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September, 2018
Volume 44, Number 3
  
1 September 2015
Greg Kandra




Migrants and refugees protest at the Keleti railway station in Budapest on 1 September 2015. Keleti, the biggest Hungarian railway station was closed today as police evacuated people trying to get on trains bound for Germany. (photo: Attila Kisbenedek/AFP/Getty Images)

Hungary shuts down largest train terminal to halt refugees (Al Jazeera) Hundreds of angry refugees demonstrated outside Budapest’s shuttered Eastern Railway Terminus on Tuesday, demanding that they be allowed to travel on to Germany, as a migration crisis put the European Union’s rules under unprecedented strain. Hungarian authorities closed the train station altogether, then reopened it but barred entry to the refugees. About 100 police wearing helmets and wielding batons guarded the station. Dozens of refugees who were inside were forced out...

Christian schools stage strikes in Israel (Fides) Christian schools in Israel will begin a number of strikes as of today, 1 September, just when the new school year begins in the country. Through the extreme measure of suspension of all school activities, they intend to protest against the policies of the Jewish State against them, considered “discriminatory.” This was reported by official sources of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, reconstructing the reasons and the various steps of the dispute that has long seen Christian schools and Israeli policies in contrast...

Russian Orthodox spokesman calls on faithful to replace political elite (The Moscow Times) A Russian Orthodox Church spokesman has called for Russia’s faithful to replace the current “tired, corrupt and cynical” political elite with devout leadership, news site Lenta.ru news portal reported on Sunday. “Today, [the faithful] need to take the place of tired, corrupt, cynical elites, to exercise their civil action at the level of a village, a city, a region, of the country as a whole and of the whole world,” church spokesman Vsevolod Chaplin was quoted as saying...

Israeli-Canadian woman who went to fight ISIS returns to iraq for charity work (The Jerusalem Post) An Israeli-Canadian woman who went to Kurdistan last year to join the fight against ISIS and spent years in jail in the US for her part in a multi-million dollar scam, has returned to Iraq with a group that works to free children and women taken captive by the Islamic State, the Jerusalem Post learned Monday...

Harvest festival gains prominence in Kerala churches (UCANews.com) For Christians, the traditional Onam harvest festival in the southern Indian state of Kerala has become more than just a celebration of culture. Church entrances are elaborately designed with floral carpets. Christian schools declare holidays for at least three days and parishes organize special lunches and competitions during this season. Some parishes also organize a special liturgy on the day. In Kerala, Onam is traditionally celebrated with special plays, joyful competitions and good food. Boat races and dances make the season special. Men, disguised as tigers, dance on the streets to the accompaniment of drums...

Ethiopia’s secret Jews see small gains in tolerance (Al Jazeera) Jews have a quiet but central presence in Ethiopia’s history. Their origins are disputed, but it is believed they arrived less than 3,000 years ago, around the time King Menelik I, the son of the queen of Sheba and King Solomon, traveled from Israel to the Horn of Africa. In Ethiopia, particularly in poorer rural areas outside the capital, Addis Ababa, their marginalization is a product of widespread belief that they are agents of evil. Common superstitions are that Jews shoot fire from their eyes, use Christian corpses to make their pottery and turn into hyenas at night. Al Jazeera spoke to more than a dozen Jewish Ethiopians, researchers and historians who described these lingering beliefs as well as occasional violence in the Amhara and Tigray regions where they have been historically concentrated...



Tags: Syria Ethiopia Refugees Israel Russian Orthodox

31 August 2015
Greg Kandra




In this image from 2007, a teacher leads a class at the Holy Trinity College in Addis Ababa.
(photo: Cody Christopulos)


With many heading back to school these days, some of those returning to the classroom are seminarians. In 2007, we looked at how one college in Ethiopia is preparing the next generation of priests:

The college hosts both full-time and part-time students (there are currently about 400 enrolled) and offers a bachelor’s degree in theology, a diploma of theology and a certificate in church management and administration. There are courses also found in secular institutions — foreign languages, statistics, philosophy and sociology — as well as classes in theology, liturgy and other areas of religious studies.

Many of the students have been educated previously in government schools. “From first to twelfth grade, I went to government schools,” said Mulugetta Dabi, a fifth-year student in his final year at Holy Trinity. By the time he was in sixth grade, he knew he wanted to be a priest in his hometown of Nazret, so he came to Holy Trinity.

In contrast, Sisay Wgayehu came to Holy Trinity only after his attempts to enroll at secular universities, including an Australian college, failed. “But once I came here, I was happy. When Addis Ababa University [later] offered me a spot, I turned them down.”

When they graduate, most students scatter across the country, often serving parishes in small villages. A few stay on and teach at Holy Trinity. The new generation of students will not only enliven the church at home, but will also help forge ties abroad, Mr. Dabi said.

Read more about Ethiopians moving “Into the Future” in the November 2007 edition of ONE.



31 August 2015
Greg Kandra




This image from 2014 shows carvings on a wall in the courtyard of the sanctury of Baal in the ancient oasis city of Palmyra. Reports indicate ISIS damaged part of these world-renowned ruins over the weekend. (photo: Joseph Eid/AFP/Getty Images)

Temple of Baal in Palmyra damaged by ISIS (The New York Times) Islamic State militants in Syria have damaged the Temple of Baal, one of the most important structures in the ancient city of Palmyra, their second attack on the world-renowned ruins in a week, according to local activists and residents...

Pope Francis issues appeal for persecuted Christians, migrants (Vatican Radio) Pope Francis issued a twofold appeal on Sunday: for persecuted Christians and for all persons forced to flee their homes in search of a peaceful and secure existence in foreign lands...

Islamic-Christian summit in Lebanon postponed (Fides) The Islamic-Christian summit scheduled for today, Monday, 31 August, to be held at the Maronite patriarchal see in Bkerké, has been postponed until a later date. This was reported by Lebanese official agencies, adding that, however, even today meetings continued with political representatives and Christian members at the patriarchal see in Bkerké...

Martyred Syrian bishop beatified (Catholic Herald) Bishop Michael Melki, a Syrian Catholic cleric martyred during the Assyrian Genocide of 1915 for refusing to convert to Islam, has been beatified. The bishop was beheaded by the Ottomans during the Sayfo — putting to the sword” — of Assyrians in 1915, a tragedy in which at least 250,000 Syriac-speaking Christians were murdered, alongside one million Armenians...

Kiev protest blast wounds 100 police (BBC) One hundred policemen protecting Ukraine’s parliament were wounded, 10 seriously, after MPs gave initial backing to reforms for more autonomy in the rebel-held east, officials say. As police were pelted with fire crackers and petrol bombs, an explosion was heard in front of parliament...

Russia probes smashing of “Mephistopheles” figure (AFP) Russia has launched a probe after a century-old figure of Mephistopheles was ripped down in Saint Petersburg, with Orthodox activists claiming responsibility amid fears of an increasing intolerance in the country. Police said on Friday they had found smashed fragments of the figure in rubbish sacks after it disappeared from the facade of a historic building in the centre of the northwestern city on Monday...



28 August 2015
Greg Kandra




Father Jos Kandathikudy greets some of his flock at St. Thomas Syro-Malabar Catholic Church
in the Bronx. (photo: Maria Bastone)


Several years ago, we took readers to a church in New York City where Catholics from India were quietly working to maintain their identity and their traditions:

Standing at the entrance of St. Thomas — a large neo-Gothic building — is a cheerful man. Children wave to him on their way into catechism classes. Men, in slacks and dress shirts, and women, some dressed no differently from American women and many others wearing silk, satin and chiffon saris, greet him with smiles and handshakes. “Good morning, Father. How are you?” they ask.

Father Jos Kandathikudy and the people greeting him made all the contributions that transformed the unused St. Valentine’s Roman Catholic Church into St. Thomas Church. The church was donated to the community by the Archbishop of New York, Edward Cardinal Egan.

In the eight years since his superiors in Kerala asked him to organize Syro-Malabar communities in the eastern U.S., Father Kandathikudy has established 21 missions. St. Thomas was founded as a parish last year and is the headquarters for Syro-Malabar Catholics in the New York area.

The Syro-Malabar Catholic Church is the largest Eastern Church in India with 3.75 million followers. The newly established St. Thomas Syro-Malabar Catholic Eparchy of Chicago, headed by Bishop Jacob Angadiath, shepherds some 113,000 Syro-Malabar Catholics in parishes, missions and schools in 12 states and the District of Columbia. When Father Kandathikudy began his pastoral work in the United States, most of the Syro-Malabar Catholics he encountered “had no identity,” he said. “There was no one to tell them, ‘Keep up your identity.’ ”

Read more about “New World Children of St. Thomas” in the May-June 2003 edition of the magazine.



28 August 2015
Greg Kandra




In the video above, priests from Iraq and Syria describe what is happening in the Middle East
as genocide. (video: Rome Reports)


The lives of Syrian refugees who fled (BBC) Hundreds of thousands of people seeking to escape war, persecution and poverty have crossed into Europe this year. The vast majority are fleeing the conflict in Syria, and under international law are classed as refugees. Since the conflict began more than four years ago, about eight million people — or 40% of the population — have had to leave their homes...

Estonia plans Russian “border fence” (BBC) Estonia says it wants to build a fence along its eastern border with Russia to boost security and protect the EU's passport-free Schengen zone. Construction on the fence, planned to be about 110km (70 miles) long and 2.5m (8ft) high, is set to start in 2018. It is expected to cost about €71m (£52m; $80m), according to reports. The plans come amid heightened tensions between Russia and the West over the Ukraine conflict. Europe is also struggling with an influx of migrants...

Martyred Syrian bishop hailed as a model of holiness (Vatican Radio) On Saturday, 29 August, the venerable Servant of God, Flavyānus Mikhayil Melkī is to be beatified. Melkī was an Eastern Catholic prelate of the Brothers of Saint Ephrem, who became the Syrian Catholic eparch of Gazarta — or what is Cizre in modern-day Turkey, and was was killed in Gazarta during the sayfo or “putting to the sword” of Syrians in 1915, after he refused to convert to Islam. In an exclusive interview with Vatican Radio, the Prefect of the Congregations for the Causes of Saints, Cardinal Angelo Amato, said that the soon-to-be Blessed Flavyā nus Mikhayil Melkī is a model of holiness for our time, in which once again the Christian communities of very ancient standing face the threat of extinction...

Gaza victims still displaced a year later (The Daily Telegraph) It is a year this week since the homes and lives of Beit Hanoun families were levelled in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict that to this day sees more than 100,000 people in Gaza still displaced with no real homes or livelihood and many living in the rubble created during the intense seven-week war...

Coptic Christian jailed for handing out Bibles to Muslims (Christian Post) An Egyptian Christian who was arrested in early August for handing out Bibles to Muslims at a mall is likely to remain jailed indefinitely after a judge extended his sentence and charged him with blasphemy right before he was scheduled to be released...



27 August 2015
Greg Kandra




Oseni Khalajian, a pensioner living in Eshtia, belongs to a community of Armenian Catholics descended from Armenians who fled to Georgia to escape the Turkish mass murder. Learn more about the the efforts of Armenians Catholics to retain identity and faith in “Staying Power” from the Autumn 2013 edition of ONE. (photo: Molly Corso)



27 August 2015
Greg Kandra




Ukrainian scouts patrol a neutral zone to survey the position of pro-Russian rebels in the Lugansk region on 27 August. (photo: Anatolii Stepanov/AFP/Getty Images)

Seven Ukrainian servicemen killed, 13 wounded (Reuters) Seven Ukrainian servicemen have been killed and 13 wounded in fighting with pro-Russian separatists in the past 24 hours, military spokesman Oleksander Motuzyanyk said on Thursday. The casualties were the highest daily losses for the Ukrainian army since mid-July, as violence continues to test a six-month-old ceasefire deal.

Iraqi archbishop: Plights of Christians has challenged his faith (CNS) Chaldean Catholic Archbishop Bashar Warda of Erbil, Iraq, placed his face in his hands when asked how his faith has been challenged and changed in the crisis he has helped manage over the past year. He said he has outwardly encouraged the Christians whom he welcomed to Irbil when they fled Islamic State, but within his heart he would frequently “quarrel with God.” “I don’t understand what he is doing when I look at what has happened in the region,” Archbishop Warda said. “I quarrel with him every day...”

UN: growing need for food aid in Ethiopia (The Guardian) The number of Ethiopians who will need food aid by the end of this year has surged by more than 1.5 million from earlier estimates, according to United Nations agencies. After failed rains, some 4.5m people are now projected to require assistance, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (Ocha), the World Food Programme and the UN children’s agency, Unicef, said. This is an increase of 55% on initial projections of 2.9 million, and means donors must urgently provide an extra $230m to meet these needs...

Dozens of refugees found dead in truck in Austria (Reuters) As many as 50 refugees were found dead in a parked truck in Austria near the Hungarian border on Thursday, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel said the discovery had shaken European leaders discussing the migrant crisis at a Balkans summit. Police made the grisly discovery in the 7.5-tonne truck stopped on the A4 motorway near the town of Parndorf, apparently since Wednesday, Hans Peter Doskozil, police chief in the province of Burgenland, told a news conference...

A Jewish perspective on “Nostra Aetate” 50 years later (Vatican Radio) Susannah Heschel is an American author and professor of Jewish Studies at Dartmouth College in the United States. She’s also the daughter of Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, who played an influential role in the drawing up of ‘Nostra Aetate.’ At a recent conference, organised by theEcclesiological Investigations network at Georgetown University, Philippa Hitchen talked to Susannah about her father’s role and about the importance of that document, half a century on...



Tags: Iraq Ukraine Ethiopia Refugees

26 August 2015
Greg Kandra




On 20 August, Israeli heavy equipment loads an olive tree after it was uprooted to make way for the controversial separation barrier in the Cremisan Valley in Beit Jala, West Bank.
(photo: CNS photo/Debbie Hill)


The latest developments in the Cremisan Valley — with Israel moving forward with construction of a controversial barrier that will divide the region — has prompted a response from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (U.S.C.C.B.).

Bishop Oscar Cantú of Las Cruces this week sent the following letter to Secretary of State John Kerry:

Dear Secretary Kerry:

As Chairman of the Committee on International Justice and Peace of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, I write regarding the injustice being perpetrated in the Cremisan Valley near Bethlehem in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. My predecessor as Chairman called this situation to your attention earlier. A recent statement of the Latin Patriarchate encapsulates our concerns:

“On Monday morning, 17 August, Israeli bulldozers arrived unannounced on private properties in Beir Ona, near the Cremisan Valley, to resume construction of the Separation Wall. The residents of the area were surprised and felt the pain of the loss of about 50 of their centuries-old olive trees that were uprooted.

The Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem strongly condemns this Israeli conducted operation, which is without regard to the rights of the families of the valley; the rights that these same families have bravely tried to defend before the law over the past decade. We join with the sorrow and frustration of these oppressed families, and we strongly condemn the injustice done to them.

The construction of the Separation Wall and the confiscation of lands of the local families are threats and insults to peace. We call on the Israeli authorities to await the decision on the petition submitted by the families of the Valley to the Supreme Court of Israel a few days ago and to stop the work that has been started.

We urge you to press Israeli authorities to stop the work on the Separation Wall whose route is confiscating the private lands of Palestinian families in the West Bank. Such actions undermine the cause of peace and impair the possibility of a two-state solution.

Sincerely yours,

Most Reverend Oscar Cantú

Bishop of Las Cruces

Chairman, Committee on International Justice and Peace



Tags: Palestine Israel Holy Land

26 August 2015
Greg Kandra




A bougainvillea grows through the open window of the Good Shepherd Sisters’ convent in Suez, burned by rioters in 2013. To learn more about efforts to rebuild in Egypt, read Out of the Ashes in the Spring 2015 edition of ONE. (photo: David Degner)



Tags: Egypt Violence against Christians Sisters

26 August 2015
Greg Kandra




In the video above, a Vatican official says that charitable Christian organizations have been invited to Rome on 17 September to discuss what can be done to improve aid to refugees from Iraq and Syria. (video: Rome Reports)

Kurds launch new assault on ISIS (Reuters) Kurdish forces attacked ISIS insurgents in a cluster of villages in Iraq’s northern province of Kirkuk on Wednesday, bent on securing territory they have gained in the course of rolling back the jihadists since last summer. The assault began overnight south of Daquq, a town about 108 miles north of the Iraqi capital Baghdad…

Pope extends boundaries of Syro-Malabar eparchy (Vatican Radio) The pope has extended the boundaries of the Syro-Balabar Eparchy of Mandya and included six neighboring civil districts. At the Synod of the Syro-Malabar Major Archbishops at Mount St. Thomas in Kerala, the Rev. Dr. P. Antony Kariyil, C.M.I., was canonically elected bishop of the Eparchy of Mandya…

Russia inadvertently publishes death toll in eastern Ukraine (NBC News) Russia’s military death toll in eastern Ukraine may be officially classified — but it appears to have inadvertently slipped out. A Russian financial news website published a report — which has now been censored — saying that Moscow has paid compensation to around 2,000 families of troops slain in the conflict. Russia has steadfastly denied allegations its troops have been sent to assist pro-Moscow rebels fighting in eastern Ukraine. However, the Kremlin said in May that army deaths in peacetime were classified information…

Vatican sends letter to mark 60th anniversary of Hebrew Catholic Vicariate (Vatican Radio) Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin has sent a letter on behalf of Pope Francis for the 60th anniversary of the Apostolate of St. James. The Apostolate is the Hebrew Catholic Vicariate of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem…

Mortar attacks on churches in Damascus (Fides) On Sunday, 23 August, a rain of mortars fell on the neighborhood, including two shells on the roof of the Maronite church. This was reported by Maronite Archbishop Samir Nassar, in an statement specifying that 9 people were killed and about 50 were wounded…

Census on religions in India shows increase in Muslims (Fides) The Muslims have increased by 0.8 percent and now represent 14.2 percent of the Indian population, while Hindus have fallen by 0.7 percent and represent 79.8 percent. These are the data just released by the Indian authorities, emerged from the 2011 Census on the population of the religious communities in the country…



Tags: Syria Iraq Syro-Malabar Catholic Church Pope ISIS





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