic leader in Syria met Pope Francis today to ask the Vatican to get more involved in bringing peace to his tortured homeland. “I think it’s time the Vatican plays a bigger role, when we hear about weapons here and there,” said Melkite Patriarch Gregory III. “We want to hear the voice of the Holy Father saying, ‘This is a sin, it is against humanity,’ ” he told reporters on 17 April at Rome’s Basilica of Santa Maria. The Patriarch of Antioch, who is the spiritual leader of the Greek Melkite Catholic Church, said the voice of the Holy See “is now extremely important for us, both Christians and Muslims.” For more, read our profile of the Melkite Greek Catholic Church, which appeared in the March 2006 issue of ONE…
17 April 2013
Tags: Orthodox Church Chaldean Church Coptic Christians Melkite Patriarch Gregory III of Antioch Czech Republic
Sisters who belong to India’s Daughters of St. Thomas process at the beginning of the liturgy at their novitiate near Palai. The sisters, based in Kerala, have done extraordinary work in a region that is only about 20 percent Christian. Read more about them in Kerala’s Daughters from the November 2004 issue of ONE. To learn how you can help sisters like these, visit this page to support the good work of sisters. (photo: Sean Sprague)
17 April 2013
Tags: India Sisters Kerala
Pope Francis kisses a young child as he arrives for his general audience in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican on 17 April. During his audience, the pope expressed solidarity with the victims of yesterday’s earthquake that struck Iran and Pakistan. (photo: CNS/Paul Haring)
Rockets from Sinai fired into Israel (AP) At least two rockets were fired at Israel’s southern resort city of Eilat from Egypt’s Sinai peninsula on Wednesday, the Israeli military said. Nobody was hurt in the attack, police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said, adding that the remains of two rockets had been found and police were looking for more. Islamic militants have gained strength in the Sinai desert since the ouster of former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in 2011. Radical Islamic groups have launched rockets at Eilat in the past, most recently last year from Sinai when militants fired one but caused no injuries…
Pope appeals for solidarity with Iran and Pakistan (Vatican Radio) Pope Francis appealed for solidarity with those affected by the earthquake that struck Iran and Pakistan on Tuesday afternoon. In his appeal, which came during the course of the weekly General Audience on Wednesday in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican, Pope Francis said that he had “learned with sadness of the violent earthquake that has struck the peoples of Iran and Pakistan, bringing death, suffering and destruction…”
Iraq elections reserve three posts for Christians (Fides) At the upcoming provincial elections, scheduled for 20 April, the seats up for grabs in the different provinces are 447, and only nine of them are reserved to all the ethnic and religious minorities in the country. The seats reserved for Christians in particular are three, distributed in the local Councils of Baghdad, Nineveh and Basra…
In India, complaints accuse Christians of “conversion of children” (Fides) Police in Srinagar, capital of Indian Kashmir, rejected as “false and misleading,” a complaint by some mullahs who accused the Christians of “conversion of children.” As sources of Fides report, the complaint stated that the foreign staff that arrived at Agape House, a social and educational center run by Christians, “were trying to convert Muslim children to Christianity.” The local police, after investigating, dismissed the complaint…
Kerala marks “the mother of all festivals” (New India Express) Trichur Pooram, billed as the “mother of all festivals” in Kerala, begins Monday. The grand finale, however, will be days later, with the fireworks display on Sunday. The participating temples include the Vadakunnathan temple, where the pooram (festival) is held, and two other temples, the Krishna temple at Thiruvambadi and the Devi temple at Paramekkavu. The Trichur Pooram sees the active participation of Muslims and Christians too…
16 April 2013
Tags: Iraq India Egypt Pope Francis Israel
People comfort each other after explosions went off at the Boston Marathon on 15 April. (photo: CNS/Jessica Rinaldi, Reuters)
In the wake of yesterday’s bombing, Pope Francis sent a telegram today through his secretary of state to express solidarity and sympathy with the people of Boston.
The Vatican text:
His Eminence Cardinal Sean O’Malley
Archbishop of Boston
Deeply grieved by news of the loss of life and grave injuries caused by the act of violence perpetrated last evening in Boston, His Holiness Pope Francis wishes me to assure you of his sympathy and closeness in prayer. In the aftermath of this senseless tragedy, His Holiness invokes God’s peace upon the dead, his consolation upon the suffering and his strength upon all those engaged in the continuing work of relief and response. At this time of mourning the Holy Father prays that all Bostonians will be united in a resolve not to be overcome by evil, but to combat evil with good (cf. Rom 12:21), working together to build an ever more just, free and secure society for generations yet to come.
Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone
Secretary of State
Yesterday, Boston’s Cardinal Sean O’Malley, traveling in the Holy Land, sent his own message:
The Archdiocese of Boston joins all people of good will in expressing deep sorrow following the senseless acts of violence perpetrated at the Boston Marathon today. Our prayers and concern are with so many who experienced the trauma of these acts, most especially the loved ones of those who lives were lost and those who were injured, and the injured themselves.
The citizens of the City of Boston and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts are blessed by the bravery and heroism of many, particularly the men and women of the police and fire departments and emergency services who responded within moments of these tragic events. Governor Patrick, Mayor Menino and Police Commissioner Davis are providing the leadership that will see us through this most difficult time and ensure that proper procedures are followed to protect the public safety.
In the midst of the darkness of this tragedy we turn to the light of Jesus Christ, the light that was evident in the lives of people who immediately turned to help those in need today. We stand in solidarity with our ecumenical and interfaith colleagues in the commitment to witness the greater power of good in our society and to work together for healing.
Cardinal Timothy Dolan, archbishop of New York and chair of CNEWA, posted the following statement on his blog:
While we wait for additional details, my thoughts and prayers are certainly with those who died, with the families who lost loved ones, and with those who are injured. Our Lady of Mercy, pray for us!
We join our prayers with those of the world, and ask God’s mercy on all the suffering, the grieving, and the deceased.
16 April 2013
Tags: Pope Francis United States Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan
In this image from 2010, Jesuit Father David Neuhaus, vicar for Hebrew- and Russian-speaking Catholics for the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, speaks with reporters at the Vatican. Father Neuhaus is a papally-appointed voting member of the Synod of Bishops for the Middle East. (photo: CNS/Paul Haring)
Hopes for Pope Francis as a Middle East bridge builder (Vatican Radio) Pope Francis’ “deep relationship with Jews in Buenos Aires” and his close contact with communities of Middle Eastern immigrants to Argentina have given the new pontiff a clear understanding of the urgent issues facing the Holy Land today. That’s the view of Jesuit Father David Neuhaus, patriarchal vicar for Hebrew-speaking Catholic communities in Israel, who hopes the Holy Father will be able to build bridges of mutual respect between all the different faith communities in the region…
Pope Francis offers prayers, condolences to Boston (Vatican Radio) Pope Francis has sent his “sympathy and closeness in prayer” to the people of Boston in a telegram sent on his behalf…
U.N. agencies call for an end to the ‘cruelty and carnage’ of Syria (Al Jazeera) Leaders of five U.N. agencies have appealed to the international community to stop the “cruelty and carnage” in Syria, warning they may soon be forced to suspend humanitarian aid to the war-torn country. The U.N. leaders said on Monday that their “capacity to do more was diminishing, due to security and other practical limitations within Syria as well as funding constraints. … We are precariously close, perhaps within weeks, to suspending some humanitarian support,” the U.N. leaders said…
Pope Francis sends wishes Benedict on his birthday (Vatican Radio) On the occasion of Benedict XVI’s 86th birthday, the Holy Father, Pope Francis, began the celebration of Mass in the chapel of the Domus Santa Maria by inviting all present to pray for the pope emeritus. “Today is the birthday of Benedict XVI,” he said. “Let us offer Mass for him, that the Lord might be with him, comfort him, and give him much consolation…”
Orthodox bishop in Chicago steps down (Chicago Tribune) Unable to overcome the disgrace of a sexual misconduct accusation, Bishop Matthias, head of the local diocese for the Orthodox Church of America, has announced he will step down Monday, leaving a vacancy in Chicago just weeks before Orthodox Christians celebrate Easter on 5 May…
15 April 2013
Tags: Pope Francis Syrian Civil War Pope Benedict XVI Jerusalem Orthodox
An Egyptian girl wants a closer look at Verbo Encarnado Sister Maria de la Santa Faz. Sister belongs to the Verbo Encarnado (“Incarnate Word”) Congregation, serving Egypt’s neediest children. Read more about the great work they’re doing in Building a Brighter Future from the November 2004 issue of ONE. (photo: Mohammed El-Dakhakhny)
15 April 2013
Tags: Egypt Children Sisters Education Poor/Poverty
Metropolitan Geevarghese Mar Ivanios of the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church
1940 – 2013
(photo: Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church, via theorthodoxchurch.info)
Kottayam Metropolitan Mar Ivanios passes away (Indian Orthodox Herald) Malankara Orthodox Metropolitan Geevarghese Mar Ivanios of Kottayam, India, passed away on Friday, 12 April 2013, after a long battle with illness. He was 72 years old. His legacy as an advocate of Orthodox spirituality and monasticism is embodied in the monastery he founded — St. Baselios Dayara Monastery at Njaliyakuzhi, Kottayam, where he used to live. Catholicos Emeritus Baselios Didymos I and the reigning Catholicos of the East and Malankara Metropolitan Baselios Paulose II presided over his funeral. Members of the Holy Episcopal Synod, priests and faithful from all over the church attended the function…
Maronite archbishop discusses Syrian Christians’ dilemma (Fides) Christians in Syria “must choose between two bitter chalices: to die or leave.” Maronite Archbishop Samir Nassar of Damascus outlines the many ways in which this dilemma seizes the lives of millions of defenseless civilians, Christians and Muslims, in the war-ravaged Syria: bombs, car bombs, snipers, lack of medical care — 223 hospitals were closed and all doctors are fleeing, explains Archbishop Nassar — malnutrition and lack of adequate food for diabetics, heart patients and nursing…
Coptic pope to meet Khosous victims’ families (Ahram Online) For the first time since last week’s sectarian violence in Al Khosous, Egypt’s Coptic Pope Tawadros II will lead the Divine Liturgy in Saint Mark’s Cathedral in Abbasiya, announced his secretary. Pope Tawadros has been secluded since Tuesday at the St. Bishoy Monastery in Wadi al Natrun, near the coastal town of Alexandria, following the violence outside of the funeral service of four slain Copts at the Cathedral on Sunday, 7 April. Today, Tawadros is also set to meet with the families of those Copts who died as a result of the violence that began on 5 April and continued for two days…
Blast at Palestinian refugee camp, no casualties (Daily Star Lebanon) A bomb exploded Monday at the Palestinian refugee camp of Ain al Hilweh, near the southern coastal city of Sidon, security sources said, adding that there were no reported casualties or material damage. The sources, who spoke to The Daily Star on condition of anonymity, said the relatively small bomb went off near the headquarters of the Palestinian Unions Confederation…
Pope Francis meets with Latin patriarch of Jerusalem (Vatican Radio) The Holy Father met this morning with Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem Fouad Twal and official delegation from the patriarchate. This audience gave Pope Francis an opportunity to become more acquainted with the church in Jerusalem and its pastoral problems. Patriarch Twal said Pope Francis was very well informed about the situation of Christians who have fled the Middle East. The patriarch noted that many Christians who have left the region had settled in Latin America; some in Argentina were under the pastoral care of then-Cardinal Bergoglio…
12 April 2013
Tags: India Pope Francis Refugee Camps Coptic Orthodox Church Maronite Church
Palestinian children look out from the window of their home in Dheisheh refugee camp. To learn more about the lives of these children, check out Growing up Under Occupation in the January 2006 issue of ONE. (photo: Steve Sabella)
12 April 2013
Tags: Children Israeli-Palestinian conflict Refugee Camps Palestinians Occupation
A boy rides his bicycle past damaged buildings in Deir al Zor, Syria, on 3 April. (photo: CNS/Khalil Ashawi, Reuters)
Turkey building new refugee camps for Christians, Kurds (Daily Star Lebanon) On Wednesday, a Turkish government official announced the nation's plan to build two camps along its far southeastern border with Syria to house a growing number of refugees from Syrian minority groups — mainly Assyrian Christians as well as ethnic Kurds. More than 250,000 Syrians fleeing civil war in their homeland have registered in Turkey, with most staying in 17 camps along the 560-mile border, although Turkish leaders say the total number of refugees is closer to 400,000. Those who have fled are predominantly ethnic Arabs from Syria’s Sunni Muslim majority, most of whom largely support the rebels fighting to overthrow President Bashar al Assad…
Percentage of Christians in Palestinian territories drops by half (Fides) The percentage of Christians in the population of the Palestinian territories has been cut in half since the year 2000, from 2% to 1% over the last 13 years. And in Jerusalem, home to 27,000 Christians in 1948, today counts only 5,000. This is some of the data collected by the Hanna Issa, professor of international law…
After cathedral clash, Copts doubt future in Egypt (Reuters) After days of fighting at the cathedral and a town outside Cairo killing eight — the worst sectarian strife since Islamist President Mohamed Morsi was elected in June — many Copts now question whether they have a future in Egypt. An angry young fringe of a community that has lived in Egypt since the earliest days of Christianity may also be turning to violence…
Russian Catholics concerned over raids on churches, charities (CNS) Russia’s Catholic Church expressed surprise and concern after a wave of raids on its parishes and charities, part of a government clampdown on organizations with foreign links. “The Catholic Church is classified as an organization benefitting from foreign funds,” explained Father Kirill Gulbunov, spokesman for the Moscow Archdiocese, who added: “We can’t help feeling surprised that associations linked with our church are viewed as possible sources of extremism or terrorist activity…”
11 April 2013
Tags: Syrian Civil War Violence against Christians Turkey Holy Land Christians Russian Catholic Church
Retired priests at St. Joseph’s Home in Chalakudy make time for recreational activities. (photo: Peter Lemieux)
The Syro-Malabar Catholic Church in India has taken a pro-active approach to caring for its retired priests, as we first reported in 2009:
The church has invested in facilities for its aging priests, building modern and well-equipped residences, such as St. Paul’s Home, and phasing out deteriorating ones, such as St. Joseph’s Home in the Eparchy of Irinjalakuda, which will be replaced by the Vianney Home in Puliuilakunnu.
The new residences provide retirees with modern amenities, comfortable living quarters, community support and various recreational activities. These retirement homes have even launched web sites. In caring for its elders, the church has made its position clear: retired clergy deserve the same dignity and respect they earned and enjoyed during their lifetime of service to the community and to the church.
Read more about Redefining Retirement in the March 2009 issue of ONE.
Tags: India Syro-Malabar Catholic Church Caring for the Elderly