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Current Issue
September, 2018
Volume 44, Number 3
  
26 October 2018
Greg Kandra




Members of CNEWA’s staff in Jerusalem paid a visit to leaders of the Coptic Orthodox Church to show solidarity and support after yesterday’s clash at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.
(photo: CNEWA)


We first reported on this story Thursday, via the Associated Press:

A scuffle between Israeli police and Coptic priests at a major Christian holy site in Jerusalem on Wednesday drew condemnation from Egypt and churches in the Holy Land.

Police and Coptic priests wrangled outside a contested chapel at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem, where many Christians believe Jesus was crucified, buried and resurrected.

The Copts were protesting the start of restoration work by the Israel Antiquities Authority at the St. Michael the Archangel Chapel, which both the Ethiopian and Egyptian Orthodox churches claim.

Friday morning, our Jerusalem office sent us the photo above with a note:

[CNEWA’s] director and staff, along with the Rev. Ibrahim Faltas and the staff from the Custody of the Holy Land, visited the Coptic Orthodox Church and His Excellency Anba Antonius, to show solidarity with him and his clergy.



26 October 2018
Greg Kandra




A report from the UN says it will cost more than $4 billion to help Kerala recover from the devastating floods of August. The video above chronicles the extent of the damage.
(video: Chavara Media/YouTube)


UN: Kerala will need billions to recover from floods (Business Standard) Kerala will need about Rs 310 billion (about $4 billion) for recovery and reconstruction following the century’s worst floods, according to a UN report presented to the Chief Minister by UN Resident Coordinator in India Yuri Afanasiev…

Heavy rains bring flooding, death to refugee camps (Middle East Monitor) Flooding in Lebanon and Turkey has left refugees dead after heavy rains hit the region and swamped refugee camps. Videos shared by member of the Syrian Negotiations Committee Hadi Albahra, reportedly from refugee camps near the Lebanese border town of Arsal, show the ground completely flooded, with tents and belongings destroyed…

Russian Orthodox leaders concerned about ’provocations’ (The Catholic Herald) Turmoil in the Orthodox world continues with interesting news from Moldova, where, it is reported, Patriarch Kirill is cutting short a planned visit, in case there are ‘provocations’…

Catholic youth in Arabia attend youth congress (Vatican News) As the Synod of Bishops on Young People draws to a close on Sunday, 1,500 Catholic young people living on the Arabian Peninsula are attending the Arab Catholic Youth Congress (ACYC) in Ras Al Khaimah, United Arab Emirates (UAE), from 25-27 October. They have responded to the invitation to ”Stand up, reignite your faith, hope and love and experience Jesus deeper”…

Exhibitions celebrate Syria before the war (The New York Times) A thousand miles southeast of what remains of Syria’s civil war, “Syria Matters,” a major exhibition at the Museum of Islamic Art here, is focused on the history and the soul of the country rather than the images of conflict that have been reflected in headlines and splashed across television screens for the past seven years…



Tags: Syria India Lebanon Refugee Camps

25 October 2018
Greg Kandra




Pope Francis greets Catholicos Karekin II, patriarch of the Armenian Apostolic Church, during a private audience on 24 October at the Vatican.
(photo: CNS/Vatican Media handout via Reuters)




Tags: Armenia

25 October 2018
Greg Kandra




Pope Francis greets an Iraqi auditor at the Synod of Bishops. Stories of anti-Christian persecution in Iraq and India, among other places, have stirred the participants at the Synod.
(photo: Vatican Media)


Stories of anti-Christian persecution stir the Synod (Crux) One topic above all stands out, which may be no surprise given that synods are always an education in the realities of the global Church: Anti-Christian persecution. The two most sustained ovations so far have been for an Iraqi youth and an Indian archbishop, both of whom recounted direct stories of suffering and persecution on account of the faith in the 21st century…

Scuffle at Church of the Holy Sepulchre sparks anger (AP) A scuffle between Israeli police and Coptic priests at a major Christian holy site in Jerusalem on Wednesday drew condemnation from Egypt and churches in the Holy Land. Police and Coptic priests wrangled outside a contested chapel at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem, where many Christians believe Jesus was crucified, buried and resurrected…

International Buddhist-Christian gathering for nuns pledges to foster understanding (Vatican News) The First International Buddhist-Christian Dialogue for Nuns that concluded last week in Taiwan pledged to foster mutual understanding and friendship among themselves in order to witness to others and bring hope and healing to those in need…

Ethiopia appoints first female president (The Washington Post) Ethiopia’s Parliament on Thursday approved the East African country’s first female president, Sahle-Work Zewde, a veteran of the United Nations and the diplomatic corps. The position of president is ceremonial in Ethiopia, with executive power vested in the office of the prime minister. But the appointment is deeply symbolic and follows up on last week’s cabinet reshuffle…

Pro-Hindu tribal people take over Indian church (UCANews.com) Pro-Hindu tribal people have removed a cross from a Protestant church and converted the building into their community hall in India’s Jharkhand state in a move that Christian leaders believe is linked to upcoming elections. Some 50 tribal people took down the cross from the Vishwa Vani (voice of the world) church in Khadnga village, 25 kilometers from state capital Ranchi, on 20 October. They also repainted the name as Sarna Bhavan — the house of those following the traditional tribal Sarna religion. They also held a purification ceremony and prayers at the church...



Tags: India Iraq Ethiopia Coptic Christians

24 October 2018
Greg Kandra




Children in a rural village greet Msgr. John Kozar on his August 2017 pastoral visit to India.
(photo: John E. Kozar)




Tags: India

24 October 2018
Greg Kandra




The video above shows the aftermath of recent U.S.-led attacks in Syria. A monitoring group says such attacks over the last four years have claimed the lives of more than 3,200 civilians. (video: RT/YouTube)

Report: U.S.-led forces have killed more than 3,200 Syrian civilians (PressTV.com) A so-called monitoring group says more than 3,200 civilians have lost their lives ever since the US-led coalition purportedly fighting the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group launched its aerial bombardment campaign in the conflict-plagued Arab country more than four years ago. The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said on Thursday that as many as 3,222 civilians have been killed in the air raids…

How Syrian refugees strain—and strengthen—Jordan (The Christian Science Monitor) The influx of 1.3 million Syrians since 2012, including 130,000 students, has put Jordan’s cash-strapped schools, hospitals, housing, roads, and water networks under tremendous stress. And international donor fatigue is leaving the kingdom to face these challenges alone. But despite cuts in services and increased competition for jobs, Jordanians have until now remained sympathetic to their neighbors’ plight, carrying the added burden with few complaints…

Jerusalem’s mayor makes rare visit to refugee camp (The Times of Israel) Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat visited the Shuafat refugee camp in East Jerusalem on Tuesday as part of his drive to push the United Nation’s Palestinian refugee organization out of the capital and replace its operations with municipal services. Barkat met with city sanitation workers who entered the Palestinian neighborhood for the first time ever to carry out trash removal and other cleaning services…

India refuses to ban firecrackers during religious holidays (UCANews.com) India’s Supreme Court has refused to impose a blanket ban on firecrackers but has restricted their use during festivities including Christmas and New Year. The top court on 23 October permitted the use of firecrackers with reduced emission and decibel levels during festivals when Indians usually burst them as an expression of joy…

Turkey helps draw visitors to ancient Ethiopian mosque (Daily Sabah) Located in the town of Wuqro, 790 kilometers (over 490 miles) north of Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa, Al-Nejashi is said to be the first mosque in Africa. It is named after Nejashi, the then Ethiopian king who hosted companions of the Prophet Muhammed (Peace Be Upon Him) who escaped persecution in Mecca…



Tags: Syria India Ethiopia Jordan

23 October 2018
Greg Kandra




Ukrainian Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk, major archbishop of Kiev-Halych, arrives for a session of the Synod of Bishops at the Vatican on 23 October. The archbishop says the recent split in the Orthodox Church will harm ecumenical dialogue. (photo: CNS/Paul Haring)

UN: 88 percent of Syrian refugees want to return home (The Daily Star) The head of the U.N. agency for refugees in Lebanon has said that 88 percent of Syrian refugees residing in Lebanon want to return to their homeland, the state-run National News Agency reported Sunday. The UNHCR official, Mireille Girard, suggested that the main reasons preventing Syrians from returning are practical, security concerns, and have nothing to do with the question of political settlement in Syria or the need to rebuild homes…

Jordan economy groans under weight of refugee crisis (The Irish Times) Jordan faces “a severe debt crisis due to low economic growth as a result of closed borders, reduced international assistance and low economic productivity”, states Dr Mary Kawar, Jordan’s minister of planning and international cooperation…

Moscow’s veto on Catholic/Orthodox dialogue may be slipping away (Crux) In a recent interview with Crux, Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk of Ukraine, head of the country’s Greek Catholic Church, said “this step by the Church of Constantinople has destroyed certain schemes of ecumenical dialogue that took hold during the time of the Cold War…”

Kerala to distribute crops, free seeds to flood-hit families (IANS)Two months after floods caused havoc in Kerala and flattened major standing crops, the state government has decided to distribute crop inputs, particularly seeds, as a part of the rehabilitation package for affected farmers…

Business hopes and refugee woes after Ethiopia-Eritrea peace deal (Al Jazeera) While the border reopening has seen business boom in border towns in both countries, the number of migrants and refugees from Eritrea to Ethiopia has grown, with many citing Eritrea’s struggling economy, continuing indefinite conscription and political repression…

Swim team braves polluted waters off Gaza (GulfNews.com) On one of the world’s most polluted coastlines, 30 young Palestinians dive head first into the sea off the Gaza Strip, their minds filled with dreams of Olympic glory. Aged between 11 and 16, they make up a rare swimming club in the Palestinian enclave, and perhaps its only mixed-sex one. Coach Amjad Tantish talks through a warm-up before they race from the trash-strewn beach into the sea as he continues to bark instructions…



Tags: Syria India Ethiopia Gaza Strip/West Bank Russian Orthodox Church

22 October 2018
Greg Kandra




The Trippadam Psychosocial Rehabilitation Center offers Indian women in need a safe, loving home. Read how CNEWA reaches out to them and so many others in the September 2018 edition of ONE. (photo: John E. Kozar)



Tags: India CNEWA

22 October 2018
Greg Kandra




Friends comfort the relative of a train victim following Friday's accident near Amritsar, India. (Vatican Media/ANSA)

Holy See reiterates Israel-Palestine two-state solution (Vatican News) The Holy See has reiterated its unwavering support for a fair, durable and early solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, through the resumption of negotiations aimed at reaching a Two-State solution, with Israel and a Palestinian State living side by side in peace and security within internationally-recognized borders. Archbishop Bernardito Auza, the Holy See’s Permanent Observer to the United Nations in New York made the call in an address on Thursday to a UN Security Council debate on the situation in the Middle East and the Palestinian question…

Indian bishops express shock and sorrow at train disaster (Vatican News) India’s Catholic bishops have expressed shock and sadness at a tragic train accident Friday night near Amritsar city in the northern Punjab state, that killed at least 60 and injured many others. A large crowd had gathered on the railway tracks to watch the celebrations of the popular Hindu festival of Dussehra, which involved the burning of a firecracker-filled effigy of demon king Ravana and a fireworks display…

Report: Russian Orthodox seeking Vatican support on split (Herald Malaysia) Pope Francis received Friday in the Vatican a Russian Orthodox delegation led by Metropolitan Hilarion, head of the Department for Foreign Affairs of the Moscow Patriarchate. The meeting was held behind closed doors, and the Vatican Press Office did not release any official information concerning the content of the meeting. According to the statements on the eve, the Russian metropolitan came to see the Pope in order to explain the decisions of the Synod of the Moscow Patriarchate, which during its meeting on Monday in Minsk decided to suspend Eucharistic communion with the Patriarchate of Constantinople after the latter re-admitted Ukrainian bishops excommunicated by Moscow…

Coalition air strike targets mosque in Syria used by ISIS (The National) An air strike by the US-led coalition fighting ISIS targeted a mosque in Syria last week because it was determined to be an insurgent “command-and-control center”, the US said on Sunday. It denied that it had targeted civilians in the deadly raid in eastern Syria. The coalition said that while the law of war protects mosques, the use of the building as a headquarters by ISIS caused it to lose that protected status. It said a dozen fighters were killed…

Is Ethiopia taking control of the Nile? (CNN) The Blue Nile River is the Nile’s largest tributary and supplies about 85 percent of the water entering Egypt. Ethiopia is building its $5 billion Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) on the Blue Nile, near the border with Sudan. When completed, it will be the largest dam in Africa, generating around 6,000 megawatts of electricity for both domestic use and export. Ethiopia’s ambitious project is designed to help lift its fast-growing population out of poverty. But the new dam also puts management of the flow of the Blue Nile in Ethiopia’s hands -- and that has sparked a power shift in the region…

Pope promotes Share the Journey global pilgrimage (Vatican News) Pope Francis gave a special greeting at the Angelus prayer on Sunday to Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle and participants in a global pilgrimage expressing solidarity with migrants and refugees. ”You’ve just completed a short pilgrimage within Rome,” the Pope said, “to express your desire to walk together and thus learn to know each other better…”



Tags: Syria India Ethiopia Russian Orthodox

18 October 2018
Greg Kandra




Ukraine's parliament on Thursday 18 October voted to hand over St. Andrew's Church in Kiev to the Ecumenical Patriarchate. (photo: Creative Commons/Wikipedia)

Syria says it will re-open borders with Iraq soon (The Independent) Syria will reopen its borders with Iraq ”soon”, the country’s representative to the United Nations has said. Earlier this week the government of Syria’s president, Bashar al-Assad, received a major boost as the country’s commercial gateway with Jordan and a crossing to the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights were reopened…

Ukraine votes to hand landmark Kiev church to Constantinople (AFP) Ukraine’s parliament on Thursday voted to hand over a landmark Kiev church to the Istanbul-based Ecumenical Patriarchate after it agreed to recognize the independence of Ukraine’s Orthodox Church. The move is seen as a step towards the Constantinople Patriarchate granting independence to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church despite protests from Russia. Ukraine’s parliament voted 237 votes to 30 to allow the Ecumenical Patriarchate to use Kiev’s landmark Saint Andrew’s Church “for worship, religious rites (and) ceremonies…”

Syrian refugees in Lebanon weigh risk of returning (The New Arab) The past few months have seen a growing number of refugees in Lebanon returning to Syria, leading Russian envoys to claim that government-controlled areas are now safe for returnees. In July the Syrian regime made its first formal appeal for the return of refugees, opening reception centers to monitor return: a move many interpreted as a bid to regain international legitimacy. However, according to UNHCR, conditions are not yet ready for the return of refugees to Syria, especially while the siege on rebel-held Idlib continues. Even in regions where armed clashes and bombing have reduced, imprisonment, forced conscription, and a lack of basic primary services make safe return for Syrians premature…

Young migrants bring vitality, need support, synod members say (CNS) Helping young migrants hold fast to their cultural and religious identity, especially in situations where they are a minority, was a recurring topic at the Synod of Bishops. Blessed Sacrament Father Robert Stark, director of the Office for Social Ministry for the Diocese of Honolulu and regional coordinator for the Vatican’s Migrant and Refugees Section, offered synod members very practical advice for assisting young people on the move…



Tags: Syria Ukraine Migrants Russian Orthodox





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