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5 September 2012
Melkite Greek Catholic Patriarch Gregory III prays during the closing Mass of the Synod of Bishops for the Middle East in St. Peter’s Basilica on 24 October 2010. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)
Patriarch calls for “international campaign for reconciliation in Syria” (Fides) “For Syria, reconciliation is the only anchor of salvation.” This is why “an international campaign for reconciliation in Syria” is needed shared by all the Churches in the world: it is the heartfelt plea of the Melkite Greek Catholic Patriarch of Damascus, Gregory III Laham, launched in an open letter, while the situation in Syria degenerates and “the language of violence has swept all other languages.”
Red Cross chief meets with Syrian president over humanitarian crisis (Vatican Radio) Recently-appointed president of the International Committee of the Red Cross (I.C.R.C.) Peter Maurer met with Syrian president Bashar al-Assad Tuesday morning about the current humanitarian crisis in Syria. The three-day visit will focus on the deteriorating humanitarian conditions in Syria, and the challenges faced by the I.C.R.C. in bringing aid to those affected by the conflict, the violence of which has been escalating in recent weeks.
More Russian Orthodox crosses chopped down (The Moscow Times) Someone chopped down a wooden Russian Orthodox cross at the entrance to the mountainous Seminsky Pass in southern Siberia’s Altai republic on Monday night. That same day, nine crosses were found chopped down at a cemetery in Priozersk, Leningrad region.
Maronite bishops call on faithful to turn out for papal visit (Lebanon Daily Star) Maronite bishops called Wednesday for a massive turnout for Pope Benedict XVI’s visit to Lebanon next week. “The Maronite bishops call on the sons and daughters [of the Church] to turn out en masse to welcome his Holiness Pope Benedict XVI ... and be spiritually prepared to accept his guidance and work under his direction ... so that a real spring for Christians and for the region will be achieved,” said a statement issued by the Council of Maronite Bishops at the end of their monthly meeting.
4 September 2012
Tags: Syria Lebanon Russian Orthodox Maronite
A monk stands near Hebrew text sprayed on the entrance of a Trappist monastery outside Jerusalem, 4 September. (photo: CNS / Baz Ratner, Reuters)
It evidently happened early this morning. Catholic News Service has details:
Vandals burned the door of a Trappist monastery outside Jerusalem and spray-painted a wall with the names of illegal Israeli outposts, one of which had been evacuated two days earlier.
In addition to the names of the outposts — Jewish enclaves not approved by the Israeli government — the vandals scrawled slogans against Christianity including “Jesus is a monkey” on the walls on the Latrun monastery, best known for its contemplative monks and wine-making. The monastery, about 20 miles west of Jerusalem, sits on a hill overlooking the road linking Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.
Trappist Father Louis Wehbee, who is responsible for the formation of novices at the monastery, said a monk heard a noise outside early Sept. 4 and went to investigate. He found the wooden door in flames and alerted the other monks. He was able to put out the flames with a fire extinguisher.
”We were very surprised and can’t understand why this has happened,” Father Wehbee told Catholic News Service in a phone interview. “Never in our 122-year history here has something like this happened to us. We are opened to all people, we have good relations with everybody. What makes us sad is the graffiti which they wrote against our faith. If there are political tensions, why are they taking it out against our religion?”
A day earlier, Israel authorities had evacuated residents from an unauthorized Jewish enclave in Migron, West Bank. Migron was one of the names spray painted on the wall.
Police said they had been preparing for such a so-called “price tag” attack against a Palestinian or Muslim target, which has been the recent modus operandi of a group of extremists following an outpost evacuation or other government action that they oppose.
Acting Jerusalem District Police Commander Meni Yitzhaki, who visited the monastery 4 Sept, said he had appointed a special investigator to look into the incident.
You can find more background and additional details at the link.
4 September 2012
Tags: Violence against Christians Jerusalem Holy Land Monastery
Major Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk (photo: Vancouver Sun)
Ukrainian leader warns against “moral escapism” during visit to Canada (Vancouver Sun) — Sviatoslav Shevchuk first visited Vancouver 15 years ago as a fresh young priest on an adventure, driving here with friends from San Francisco. This week he makes a return visit as Major Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk.
Coptic Christians ready to be martyrs (America Magazine) — Since the revolution’s onset, over 100,000 Copts have fled Egypt. “Well, I’m not going to leave,” Sami insisted. “Christ is testing us. I tell my friends to stay. Christ could end this suffering, this trial, at any time. How will you feel, I tell my friends, if you’re in Canada instead of Egypt when Christ returns?”
Thousands of Christians take to the streets in India to demand justice (Fides) — About 5,000 Christians took to the streets in Orissa staging a peaceful demonstration to demand justice, on the anniversary of the massacres that hit the Christian community in Kandhamal district in 2008.
Archbishop Chrysostomos says he fears for fate of Christians in Syria (Cyprus Mail) — Archbishop Chrysostomos said yesterday that Christianity in the Middle East and especially in Syria was in danger due to the troubles in the area. “We’re really concerned what will happen to our Christians in the Middle East. ... We’re concerned about the refugees that have left Syria, plenty have gone to Jordan,” said the Prelate.
Patriarch Bechara Rai: Welcome pope to Lebanon by overcoming divisions (Asia News) — Maronite Patriarch Bechara Rai urged the Lebanese not to let their divisions compromise the welcome they will give Pope Benedict XVI when he visits the country between 14 and 16 September.
30 August 2012
Tags: Syria Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church Indian Christians Maronite Patriarch Bechara Peter Canada
Patriarch Twal: Pope's trip to Lebanon is for entire region (Vatican Radio)
Clerics call on Christians to stay in Syria (Hurriyet Daily News)
Patriarch releases statement on Daraya attacks (ByzCath.org)
Russians to raise security at places of worship (Voice of Russia)
A Maronite revival in Israel (Jerusalem Post)
In Kerala, feasting and splurging during Onam (New York Times)
29 August 2012
Tags: Syria Lebanon Israel Kerala Russia
Terrorist attack at Christian funeral in Damascus (Fides)
Syrian women, children caught in situation they never imagined (Catholic Register)
Relics of Orthodox saints stolen from St. Petersburg cathedral (The Moscow Times)
Coptic Christian defends accepting role as advisor to Egypt's president (Ahram)
Kerala Catholic bishops calls for celebrating Onam without liquor (The Asian Age)
28 August 2012
Tags: Violence against Christians Coptic Christians Saints Indian Bishops Damascus
Greek Catholic archbishop flees Syria for Lebanon (Radio Free Europe)
Lebanon trip could be a papal high-wire act (National Catholic Reporter)
Egyptian president appoints women, Christians to advisory board (Associated Press via Washington Post)
Group claims responsibility for desecrating Russian Orthodox crosses (The Moscow Times)
Ukrainian Catholic leader reaches out to Russian Orthodox (Catholic News Service)
27 August 2012
In Syria, residence of metropolitan archbishop looted (Fides)
Turkish government shuts two border crossings to halt flow of Syrian refugees (Washington Post)
In Moscow, vandals attack Russian Orthodox crosses with chainsaws (The Moscow Times)
Two members of anti-Putin punk band flee Russia (Associated Press)
24 August 2012
Tags: Syria Refugees Turkey Russian Orthodox
Syrian army retakes Christian areas of Aleppo (AFP)
Russian Orthodox activists form political party aiming to re-establish the monarchy (Interfax)
Heightened security for papal trip to Lebanon (Catholic News Service)
Spate of hate crimes troubles U.S. Muslims (CNN)
23 August 2012
Tags: Syria Lebanon Russia Muslim Orthodox
Ethiopian Orthodox patriarch buried (Africa Report)
Body of Ethiopian prime minister returns to his homeland (L'Osservatore Romano)
Syrian capital under siege(Voice of America)
Egypt's Copts celebrate Virgin Mary (Egypt Daily News)
Biblical park in Israel recreates ancient times with donkeys and Wi-Fi (Associated Press)
22 August 2012
Tags: Syria Egypt Ethiopia Israel Coptic Christians
Pope sends condolences at passing of Ethiopia's Prime Minister (Vatican Radio)
Nuncio in Syria worried for future (Catholic News Service)
Over 12,000 Christians reported “starving” in Rableh, Syria (Fides)
Christian refugees in Lebanon fear Islamist rebels (Los Angeles Times)
Young Lebanese see Pope's visit as a sign of hope (Catholic News Service)
Christian and Muslim Palestinian women pursue careers in auto racing (AFP)
Kansas opens its first Orthodox Christian school (Wichita Eagle, via OCL.org)
Tags: Syria Lebanon Refugees Ethiopia Palestinians