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Current Issue
December, 2017
Volume 43, Number 4
  
26 November 2012
Greg Kandra




Last Monday, Monsignor John Kozar paid a visit to Sister Lily and the Holy Family Asha Niwas Social Welfare Center in New Delhi, India. He received a warm welcome from the
children and staff! (photo: CNEWA)




Tags: India

26 November 2012
Greg Kandra




Pope Benedict XVI greets new Cardinal Bechara Rai, Lebanon’s Maronite patriarch, during a consistory in St. Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican on 24 November. The pope created six new cardinals from four different continents, representing the Latin rite of the Catholic Church as well as two Eastern Catholic churches. (photo: CNS/Paul Haring)

Celebrating universality, pope creates new cardinals (CNS) Recalling that Christ’s mission transcends “all ethnic, national and religious particularities,” Pope Benedict XVI created six new cardinals from four different continents, representing the Latin rite of the Catholic Church as well as two Eastern Catholic Churches...

Pope appeals for peace in meeting with Lebanon’s new cardinal (Associated Press) Pope Benedict XVI has launched his latest appeal for peace in Syria and the Middle East during an audience with Lebanon’s new cardinal. Benedict also sought to encourage minority Christians in the region, urging them to not be tempted to flee their traditional homelands and calling for them to be allowed to “live their faith freely...”

Egyptian protests continue (Vatican Radio) Protests in Egypt over President Mohamed Morsi’s decision to grab sweeping powers have entered their third day. The president’s decrees put him above judicial oversight and protect his Islamist supporters in parliament...

Chaldean Bishop Audo: Syrian conflict has disfigured Aleppo (Fides) In recent days, the clash of arms that could be heard even from the center of Aleppo seems to have lessened. And in the apparent stalemate, the devastating effects of the conflict on one of the most thriving and cosmopolitan city in the Middle East is registered with more clarity. “Here now everything is enshrouded by a sense of ruin and decay,” says Msgr. Antoine Audo, Chaldean bishop of the metropolis...

Cardinal O’Brien visits Holy Land (CNS) On the eve of his first trip to the Holy Land as grand master of the Knights of the Holy Sepulchre, Cardinal Edwin F. O’Brien said he hoped to encourage the region’s Christian minority with a message of solidarity from Pope Benedict XVI and other Catholics in the West...

Byzantine Catholic congregation gathers for last time (Akron Beacon Journal) Megan McGuire was overcome with emotion Sunday as she walked down the center aisle at St. Michael the Archangel Byzantine Catholic Church to receive communion. “It was tough knowing this was the last time I would walk down this aisle,” said McGuire, 30, of Akron. “I had hoped to walk down it to get married, but I guess that won’t happen.” McGuire was among more than 150 people who crowded the sanctuary of the Akron church for the parish’s final Mass, a highly emotional service in which parishioners shed tears and shared hugs...



Tags: Syria Egypt Lebanon Pope Benedict XVI Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem

20 November 2012
Greg Kandra




Israeli reserve soldiers pray at a staging area near the border with northern Gaza on 20 November. (photo: CNS/Nir Elias, Reuters)

For fresh perspectives on this still-unfolding story, check out this report from CNS and read Sami El-Yousef’s blog post, “When Will This Madness Stop?”



Tags: Gaza Strip/West Bank Israel Israeli-Palestinian conflict

20 November 2012
Greg Kandra




Palestinians inspect rubble on 20 November at a house destroyed in an Israeli airstrike in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip. (photo: CNS/Ibraheem Abu Mustafa,  Reuters)

Gaza violence continues (Vatican Radio) The Israeli offensive in Gaza is into its seventh day, with rocket fire from militants inside the territory continuing as well. A full diplomatic press is underway to stop the violence, though there is no breakthrough as yet. This morning, Israeli aircraft struck the headquarters of Gaza Strip bank the territory’s Hamas rulers set up to sidestep international sanctions…

Pope Benedict’s message to Pope Tawadros II (Vatican Radio) Pope Benedict XVI has sent a message of congratulations to the pope of Alexandria, His Holiness Tawadros II, who was enthroned on Sunday in the Cathedral Basilica of St Mark in Cairo, Egypt…

Mortars strike Syria, violence erupts in capital (Reuters) Two mortar rounds struck Syria’s Information Ministry building in the capital Damascus on Tuesday, state television said, causing some damage but no casualties. Syrian TV blamed “terrorists” for the attack, referring to insurgents who have been battling to topple President Bashar al-Assad since last year…

Orthodox-Catholic dialogue issues joint statement on the importance of Sunday in Christian life (USCCB) The North American Orthodox-Catholic Theological Consultation issued a statement of agreement on the importance of Sunday in the lives of Christians at its 25-27 October meeting at St. Paul’s College in Washington. Archbishop Gregory M. Aymond of New Orleans and Metropolitan Methodios of Boston jointly chaired the meeting. The pastoral statement on the importance of Sunday calls for Orthodox and Catholic Christians to recover the theological significance of a day that for many “has become less a day of worship and family and more like an ordinary work day.” It ends with a call to clergy and laity “to work cooperatively within their communities to stress the importance of Sunday for worship and family” …



Tags: Syria Gaza Strip/West Bank Pope Benedict XVI Ecumenism Israeli-Palestinian conflict

16 November 2012
Greg Kandra




Palestinian firefighters extinguish a smoldering fire after an Israeli airstrike on the building of Hamas’ Ministry of Interior in Gaza City on 16 November. Catholic officials said Israeli and Palestinian leaders must make tough decisions to end the recent violence.
(photo: CNS/Mohammed Salem, Reuters)


Egyptian prime minister’s visit fails to bring lull in Gaza violence (Los Angeles Times) Anyone hoping that Friday morning’s visit to Gaza City by Egyptian Prime Minister Hisham Kandil might ease the growing conflict between Israel and Hamas was sorely disappointed. In a brief two-hour trip, Kandil made no public mention of a cease-fire or ending the violence that has so far killed 23 people on both sides. Instead, he said Egypt’s loyalty rested squarely with Gaza’s people...

European nations discuss arming Syria’s rebels (Associated Press) LONDON Britain’s Foreign Secretary says the U.K. government has discussed whether a European Union arms embargo on Syria could be lifted to allow nations to supply weapons to the country’s opposition. William Hague told BBC radio on Friday that Britain plans talks with other EU nations on the issue. It is likely to be discussed at a meeting of European foreign ministers on Monday...

Christian churches withdraw from Constituent Assembly in Egypt (Fides) The representatives of the Christian Churches in Egypt have announced their withdrawal from the Constituent Assembly charged with drafting the new constitution of the great North African Country. The decision, already in circulation in recent days by the new Coptic Orthodox Patriarch Tawadros II and solicited by many influential members of the Christian community, was taken yesterday in a meeting held in St. Mark’s Coptic Cathedral in Cairo, which was also attended by the Coptic Catholic Bishop Yohanna Qulta and dr. Safwat al-Bayaadi, head of the Anglican Church in Egypt, members of the Constituent Assembly...

What is the status of Egypt’s Christians? (Christian Science Monitor) With the selection of a new pope, Egypt’s Coptic Orthodox Church again has a spiritual leader as the country goes through a turbulent transition that has been particularly difficult for Christians. Tawadros II, the 118th pope, must fill the shoes of a beloved former leader (he died in March) at a time when sectarian attacks have increased, many are fearful of the rise of Islamist politicians, and the church’s political role is being debated...



Tags: Syria Egypt Gaza Strip/West Bank Coptic Christians

15 November 2012
Greg Kandra




In this 2011 image, Rosary Sister Nabila Saleh participates in Mass at the Holy Family Catholic Church in Gaza. There are some 3,000 Christians in Gaza, of which a little more than 200 are Catholic. (photo: CNS/Paul Jeffrey)

Attacks resume in Gaza conflict (New York Times) Israel and Hamas widened their increasingly deadly conflict over Gaza on Thursday, as a militant rocket killed three civilians in an apartment block in this small southern town. The deaths are likely to lead Israel to intensify its military offensive on Gaza, now in its second day of airstrikes…

Aim of ecumenism is unity of divided Christians (VIS) The close ties between the work of evangelization and the need to overcome the divisions that still exist between Christians was the central theme of this morning’s address by the Holy Father to the members and consultors of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity on the occasion of their plenary assembly dedicated to “The importance of ecumenism in new evangelization” …

Russian Orthodox Church plans to increase presence in Holy Land (RIA) The Russian Orthodox Church will encourage pilgrims to travel to Israel, the Palestinian territories and Jordan to thereby widen its presence in the region, Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia said at the end of his five-day visit there. Some of the events on his visit agenda were “aimed at increasing the presence of the Russian Orthodox Church in the Holy Land,” Patriarch Kirill said on Wednesday while summing up the visit…

Comboni nun works to help Eritreans en route to Israel (CNS) Comboni Sister Azezet Kidane is fluent in Amharic, Arabic, Sudanese and Tigrit dialects, so she was a natural choice when a shelter for African refugees needed help. It was only after the nun, known as Sister Aziza, began conducting interviews with Eritrean refugees that she realized the people she was talking to had been tortured. “It is a horror story, what is happening,” she told Catholic News Service from the African Refugee Development Center’s shelter for single mothers and pregnant women in a low-income neighborhood of Tel Aviv…

Toronto’s interfaith director honored (Catholic Register) For Christian-Jewish Dialogue of Toronto, talk is precious and deserves to be honored. With those values front and center, the 50-year-old organization will honor two people who have fostered conversations about faith, trust and our future together. Christian-Jewish Dialogue will fete Franciscan Friar of the Atonement Father Damian MacPherson and Holocaust Education Centre operations manager Mary Siklos at a 26 November dinner in Toronto. Cardinal Thomas Collins will be the keynote speaker for the dinner at the Adath Israel Congregation. For MacPherson, dialogue with Jews is precisely how we are called to be Catholic. “[Dialogue] is not a choice we can arbitrarily make. It has become a responsibility we must assume,” he said. “The Church can only fully be the Church if it’s faithful to its Jewish roots. Knowing the texts is not sufficient. Knowing the people who believe and have preserved the texts, knowing the covenant, is what we’re called to” …



Tags: Gaza Strip/West Bank Holy Land Ecumenism Israeli-Palestinian conflict Russian Orthodox Church

14 November 2012
Greg Kandra




Smoke rises over the Syrian town of Ras al Ain after an airstrike, as seen from the border town of Ceylanpinar, Turkey, on 13 November. International aid officials met in Lebanon in early November to discuss the situation of Syrians fleeing the violence in their country. (photo: CNS/Osman Orsal, Reuters)

Papal envoy appeals for negotiations in Syria (Vatican Radio) Cardinal Robert Sarah paints a dramatic picture of the situation of refugees fleeing war in Syria. He says the Pope’s $1 million donation in support of the church’s humanitarian response to the crisis is highly appreciated. Reporting on his recently concluded mission as special papal envoy, Cardinal Sarah, president of the Pontifical Council Cor Unum, speaks of the predicament of the refugees in Lebanon and of his hopes for a speedy solution to the crisis...

Car bomb explodes outside church in Syria (Fides) A car bomb exploded in front of the Orthodox Church of the Annunciation, in the city of Raqqah, in northeastern Syria, causing two deaths and injuring a woman. All victims were civilians. As confirmed by Fides sources in the local Christian community, the car bomb damaged the church building, spreading terror throughout the population…

Archbishop Tikhon elected Metropolitan of All America and Canada (OCA.org) Archbishop Tikhon of Philadelphia and Eastern Pennsylvania was elected primate of the Orthodox Church in America during the 17th All-American Council of the Orthodox Church in America at Holy Trinity Church on Tuesday, 13 November 2012. Six hundred and sixty-three hierarchs, clergy and lay delegates, along with observers representing O.C.A. parishes across the United States, Canada, Mexico, and Alaska, participated in the Council…

Onion domes on the Seine: proposed Orthodox cathedral in Paris sparks controversy (Radio Free Europe) Orthodox cathedrals with their trademark golden onion domes are a familiar sight across Russia. And one may soon become part of Paris’s famed skyline, near the Eiffel Tower. French President Francois Hollande has just weeks to decide on a controversial plan to build a massive Russian Orthodox spiritual and cultural center in downtown Paris on the banks of the Seine River, on a UNESCO-protected world heritage site…

Eastern Catholics explain tradition of married priests (CNS) In Eastern Christianity — among both Catholics and Orthodox — a dual vocation to marriage and priesthood are seen as a call “to love more” and to broaden the boundaries of what a priest considers to be his family, said Russian Catholic Father Lawrence Cross. Father Cross, a professor at the Australian Catholic University in Melbourne, was one of the speakers at the Chrysostom Seminar in Rome on 13 November, a seminar focused on the history and present practice of married priests in the Eastern churches. The Code of Canons of the Eastern Catholic Churches insist that “in the way they lead their family life and educate their children, married clergy are to show an outstanding example to other Christian faithful” …



Tags: Syrian Civil War Violence against Christians United States Orthodox Church Eastern Churches

13 November 2012
Greg Kandra




A Syrian family is seen after crossing from the northern Syrian town of Ras al Ain into the border town of Ceylanpinar, Turkey, on 10 November. International aid officials met in Lebanon in early November to discuss the situation of Syrians fleeing the violence in their country. (photo: CNS/Murad Sezer, Reuters)

Health emergency: bubonic plague reported in Homs (Fides) The health situation in Homs is critical, and now there have been reports of cases of bubonic plague. As reported to Fides, civilians in the city center, including a pharmacist, indicate the serious dangers: corpses buried under the ruins, dust and dirt and stray animals, some of whom are visibly ill, have produced infections in people in the region, and pose the risk of epidemic…

Historic church in Aleppo destroyed (Fides) The historic Arabic Evangelical Church of Aleppo, in the Jdeideh district, was blown up “by armed men, for pure sectarian hatred.” This is what Ibrahim Nasir, spiritual leader of the Arabic Evangelical Church in Aleppo says, in a statement sent to Fides, referring to the explosion that occurred two days ago. Rev. Ibrahim Nasir expressed “bitterness and sadness of all Syrian citizens” for an act that makes Christians “inconsolable”...

Aid groups gather in Beirut to discuss refugee crisis (CNS) Representatives of 26 humanitarian agencies gathered in Beirut to discuss and coordinate efforts to address the increasing Syrian refugee crisis. Cardinal Robert Sarah, president of the Pontifical Council Cor Unum, who visited with Syrian refugees in the Bekaa Valley, presided over the 9 November meeting. During the cardinal’s visit, he also met with Lebanese President Michel Sleiman and participated in the monthly meeting of the council of Maronite Catholic bishops in Bkerke…

Bishop asks for U.S. Leadership to defuse Israeli-Palestinian tensions (CNS) In a 8 November letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Committee on International Justice and Peace took both Israel and Palestine to task for actions that he said undermined the possibility of a two-state solution in the Holy Land. The situation, said Bishop Richard E. Pates of Des Moines, Iowa, calls for “strong U.S. leadership that holds both parties accountable for building a just and lasting peace”…

Russian Orthodox patriarch visits Bethlehem (AFP) Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill visited the Church of Nativity in Bethlehem on Saturday and met with Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas, on the second day of his Holy Land trip. After his visit to the Bethlehem church, built over the site where Christians believe Mary gave birth to Jesus in a stable, Kirill met with the Palestinian president at his office in the West Bank city…

Pennsylvania professor discusses building bridges with Ethiopian Christians (Lancaster Online) In 1910, 82 percent of the Christians in the world lived above the equator. By 2010, 60 percent lived below it. Today, the Lancaster Conference of the Mennonite Church USA has about 15,000 members, while the Meserete Kristos Church, the Mennonite Church in Ethiopia, has well over 200,000. Anne Marie Stoner-Eby, associate professor of history at Messiah College with a research specialty in African history, and her husband, Scott Stoner-Eby, who teaches sociology at Millersville University, sat down recently at Addisu’s Ethiopian Restaurant, 1027 Dillerville Road, to talk about the dramatic shift of Christians to the global south. “This is one of the biggest questions we should be grappling with,” she says, asking: “What does it mean?” To the Stoner-Ebys, who worship at Blossom Hill Mennonite Church and reside with their sons Samuel, 11, and Luke, 7, in Lancaster city, it means building relationships across the divide…



Tags: Refugees Syrian Civil War Health Care Beirut Ethiopian Christianity

9 November 2012
Greg Kandra




A Syrian child is pictured at a refugee camp near the Syrian-Turkish border.
(photo: CNS/Abdalghne Karoof, Reuters)


With the situation in Syria deteriorating by the day — a report this morning indicated there could be half a million refugees by next spring — we thought it would be a good time to look at some of the relief efforts underway.

In March, through the Pontifical Mission, our operating agency in the Middle East, CNEWA launched an appeal to help the church provide emergency relief to families forced from their homes.

Here are five specific ways CNEWA is involved:

  1. We’re working with the Sisters of the Good Shepherd to assist people displaced from Homs, helping to provide food rations for over 400 families.

  2. CNEWA’s partnering with the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate to aid over 1,000 needy children displaced with their families to Wadi al Nasarah and villages in areas outside the city of Homs.

  3. We’re raising funds for Winter Survival Kits, offering warm clothes and heating oil to help some 2,000 vulnerable Christian families.

  4. In Aleppo, we have partnered with Father Jules Baghdassarian, the national director of Oeuvre Pontificale Missionaire, who has registered around 1,450 needy displaced families from all confessions, and launched a food distribution program in the basement of a church that so far has helped about 300 families.

  5. Also in Aleppo, we’re working with the Jesuit Refugee Services (JRS) under the leadership of Jesuit Father Mourad Abou Seif and his team.

For the latest, check out this report by Issam Bishara, who runs our program in Lebanon and Syria.

Also, visit our Syria page, which has details on how you can help.



Tags: Syria CNEWA

9 November 2012
Greg Kandra




A man kisses the hands of Bulgarian Orthodox Patriarch Maxim during a memorial ceremony at St. Nedelya Cathedral in Sofia Nov. 8. Patriarch Maxim, who led Bulgaria’s Orthodox Christians for 41 years, died on 6 November at the age of 98. A highlight in Orthodox-Catholic relations came when he received Blessed John Paul II during the pope’s 2002 trip to Bulgaria.
(photo: CNS/Stoyan Nenov, Reuters)


Bulgarians bid farewell to Patriarch Maxim (Associated Press) Thousands of people have joined funeral proceedings in Sofia for Patriarch Maxim, who was at the helm of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church for more than four decades. The 98-year-old patriarch died Tuesday of heart failure at a Sofia hospital. The government has declared Friday a day of mourning...

Refugees in Syria may reach half a million next year (Fides) The number of Syrian refugees who have found refuge in Jordan has reached the threshold of 250 thousand. And if the conflict between Assad’s government loyalists and rebels remains unresolved, it may reach half a million by April 2013...

Kidnappings in Syria now number more than 1,700 (Fides) Austin Tice, American reporter kidnapped in Syria on 13 August and collaborator of the “Washington Post” and “McClatchy Newspapers” group, is one of the most famous victims, but the scourge of kidnapping in the Syrian conflict has currently caused at least 1,753 victims, nearly all civilians. Kidnappings are used by armed groups present in the galaxy of the Syrian opposition or by infiltrated groups, to obtain ransom, revenge, or exchange of prisoners...

Patriarch Kirill makes first official visit to Holy Land (AFP) Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill on Friday will make his first visit to the Holy Land since becoming head of the powerful church in 2009, in a trip which underlines his global influence as a religious leader. Kirill’s first official visit to Israel and the Palestinian territories will be held “under the sign of peace,” spokesman of the Russian Orthodox Church, Father Alexander Volkov, told AFP. The visit will see Kirill meeting with Israeli President Shimon Peres, the Palestinian Authority president Mahmud Abbas and King Abdullah II of Jordan in a new sign of his importance as a global religious figure. His trip “is the most important (religious) visit (to Israel) since that of the Pope Benedict XVI” in 2009, Israel’s foreign ministry said...



Tags: Syria Russian Orthodox Bulgarian Orthodox





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