3 August 2015
The Vladimir Cathedral stands near the ruins of Chersonesus, which Vladimir Putin has said is as sacred to the Orthodox as the Temple Mount is to Muslims and Jews.
(photo: Vatican Radio/Reuters)
Russia fights Islamic militants (Vatican Radio) Russia’s counterterrorism agency says its forces in North Caucasus have killed eight militants who had sworn allegiance to the Islamic State group, including a local leader...
Putin puts “Temple Mount of Orthodox Christians” under federal control (Vatican Radio) Russian President Vladimir Putin has placed a major archaeological site in Crimea, which Russia annexed from Ukraine, under federal control. The move comes amid turmoil over the appointment of a director over what Putin views as the Temple Mount of Orthodox Christians. The Kremlin said the president ordered the area in the ancient Greek city of Chersonesus to be placed under federal oversight. The site is located just outside Sevastopol, the main port city in Crimea, the Black Sea Peninsula annexed by Russia from Ukraine last year...
Hotels in Greece filling with Syrian refugees (Greek Reporter) Syrian refugees have flooded numerous hotels in Thessaloniki, northern Greece, according to Greek newspaper “Ethnos.” Refugees that can afford to stay at hotels, book one or two nights as a layover in their trip to central or northern Europe. The long-suffering Middle Eastern country quickly rose to 5th place in the ranking of customers arriving at Thessaloniki hotels in the first half of 2015, from the 30th place they occupied during the same period last year, noted the newspaper, based on data released by the city’s hoteliers association...
Report: U.S.-led airstrikes have killed hundreds of civilians in Iraq, Syria (AP) U.S.-led airstrikes targeting the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria likely have killed hundreds of civilians, a report by an independent monitoring group said Monday. The coalition had no immediate comment. The report by Airwars, a project aimed at tracking the international airstrikes targeting the extremists, said it believed 57 specific strikes killed at least 459 civilians and caused 48 suspected “friendly fire” deaths. While Airwars noted the difficulty of verifying information in territory held by the Islamic State group, which has beheaded journalists and shot dead activists, other groups have reported similar casualties from the U.S.-led airstrikes...
Finding Ethiopian cuisine in Jerusalem (Roads & Kingdoms) There are now an estimated 130,000 Ethiopians living in Israel, a majority of them Jewish and Israeli citizens. Most of them or their families immigrated over the past three decades as part of Israel’s push to bring in Ethiopia’s Jews living in hardship. Their status as citizens is different from the smaller number of Israel’s Ethiopian Christians, many who made the journey, sometimes via smuggling routes through Sudan and Egypt’s Sinai, to find work and opportunities, or to seek refugee and asylum status. Ethiopians are now a very visible part of the fabric of Jerusalem. But the cuisine, as food trends go, has remained largely off the map...
31 July 2015
Displaced Iraqis celebrate the liturgy in a tent church in Kasnazan, in northern Iraq. It’s been almost exactly one year since ISIS drove many of them from their homes. Read what has happened since in the Summer 2015 edition of ONE. And to support them, and CNEWA’s work in this part of the world, visit this giving page. (photo: John E. Kozar/CNEWA)
30 July 2015
Deen Bandhu Samaj Sisters hold group discussions to empower women in villages across Bastar, India. To learn more about the sisters’ remarkable ministry, read “Serving in the Red” from the Summer 2015 edition of ONE. (photo: Jose Jacob)
29 July 2015
This image from 2013 shows an aerial view of the Zaatari refugee camp in Jordan, the largest camp of its kind in the Middle East. The camp is now three years old. (photo: CNS/Reuters)
Syrian refugees mark third year in Jordanian camp (Voice of America) The U.N. refugee agency reports hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees in Jordan face an increasingly grim future as the Zaatari refugee camp marks its third anniversary. Zaatari camp’s expansion mirrors the intensification of the war in Syria, which began more than four years ago with a series of anti-government protests. In just three years, Jordan’s Zaatari camp, set up in just nine days, has grown to be the largest camp in the Middle East, housing about 81,000 Syrian refugees. UNHCR spokeswoman Ariane Rummery said the camp, from its primitive beginnings, has become a vibrant, bustling home to the refugees, more than half of whom are children...
Turkey steps up bombing in Iraq (The Guardian) Turkish fighter jets have mounted their heaviest assault on Kurdish militants in northern Iraq since air strikes began last week, hours after President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said a peace process had become impossible. The strikes hit six Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) targets including shelters, depots and caves, the prime minister’s office said. A senior official told Reuters it was the biggest assault since the campaign started...
African bishops launch Year of Reconciliation (Vatican Radio) SECAM, the Symposium of Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar (SECAM) is today Wednesday set to officially launch the African Year of Reconciliation (AYR) as it commemorates its 46th Anniversary since it was founded...
Anti-discrimination law advances religious liberty in UAE (L’Osservatore Romano) “Under the new law, “all forms of discrimination based on religion, caste, creed, doctrine, race, colour or ethnic origin" are outlawed. This means that in the UAE, discrimination based on Islam is banned. The Sunni-Shia divide has been a fault-line around which many wars have been fought in the Arab world. With the new law, equality will be guaranteed among people, largely inspired by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. “This is a step forward.” These are the words of the Jesuit priest and Islamic scholar the Rev. Samir Khalil Samir, who spoke to AsiaNews about the new law against discrimination recently passed in the United Arab Emirates...
Widows tell the tale of India’s new Christian martyrs (Crux) In the galaxy of contemporary anti-Christian persecution, the martyrs of Kandhamal in India hold a special place, and not just because statistically they died amid the worst outbreak of violence specifically directed at Christians so far in the 21st century. The manner in which many of these Christians lost their lives, almost all of whom come from the Indian caste once considered “untouchable,” was almost unimaginably grotesque — violence more at home in the Bible or early Christian martyrology, seemingly, than the here-and-now...
28 July 2015
The Rev. Sharbel Bcheiry stands outside the gate of the factory where he works as a machinist.
(photo: Karen Callaway)
The Summer 2015 edition of ONE features a look at a day in the life of a Chicago man who is a husband, father, factory worker — and priest:
As the city of Chicago prepares for bed, the Rev. Sharbel Iskandar Bcheiry prepares to head to work, not the work of a priest &mash; visiting the sick or administering the sacraments — but that of a laborer in a factory, earning money to feed and shelter his family.
A priest of the Syriac Orthodox Church, Father Bcheiry, says some North American parishes can support their priest and his family. But, the 42-year-old priest says, “We have a small parish. We don’t have enough financial support.”
Having earned a doctorate in church history, he had originally hoped to find work at a local university.
“It’s not a choice to go to work in a factory. I have to do it. If not, there is no survival — not for the community, and not for us,” he adds, gesturing to his family.
So this husband and father of two travels an hour each day to work the 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. shift at one of the world’s largest suppliers of forging die steels, plastic mold steels, die casting tool steels and custom open-die forgings.
He started out as a welder-fabricator working the day shift and is now a machinist. But he has not abandoned his academic pursuits; he continues to study and publish books and articles. Indeed, factory work even provides him with a distinctive view of theology.
“It’s the practical theology,” Father Bcheiry says. “How to deal with the daily life. Punch in. Punch out. You have bosses, this one or the other yell at you. There is no privilege.”
To spend a day with Father Bcheiry is to witness a life that might surprise those who imagine priests divide all their time between praying and preaching.
For Father Bcheiry, that is just the beginning.
Read the rest of the story here.
28 July 2015
A Ukrainian serviceman cleans his machine gun on the frontline in the village of Maryinka in the Donetsk region on 21 July 2015. (photo: Anatolii Stepanov /AFP/Getty Images)
Rebels in eastern Ukraine block crucial aid (Vatican Radio) The biggest supplier of aid to rebel-controlled eastern Ukraine says its mission could end by Wednesday, if Russian-backed separatists continue to block its convoys, despite concerns over severe shortages for many destitute people, including many children...
Family of kidnapped priest consoled by Pope’s appeal (Vatican Radio) The family of the Rev. Paolo Dall’Oglio, the Italian Jesuit priest kidnapped in Syria nearly two years ago, has thanked Pope Francis for offering them consolation in their moment of trial. At this past Sunday’s Angelus, Pope Francis appealed for the release of Fr. Dall’Oglio and of two Orthodox bishops of Aleppo who were also kidnapped during the raging confict in Syria in 2013...
Syrian refugees in Armenia “stumble from one crisis to another” (Al-Monitor) Armenia is currently mired in a grim economic situation of its own that has sent hundreds of thousands of its citizens abroad in pursuit of work — meaning some remaining locals haven’t always welcomed the increased competition for jobs. With unresolved disputes on its borders with neighboring Turkey, and Azerbaijan draining the budget and stymieing trade, the government has found itself ill-equipped to deal with the needs of its 3 million citizens, let alone a smattering of destitute refugees. Nowhere are these difficulties better illustrated than at Yerevan’s “Aleppo market,” where Syrian shopkeepers scrape to make a living in an unassuming pedestrian underpass with low foot traffic near the capital’s central Republic Square...
Photo essay: Gaza residents living without electricity up to 18 hours a day (International Business Times) The Gaza Strip, home to 1.8 million people, has been experiencing up to 18 hours of power cuts a day. The coastal enclave’s only power plant halted production earlier in July in a dispute between Hamas and the Palestinian Authority (PA) over fuel tax. Hamas has been paying the PA for imported fuel but was unable to afford the tax bill. Qatar had donated $10m (£6.42m), effectively exempting Hamas from paying the tax, but this has dried up...
27 July 2015
Bishop Gregory Petros XX Ghabroyan — in French, Grégoire Pierre XX Ghabroyan — was elected the new patriarch for the Armenian Catholic Church on 25 July to succeed the deceased Patriarch Bedros Nerses XIX. Read more about his life here. And to learn more about the Armenian Catholic Church, read our profile. (photo: Vatican Radio)
27 July 2015
Turkish tanks patrol close to the village of Elbeyli, near the border with Syria in southeastern Turkey on 25 July 2015, as the Turkey raises its security measures along the borderline
with Syria. (photo: Fatih Aktas/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
Turkey and U.S. plan Syria “safe zone” for refugees (The New York Times) Turkey and the United States have agreed in general terms on a plan that envisions American warplanes, Syrian insurgents and Turkish forces working together to sweep Islamic State militants from a 60-mile-long strip of northern Syria along the Turkish border, American and Turkish officials say. The plan would create what officials from both countries are calling an Islamic State-free zone controlled by relatively moderate Syrian insurgents, which the Turks say could also be a “safe zone” for displaced Syrians...
Pope congratulates new Armenian patriarch (Vatican Radio) Pope Francis has sent a message of congratulations to the new Armenian Catholic Paticarch of Cilicia, his Beatiude Grégoire Pierre XX Ghabroyan. In the message Pope Francis expresses his joy at the Patriarch’s election and the hope that his new ministry will bear many fruits. The Holy Father in the congratulatory note also grants his Beatiude Grégoire Pierre XX Ghabroyan the “Ecclesiastical Communion” which the Patricarch requested in an earlier letter...
Officials refuse to let nun in Kerala take exam because of her veil (International Business Times) A Kerala nun was denied permission to appear for the retest of the All India Pre-Medical/Pre-Dental Entrance Test (AIPMT) after she refused to remove her veil and cross on Saturday, 25 July in Thiruvananthapuram. The incident happened at Jawahar Central School in Kanjiramkulam, when Sister Seba arrived at the exam centre with Mother Superior of her convent on Saturday. The incident, in which the school authorities asked the nun to remove the veil, has sparked outrage in different parts of the state...
Aleppo archbishop aims to help Christians stay in Syria (CNA) With half of Syria’s population displaced due to its ongoing civil war, Church leaders in the country are seeking to send a message of hope and support for the persecuted Christian minority who have chosen to stay. “At the time of this writing, Aleppo is undergoing a massive assault by jihadists, and bombs have been falling for hours. It is as if everything is being done to scare people and push them to leave,” Melkite Archbishop Jean-Clement Jeanbart of Aleppo wrote in a 17 July letter. “We want to convey a message of optimism, one that encourages perseverance,” he said...
How Gaza’s businesswomen are beating the blockade (The Week) Nine years under an Israeli economic blockade, which Egypt has intermittently enforced too, makes Gaza an unlikely place to find a thriving start-up sector. Parts of the coastal enclave remain devastated after last summer’s war, the worst in modern times, and the third in six years in this narrow strip on the Mediterranean Sea. Energy shortages mean there are only eight hours of electricity each day here and the lack of 3G service also hinders connectivity. Yet a couple of blocks up from the beachfront, a new generation of entrepreneurs is working to rival the regional start-up hubs of Amman, Cairo and Beirut. “We have some people in Gaza who are incredibly smart and are totally comparable to what you see elsewhere in the region,” says Iliana Montauk, director of the Gaza Sky Geeks start-up accelerator...
10 July 2015
Tags: Syria Gaza Strip/West Bank Kerala Armenia Turkey
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)