Current Issue
December, 2018
Volume 44, Number 4
4 January 2019
Greg Kandra

Elizabeth, from Aleppo, has her vital signs taken before a doctor visit. (photo: Tamara Abdul Hadi)

The December 2018 edition of ONE takes readers to A Refuge in Lebanon in the Beirut suburb of Bourj Hammoud, to meet some of the people at the Karagheusian Socio-Medical Center:

The center is helping those who have been uprooted to set their feet once more on firm ground — enabling them to find opportunities, rediscover community and rekindle hope.

The story of the Karagheusian Center begins after the death of 14-year-old Howard Karagheusian from pneumonia in New York City in 1918.

His Armenian American parents resolved to establish a humanitarian mission — the Howard Karagheusian Foundation — in their son’s memory, focusing at first on sheltering, feeding and educating orphaned children who had survived the Armenian Genocide. The organization has operated in Lebanon, Syria and Armenia ever since — now for more than 95 years.

A team of 40 doctors, plus a staff of 40, serves about 4,000 patients a month at the Bourj Hammoud clinic. Of those, 3,000 are Syrian refugees and 1,000 from the Lebanese host community. About two-thirds of the clinic’s current beneficiaries are Muslim. “The health center is available to everyone, because health is for all,” stresses Lebanon Field Director Serop Ohanian.

In Bourj Hammoud, the Syrian refugee population is still growing, notes Mr. Ohanian. They live in overcrowded conditions, typically with two or three families squeezed together in small, dismal apartments that rarely see the light of day. During Lebanon’s humid, cold and rainy winters, moisture hangs on concrete walls, frequently turning into mold, sparking respiratory conditions among residents.

“Their situation is catastrophic, and getting worse. We’re seeing more Syrian refugees entering into poverty,” Mr. Ohanian says.

Read more in the current edition of ONE.

Tags: Lebanon Refugees

4 January 2019
Greg Kandra

Cardinal Oswald Gracias of Mumbai, president of Catholic Bishops Conference of India, will preside over a meeting of the Latin-rite bishops in India next week. (photo: CNS/Anto Akkara)

India’s bishops to meet (Vatican News) India’s Latin-rite bishops are gathering in the holding their plenary assembly next week in the seaside town of Mahabalipuram in southern India’s Tamil Nadu state. The Conference of Catholic Bishops of India (CCBI) of the Latin-rite bishops, is holding its 31stplenary assembly at the Joe Animation Centre from 8-14 January on the theme, “Evangelii Gaudium”, or “The Joy of the Gospel”, the Apostolic Exhortation of Pope Francis that deals with the Church’s primary mission of evangelizations in the modern world…

Biggest cathedral in the Middle East to be dedicated (Egyptian Streets) According to local media outlets, the New Administrative Capital’s cathedral will finally be inaugurated in time for Coptic Christmas mass on Sunday. The opening of the cathedral, officially called the ‘Cathedral of the Birth of Christ’ and set to be the largest church in the Middle East, will be attended by Egyptian President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi and Pope Tawadros II…

British report criticizes Indian government for failing to protect religious minorities ( A British parliamentary report has criticized the Indian government for failing to protect religious minorities from violent Hindu hardliners. A report by the British All-Party Parliamentary Group for International Freedom of Religion or Belief said the rise of nationalist “Hindutva” ideology — which defines ‘Indian’ as exclusively Hindu — has led to an increase in religious oppression in the country…

‘Pope for Ukraine’ aims to help displaced families (CNA) ”Pope for Ukraine” is a Vatican initiative that aims to collaborate with non-Catholic entities to respond to the emergency humanitarian situation amid conflict in eastern Ukraine…

‘Walking in the Lord’s footsteps’ in Jerusalem (Reuters) It is three o’clock in the morning and Artak Tadevosyan is wafting incense through the corridors of Jerusalem’s Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the site where Christians believe Jesus Christ was crucified and buried. ”Walking in the Lord’s footsteps, really, you have feelings that cannot be explained,” said the 26-year-old Armenian Orthodox cleric. “We don’t see it as stone, all these are holy places for us…”

Tags: India Egypt Ukraine Coptic Christians

3 January 2019
Greg Kandra

Msgr. Kozar, accompanying a group of religious sisters, pays a visit to the Cremisan Valley in the West Bank in December 2017. (photo: John E. Kozar/CNEWA)

In the current edition of ONE, CNEWA’s president Msgr. John E. Kozar reflects on the meaning of “accompaniment” — and how we at CNEWA have made this central to our mission:

We often describe our ministry at CNEWA as one of “accompaniment” of the Eastern Catholic churches on behalf of the Holy Father and in the name of the church. It is important we understand the breadth of this description and thus appreciate in a fuller way the importance of our “good works.”

Webster’s Dictionary tells us that to “accompany” means to “go somewhere as a companion or an escort.” For CNEWA, walking with others can take many forms. We offer guidance and support, expertise and insight, and always with a spirit of encouragement and love.

Some might think that our accompaniment only means financial support. Of course, our material support — thanks to your generosity — is critically important. In many instances, CNEWA is not just the primary source of financial support, but the only external benefactor. This is the case with hundreds of individual program pieces and institutional components.

But our commitment to this journey with the church takes many other forms besides financial subsidies or programmatic distributions.

Sometimes we are called to assist the local church in determining the priorities for addressing pastoral and material needs. Again, we draw on our broader experience from CNEWA’s world and are able to give helpful insights to church leaders about real priorities.

We accompany them.

I think of a number of instances where religious congregations, sometimes cloistered and out of the public eye, have come to our regional office seeking some technical assistance, perhaps looking for help with an emergency plumbing problem, a leaking roof or an electric malfunction. CNEWA, of course, is not in the contracting business or home repair business, but since we are on the ground for so many years and have established relationships with many service providers, we are able to offer immediate comfort and security, helping them to secure reputable and honest contractors, engineers or craftsmen.

We accompany them.

You can read more and see more pictures at the link. And check out the video below, in which Msgr. Kozar talks about this subject in some depth.

As we embark on a new year and look toward the future, CNEWA will continue to accompany those in need however we can, wherever we can — ever mindful of the hope and possibility that are so vital to the Gospel and the work we do.


3 January 2019
Greg Kandra

In this image from 16 December, Metropolitan Epiphanius, newly elected head of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine, conducts a liturgy at St. Michael's Cathedral in Kiev, Ukraine. Official recognition of this new church is causing conflict and division within Orthodoxy.
(photo: CNS/Valentyn Ogirenko, Reuters)

Official recognition of Ukrainian church roils Orthodox world (RNS) In a few days, Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople Bartholomew, the foremost leader in the Eastern Christian church, is scheduled to recognize the newly founded Ukrainian Orthodox Church. Bartholomew plans to give the tomos, or the formal decree of autocephaly, to primate Metropolitan Epiphanius in an elaborate ceremony in Istanbul that coincides with one of the most important celebrations for Orthodoxy, the Epiphany. But not everyone in the Orthodox world will be celebrating with them…

Kerala paralyzed over protests (BBC) Violent protests have paralyzed the southern Indian state of Kerala after two women made history by entering a prominent Hindu temple. Schools across the state are closed and public transport too has been suspended. One person was killed in clashes on Wednesday. The Sabarimala temple was historically closed to women of “menstruating age” — defined as between 10 and 50. The Supreme Court revoked the ban in September, which prompted outrage…

Water crisis could make Gaza uninhabitable by 2020 (PBS) In the Gaza Strip, 97 percent of freshwater is unsuitable for human consumption, and raw sewage pours into the Mediterranean Sea. Facilities for desalinating and treating water function on only a limited basis, as Israel controls the flow of fuel and supplies into the region. But Israelis, too, could face consequences from contaminated water…

Israel’s new mayor plans to silence mosque loudspeakers (The National) Israel’s new mayor of Jerusalem is planning to push for the volume to be turned down on the city’s mosque loudspeakers during the call to prayer. Israeli television reports indicated that the move would be one of the first policy pushes by Moshe Lion after he won the municipal election in November, replacing hard-right mayor Nir Barkat…

Ethiopia pardons hundreds of prisoners amid Christmas celebrations (Xinhua Agency) The Ethiopian government on Wednesday announced amnesty to some 530 federal prisoners amid Ethiopia’s unique Christmas day celebrations. Prisoners were pardoned amid the unique Ethiopian Christmas, as the country prepares to mark the day on 7 January to remember the birth of Jesus Christ based on the traditions of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, state affiliated Fana Broadcasting Corporate reported on Wednesday…

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

2 January 2019
Greg Kandra

Pope Francis twirls a soccer ball presented by a member of CirCuba, the Cuban national circus, during his general audience in Paul VI hall at the Vatican on 2 January. (photo: CNS/Paul Haring)

Tags: Pope Francis

2 January 2019
Greg Kandra

Pope Francis kisses a figurine of the baby Jesus as he celebrates Mass marking the feast of Mary, Mother of God, in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican on 1 January.(photo: CNS/Paul Haring)

Pope prays for new year marked by tenderness, brotherhood, peace (CNS) A new year is a chance for a new start, a time to remember that all people are brothers and sisters and a time to nurture amazement that God became human to save all people, Pope Francis said. The 1 January feast of Mary, Mother of God, also is a time to remember how strong maternal love and care are, and how they are the secret to making life more livable, the pope said during his homily at a feast day Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica…

Indian cardinal spends Christmas with ’untouchables’ (Crux) Indian Cardinal Oswald Gracias, a leading voice for the rights of Dalit Christians, celebrated Christmas with the Dalit Community from the Cheetah Camp area of Trombay, Mumbai…

Mass grave of Ethiopian Christians killed by ISIS found in Libya (CNA) A mass grave of 34 Ethiopian Christians executed by the so-called Islamic State group in 2015 has reportedly been unearthed in Libya. The bodies have been exhumed and will be eventually repatriated to Ethiopia, the Libyan interior ministry says…

As Ukraine and Russia battle over Orthodoxy, schism looms (The New York Times) Ukraine is on the verge of opening the biggest schism in Christianity in centuries, as it breaks from the authority of a Moscow-based patriarch and this week expects to formally gain recognition for its own church, taking tens of millions of followers. Intensifying a millennium-old religious struggle freighted with 21st-century geopolitical baggage, Ukraine’s security services have in recent weeks interrogated priests loyal to Moscow, searched church properties and enraged their Russian rivals…

Cardinal Parolin visited Iraq for Christmas (Vatican News) From 24-28 December, the Vatican Secretary of State visited Iraq, viewed as a “very welcome visit” by the auxiliary bishop of Baghdad…

Syrian refugees in Lebanon fall deeper into debt (VOA) Syrian refugees in Lebanon are falling deeper into debt, with 2018 being the worst year yet, as more families marry off children to cope financially, according to a U.N. Report…

Top Vatican press officials resign (CNS) Saying they thought Pope Francis should be “completely free to assemble a new team” for Vatican communications “at this time of transition,” the director of the Vatican press office announced he and the vice director had resigned. Pope Francis accepted the resignations of Greg Burke and Paloma Garcia Ovejero, the press office announced on 31 December. The pope appointed Alessandro Gisotti, coordinator of social media at the Vatican Dicastery for Communication, to serve as interim director of the press office…

Tags: Syria India Pope Francis Ukraine Russian Orthodox Church

19 December 2018
Greg Kandra

Palestinian girls wear Santa hats on a class trip to Manger Square outside of the Church of Nativity in Bethlehem, West Bank, on 17 December. (photo: CNS/Debbie Hill)

Tags: Bethlehem

19 December 2018
Greg Kandra

Pope Francis has encouraged generous support for victims of the ongoing war in Ukraine. (video: Rome Reports/YouTube)

Russia warns Ukraine on threats of war (Newsweek) Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov warned on Tuesday that Ukraine is preparing a provocation against his country with the support of its Western allies. ”Kiev is preparing yet another provocation at our borders, with the help of its Western supporters. We would not start a war, but our response will be most convincing,” Lavrov said…

Pope encourages generosity, special collection to aid victims in Ukraine (Rome Reports) Pope Francis is one of the few international leaders who continues to remember that a war has been going on in Ukraine since 2014. That is why in April 2016 he asked for generosity to help the victims of one of the most forgotten conflicts in the world…

Indian Christians seek protection over Christmas ( Indian Home Minister Rajnath Singh has been asked to ensure police protection for Christians in the lead-up to Christmas amid fears of attacks by hard-line Hindu militants. The ecumenical Christian group Persecution Relief has sent a letter to Singh making the request and backing it up with a list of violent incidents during past Christmas periods…

Jerusalem’s neighbors are becoming more ultra-Orthodox (Haaretz) Research about the identity of home buyers in Jerusalem conducted by Dr. Eitan Regev, a research fellow at the Israel Democracy Institute, shows that the growth in the number of ultra-Orthodox Jews among home buyers in the capital has almost completely stopped, and the percentage of Haredim buying homes in Jerusalem is similar to their share of the overall population…

More Christians visiting Turkey on pilgrimage (Andalou Agency) An ancient city, home to a Christian church, in western Turkey has attracted thousands of Christians in 2018, according to a Turkish academic. Mehmet Ozhanli, an archeology professor at Isparta’s Suleyman Demirel University, said 15,000 Christians visited St. Paul Church in Pisidia Antiocheia ancient city in western Isparta province for pilgrimage this year…

Tags: India Ukraine Jerusalem Turkey

18 December 2018
Greg Kandra

A Palestinian woman walks by a mosaic of the Nativity in Bethlehem, West Bank, on 17 December. (photo: CNS/Debbie Hill)

Tags: Bethlehem

18 December 2018
Greg Kandra

in this image from January, Syrian refugees wait outside their shelters at Zaatari camp near Mafraq, Jordan. The pope joined the UN and Caritas today in observing World Day of Migrants and Refugees, and he urged communities to open their hearts to those arriving in their lands.
(photo: CNS/Muhammad Hamed, Reuters)

Pope, UN, Caritas mark World Day of Migrants and Refugees (Vatican News) As the world marked the United Nations International Migrants Day on Tuesday, Pope Francis urged host communities to open their hearts and homes to those arriving in their lands. “Jesus knows well the pain of not being welcomed. May our hearts not be closed as were the houses in Bethlehem,” wrote the Pope on his Twitter account @Pontifex

Pope: scapegoating migrants in political speeches is unacceptable (CNS) In today’s climate of mistrust, rejection and nationalism, the world urgently needs peacemakers and politicians who protect and lovingly serve others, Pope Francis said in his annual message for the World Day of Peace on 1 January. ”Terror exerted over those who are most vulnerable contributes to the exile of entire populations who seek a place of peace,” he said, and “political addresses that tend to blame every evil on migrants and to deprive the poor of hope are unacceptable…”

Ukrainian Catholic leader welcomes head of new independent Orthodox church (CNS) Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk, major archbishop of the Ukrainian Catholic Church, said “the future of our church, our people and of a free, independent Ukrainian state in Europe depends today on how we nurture unity and overcome what separates us…”

‘The Gaza blockade is strangling us’ (BBC) In Gaza, two million people are poised to slip deeper into poverty, and basic services are at risk of collapse, according to the UN. It is calling for $350 million from international donors, following a drop in US funding for Palestinians…

Catholic religious sisters raise hope among Kerala’s flood victims (NCR) Church volunteers cleaned about 250,000 houses and helped people return home from relief camps after the floodwaters receded. The Jesus Youth, a global Catholic charismatic youth movement with roots in Kerala, cleaned houses infested with insects, snakes and eels. Caritas India, the church’s aid agency, distributed 16,000 kits with food and sanitary items, each one costing 4,000 rupees ($55). The priest credits Catholic religious women for playing a crucial role of bringing hope to flood victims…

In Jerusalem, Santa rides a camel ( He has a certificate from Santa School in Denver, Colorado, but Issa Kassissieh doesn’t come down the chimney in America — he’s the resident Father Christmas in Jerusalem’s Old City and he’s traded the traditional reindeer sleigh for a camel…

Tags: Pope Francis Refugees Jerusalem Kerala

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