10 July 2015
The Rev. Dhiya Azziz, abducted on 4 July, has been freed.
(file photo: The Custody of the Holy Land)
You may recall the news that broke last weekend, about the abduction of the Rev. Dhiya Azziz, a Franciscan priest serving in Syria. Today, the Custody of the Holy Land published a statement on its website with this good news:
The Custody of the Holy Land announced that the Father Dhiya Azziz has been liberated.
The Custody had had no news of the Father Dhiya since Saturday, 4 July, in the late afternoon.
Conflicting news had nevertheless led people to believe that he had been taken by jihadists affiliated to Al-Nusra Jabhat, which administers the emirate in the sector.
This group has denied any involvement in his kidnapping and allegedly led the police investigation in neighboring villages which led to his liberation.
Father Dhiya was allegedly abducted by another group jihadists eager to profit on his release. In the region, there are a plethora of groups that operate with varied interests.
He was allegedly treated well during his kidnapping.
The Custody of the Holy Land thanks those around the world who prayed for a successful outcome to this trial that Father Dhiya endured, as well as the faithful of Yacoubieh, of which he is the pastor, his religious family and his family in Iraq.
The Custody concluded its statement by noting it “does not forget that other religious are still missing in Syria and it invites everyone to continue praying for peace in this country.”
10 July 2015
In Tbilisi, Georgia, parishioners sing Armenian hymns during the Divine Liturgy at Sts. Peter and Paul Church, which they share with the local Roman Catholic community. To learn more about Armenian Catholics in Georgia, read “A Firm Faith” in the Spring 2014 edition of ONE.
(photo: Molly Corso)
9 July 2015
Youth relax outside at the San Joe Puram Children’s Village in India. San Joe Puram enables children with special needs to learn and grow together with other children. To find out more, read “A Place of Promise — and Providence” in the Winter 2014 edition of ONE. (photo: John Mathew)
8 July 2015
The Rev. Mikael Khachkalian, the only Armenian Catholic priest in Tbilisi, Georgia, chats with a member of his congregation at the Armenian Catholic Center. Read more about his life and ministry in this profile from the Spring edition of ONE. (photo: Molly Corso)
7 July 2015
In this image from 2011, Father Roman Prokopets hears confessions at the Druzhba Camp for orphaned children and youth in the village of Svirzh, Ukraine. To learn more about the life of a priest in Ukraine, read about men “Answering the Call” in the November 2011 issue of ONE.
(photo: Petro Didula)
6 July 2015
In this image from 2005, Syro-Malankara parishioners in India process to their new village church. To learn more about this Eastern Catholic church, read the profile in the July 2005
edition of ONE. (photo: Sean Sprague)
6 July 2015
Kurdish fighters stand watch during clashes with ISIS on the outskirts of the Syrian city of Hassake on 30 June. (photo: Uygar Onder Simsek/AFP/Getty Images)
US-led airstrikes target ISIS in Syria, Iraq (Voice of America) The U.S.-led coalition carried out 38 airstrikes against ISIS targets in Syria and Iraq over a 24-hour period Saturday into Sunday with nearly half of the sorties conducted around the self-proclaimed ISIS capital of Raqqa. Fighting in northern Syria has alarmed neighboring Turkey, which has vowed retaliation if it feels threatened...
Coptic church distributes food to Muslims for Ramadan (Fides) The Coptic Orthodox Church of Saints Anthony and Paul, in the Egyptian district of Nasser oversees the weekly distribution of food parcels to hundreds of poor Muslim families during Ramadan, the Muslim holy month particularly characterized by the practice of fasting combined with prayer...
Gaza grieves for its child casualties (The Guardian) The walls of the office of Salim Abu Rous, headmaster of the Doha boys’ secondary school in Rafah, in the south of the Gaza Strip, are decorated with medals and trophies. He has photo albums of the boys in football teams and other clubs. Six pupils from the Doha school were killed in the war, more than from any other school in Gaza. In total, more than 550 Palestinian children died during the conflict. Across Gaza, schools lost pupils and teachers, and thousands were injured...
Ukraine launches Western-style police force (Reuters) The first 2,000 recruits of a new Ukrainian police force passed out in the capital Kiev at the weekend, intended by the government as a visible sign of its commitment to shake off a deep-rooted culture of corruption in public institutions. Trained by U.S. and Canadian forces, and given less militaristic uniforms and the name ‘Politsiya’ to mark a break with the old, Soviet-style ‘Militsiya,’ the young officers pledged to forsake the bribes associated with their job. President Petro Poroshenko told the force, which will first patrol big towns and then be deployed across the country, that it was their task not only to uphold the law but “also to make people believe that reforms are inevitable”...
2 July 2015
Tags: Syria Iraq Ukraine Muslim Copts
This image from 2002 shows Armenak Kaiserian in his shoe shop in Bourj Hammoud.
(photo: Armineh Johannes)
In 2002, we took readers to a corner of Lebanon with a distinct Armenian flavor:
After the near annihilation of the Armenian community by the Turks between 1895 and 1915 (an estimated 1.5 million Armenians perished), survivors found refuge in French-protected Lebanon and Syria. Most of these refugees settled in Beirut, particularly in the suburb of Bourj Hammoud. Those who settled in rural Lebanon, notably in the village of Anjar in the Bekaa valley, arrived more than two decades later.
Determined to preserve their cultural identity, religion, language and traditions, these Armenian refugees established clubs, schools, churches, hospitals and dispensaries. Today they attend Armenian churches and schools, eat Armenian food, speak Armenian and read Armenian periodicals. Whether members of the Armenian Apostolic, Catholic or Evangelical churches, Lebanon’s Armenians live in harmony. Although tight-knit, they too are affected by the specters of unemployment, emigration and cultural disintegration haunting all Lebanese.
Roughly 100,000 people — 80 percent of the population of Bourj Hammoud — are Armenian. One of the most densely populated areas in the country, Bourj Hammoud has become one of the largest manufacturing hubs in Lebanon, a center for jewelry, shoes and clothing, all crafted by Armenians. And while Armenians prefer to work with fellow Armenians, their clients are usually fashion-conscious Maronites, Sunni Muslims and Druze. Yet inflation and regional economic challenges have affected even this affluent quarter:
“I have difficulty earning a living today; there is no work here,” says Armenak Kaiserian, who has run a shoe repair shop in Bourj Hammoud for 40 years.
In the narrow streets of Bourj Hammoud, traffic is so dense even the most intrepid drivers hesitate to venture there. Casting a rather somber pall on the area, five-story buildings border the narrow streets; drying clothes, hanging on lines along balconies, compete with webs of electric and telephone cable. Although it is hard to imagine, everyone in Bourj Hammoud can distinguish his or her own wires among the mess.
Read more about “Little Armenia” in the July-August 2002 edition of the magazine.
1 July 2015
Sister Ayelech, center, helps administer a church-funded school lunch program in Ethiopia. To learn more about her life and work, check out “A Letter from Ethiopia” in the Spring 2015
edition of ONE. (photo: Petterik Wiggers)
30 June 2015
Pope Francis chats with retired Pope Benedict XVI during a meeting at the Vatican on 30 June.
(photo: CNS/L’Osservatore Romano via Reuters)
Francis stopped by to visit Benedict this morning. Details, from Vatican Radio:
Pope Francis on Tuesday morning visited Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI at his residence, the former Convent Mater Ecclesiae, in the Vatican, to greet him and wish him a pleasant stay in Castel Gandolfo in the Roman hills. The meeting lasted about half and hour.
The director of the Vatican Press Office, Father Federico Lombardi said the Pope Emeritus transferred to the summer retreat earlier today and will remain there for the next two weeks. He is scheduled to return on 14 July.