Current Issue
September, 2019
Volume 45, Number 3
6 June 2017
J.D. Conor Mauro

In this photograph taken on 26 December, an Indian worker labors on a loom in a textile factory near Surat, some 180 miles south of Ahmedabad. (photo: Sam Panthaky/AFP/Getty Images)

India doubles compensation for textile loom worker deaths (Vatican Radio) India has doubled the compensation for the death of power loom workers in its textile industry as part of a benefits scheme to weed out problems plaguing the labor-intensive sector. India is one of the largest fabric producers in the world and has traditionally been a cornerstone of the Indian economy in terms of foreign exchange earnings and employment. A single person, working 12 hours or more, often tends to six to nine looms inside cramped spaces, exposing them to loud noise and injuries from the shuttle that moves at a high speed across the loom…

Syriac Orthodox Patriarchate to start television network (Fides) The Syriac Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch, from its headquarters in Damascus, announced the future birth of its own television channel, designed to support the pastoral care of Syriac Christians through its programs. The channel will be called Suboro TV, from the Syriac word that indicates the Annunciation of the angel to Mary. Programming is scheduled for to begin on 25 March 2018 at the feast of the Annunciation, a Christian holiday celebrated in the Middle East — especially in Lebanon — and observed also by many Muslims…

U.S. coalition begins ‘long and difficult’ battle for Islamic State’s Raqqa stronghold (Washington Post) U.S.-backed forces have begun the “long and difficult” battle to capture the northern Syrian city of Raqqa, the Islamic State’s de facto capital, the U.S.-led coalition fighting the extremist group said Tuesday. Kurdish-led militants began laying the groundwork for the offensive in November, edging through the surrounding province and cutting supply lines into the city. But a showdown for the city itself will prove a major test for the coalition, with the potential for high civilian casualties…

Iraq: Lives of 100,000 children ‘on the line’ as fighting continues in west Mosul (U.N. News Center) Some 100,000 children remain in extremely dangerous conditions in western sections of Iraq’s Mosul as fighting between government and terrorist forces continues, the United Nations children’s agency today reported, warning that “children’s lives are on the line…”

Pan-Orthodox conference to discuss gender in the diaconate (St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Seminary) A Pan-Orthodox Conference — dedicated to examining diaconal ministry in the Orthodox Church — will include presentations on the present state of the diaconate; ways men and women are engaged in diaconal ministry today; opportunities to engage with both clergy and faithful on the rejuvenation of the male and female diaconate; and current challenges and future possibilities of the diaconate for the building up of the body of Christ…

Tags: India Iraq United Nations Orthodox Church Women (rights/issues)

5 June 2017
J.D. Conor Mauro

Christians pray during the Easter liturgy in the Church of St. Porphyrius in Gaza City, on 16 April. (photo: Mustafa Hassona/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

Sami El-Yousef, CNEWA’s regional director for Palestine and Israel, recently visited Gaza to provide a status update. His report is now available on our site.

One noteworthy detail concerned the state of institutional growth — especially among Christian initiatives:

On my field visits to partner institutions, we were overwhelmed with news of expansion projects which will undoubtedly translate into better public services for the population. For instance, construction started a few weeks ago on a new building at the Rosary Sisters School. The building will consist of a large indoor auditorium, more classroom space and science labs, expanding the school and student body to the Tawjihi (11th and 12th grade) level. N.E.C.C.’s [vocational training center] in Qarrarah will soon have a new program in the electrical department that trains electricians in installation and maintenance of photovoltaic solar panel systems as there is a greater demand for these systems in Gaza. Currently, this training program is the first and only specialized training program in this sector in the Gaza Strip. Another local partner, the Holy Family School, will construct an additional floor to expand and enhance its academic program. The Latin Patriarchate School is planning to offer a literary Tawjihi stream once the renovation of the school complex is complete. The Orthodox Cultural Center secured a grant to fully furnish and equip the first floor and complete construction of the second floor that will include conference halls and meeting rooms equipped with state-of the-art equipment. I also visited new institutions to explore other potential new projects (specifically Nawa for Culture and Arts Association through St. George Monastery in Deir Al Balah; and Qattan Foundation in Gaza City) which was encouraging given the number of children and youth activities at these institutions. Thus, the institutional presence in Gaza is flourishing despite the general conditions and misery of Gaza which is truly inspirational and unmatched anywhere I have visited in Palestine and Israel. Doing so much with so little is something we all need to learn from our brothers and sisters in Gaza.

Read the full report here.

5 June 2017
J.D. Conor Mauro

Women pray over the casket of Ukrainian Cardinal Lubomyr Husar during his 5 June funeral liturgy at the Patriarchal Cathedral of the Resurrection of Christ in Kiev. Cardinal Husar died 31 May at the age of 84. (photo: CNS/Valentyn Ogirenko, Reuters)

Tags: Ukraine Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church

5 June 2017
J.D. Conor Mauro

Iraqi Christians attend the Divine Liturgy in Erbil, the capital of the autonomous Kurdish region of northern Iraq, on 31 May. (photo: Safin Hamed/AFP/Getty Images)

ISIS victims face discrimination in Kurdistan (AINA) A new report explains how religious minorities in Northern Iraq — Yazidis, Christians, Shabak, and Turkmen — fled the ISIS onslaught in 2014 into Kurdistan. However, despite the freedom of religion of these minorities being “comparatively robust” in Kurdistan to other areas in the region, they still face discrimination, violence, and restrictions upon their movement there, the report alleges…

Dialogue with Muslims, defend human dignity, pope tells missionaries (CNS) Missionaries are entrusted with bringing hope to poor Christian communities while building bridges with Muslims and protecting human rights, Pope Francis told a group of men and women missionaries. Meeting with members of the Consolata Missionaries at the Vatican on 5 June, the pope also encouraged them to push the boundaries of their missionary activity, especially in “defending the dignity of women and family values…”

Pope sends second, personal note of condolence to Ukrainians (CNS) Saying he was moved by reports of tens of thousands of people gathering for a funeral procession for Ukrainian Cardinal Lubomyr Husar, who died on 31 May, Pope Francis sent a second message of condolence to the cardinal’s successor. Being grateful for Cardinal Husar’s “unique, religious and social presence in the history of Ukraine, I invite all of you to be faithful to his constant teaching and total abandonment to providence,” the pope wrote on 5 June, the day of the cardinal’s funeral in Kiev and two days after the massive procession in Lviv…

Divided by victory, Israelis still grapple with 1967 war (New York Times) The six days of the 1967 war were the most important in modern Israeli history. But after 50 years, Israel is still struggling with them. The accidental war and stunning victory also made Israelis occupiers. For with that land — the urban villages of East Jerusalem, the sprawling hills and metropolises of the West Bank, the concrete density of the Gaza Strip — came people: Palestinians now numbering more than 4.5 million. As the 50th anniversary of that war is marked in a series of events this week, Palestinians, of course, will mourn rather than celebrate what they call the “naksa,” or displacement. But even among Israeli Jews, the milestone does not seem a moment for national outpouring, despite the increasing power of the political right wing…

Syrians in Egypt demand clearer work regulations (Al Monitor) Syrians who fled their country and settled in Egypt have so far contributed to the Egyptian economy with more than $800 million, but they have yet to get their papers in order…

Ethiopian domestic worker commits suicide (Daily Star Lebanon) A domestic worker hung herself in the south Lebanon border town of Blida in Marjayoun, a security source told The Daily Star on Monday. The Ethiopian woman was found hung on the branch of a tree near her employers’ home with a small chair beside her. A coroner examined the body and declared the death a suicide. LBCI reported that she began working at the house three months ago…

Tags: Lebanon Iraqi Christians Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church Migrants Catholic-Muslim relations

2 June 2017
J.D. Conor Mauro

A child receives a checkup at a clinic run by the Near East Council of Churches in Shajaia, a neighborhood of Gaza City. Read more about Where Hope Is Kindled in the March 2017 edition of ONE. (photo: Tamara Abdul Hadi)

Tags: Gaza Strip/West Bank Children Middle East Health Care

2 June 2017
J.D. Conor Mauro

Pope Francis declares his prayer intention for the month of June: to end the arms trade. (video: Rome Reports)

Vatican’s ‘prayerful solidarity’ for Muslims during Ramadan ( The Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue has extended “prayerful solidarity” and greetings of “serenity, joy and abundant spiritual gifts” to Muslims for this Ramadan. Ramadan is the month of daily prayer and fasting broken only at night for a festive dinner (Iftar) and ends with the feast of Eid ul Fitr. This year the month began on 27 May and ends on 24 June…

Israelis join Palestinians in peaceful Hebron protest (Al Monitor) Long before the 1987 Palestinian intifada, the Arabic term sumud (meaning “steadfastness”) best reflected the form of resistance undertaken by Palestinians in the occupied territories. It reflected the important act of staying put on one’s land and refusing to budge no matter what. This is the term that Palestinians, Israelis and diaspora Jews recently applied to their unique act of nonviolent resistance in the largely abandoned village of Sarura, located south of Hebron. On 18 May, activists arrived in Sarura to support the villagers who have been harassed and intimidated to leave their homes by Jewish settlers and the Israeli army. In a span of 12 days, the Israeli army came to the camp and tried to break it up three times, without making any arrests. The Israeli army brought bulldozers and demolished all the established structures on 29 May. It seized all tents, mattresses and even a car…

ISIS militants battered Syria’s ancient Palmyra, but signs of splendor remain (Los Angeles Times) The once-resplendent Temple of Bel, dedicated to the principal deity of the ancient metropolis of Palmyra, has been reduced to a single sculpted arch rising gracefully from a jagged pile of tumbled columns and monumental stone blocks etched with grape vines and acanthus leaves. Also leveled are the Temple of Baalshamin, a Semitic god of the heavens, and the Arch of Triumph, an iconic assemblage whose image is stamped on Syria’s £10 coin. Still standing, however, are most of the stately colonnades lined up for nearly a mile along the main boulevard…

Following discrimination claims, Egypt’s Al Azhar enrolls Christian medical resident (Al Monitor) Al Azhar University is considered a beacon of centrist, moderate Islam in Egypt. But the university is still vulnerable to criticism and responds to any critiques with an eye on its public image. That may have been the case on 17 May, when the dean of Al Azhar’s Faculty of Dentistry in Assiut, Khalid Siddiq, accepted Abanoub Guirguis Naeem, a Christian student, for a residency training program — the first known case of a Christian student enrolling at the university…

Tags: Syria Egypt Pope Francis Palestine Ramadan

1 June 2017
J.D. Conor Mauro

Relatives of Copts killed during a bus attack attend their funeral service at Ava Samuel Monastery in Minya, Egypt, last Friday. (photo: Ibrahim Ezzat/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Coptic Christians describe bus attack in Egypt: ‘Even the little children were targets’ (Washington Post) The passengers on the bus heard a noise and thought a tire had exploded. One young man got up to see what had happened, and why there was so much smoke. But before he could open the door, a bullet smashed the glass and hit him in the head. Several gunmen dressed in military-style uniforms then sprayed the bus with gunfire. “In a second, they [the gunmen] got inside and shot at every living and moving object they could see,” said the driver, Boshra Kamel, 56, who was shot several times but survived by playing dead. “Even the little children were targets to them.” The passengers — a group of Coptic Christians — were on their way to a monastery in the Minya region, 150 miles south of Cairo, when the gunmen attacked last Friday, killing at least 30 people and wounding 26. It was the latest incident in rising violence targeting the country’s minority Christians, who make up 10 percent of the population…

ISIS fighters seal off Mosul mosque preparing for last stand (Daily Star Lebanon) ISIS militants have closed the streets around Mosul’s Grand al Nuri Mosque, residents said, apparently in preparation for a final showdown in the battle over their last major stronghold in Iraq…

Iraqis demand compensation from U.S. for bombing that killed more than 100 civilians (Christian Science Monitor) On 17 March, United States forces reportedly targeted two ISIS snipers in a single building, which set off a series of explosives in the house that killed many civilians. Iraqi officials, however, say that there were only civilians killed in the blast, and that there were no hidden munitions…

For Syrian refugees in Jordan, a path to financial independence (Christian Science Monitor) As part of a new initiative spearheaded by the World Food Program, the United Nations is giving educated Syrians and Jordanians training in business and IT skills, equipping and encouraging them to open their own start-ups in Jordan…

What I’ve seen in 30 years of reporting on the Israeli occupation (Haaretz) I began to write about the occupation almost by chance. Dedi Zucker, at that time a Knesset member, suggested that we go see a few olive trees that had been uprooted in the grove of an elderly Palestinian, who was living in the West Bank. That was the beginning, gradual and not planned, of exactly three decades of coverage of the crimes of the occupation. Most Israelis didn’t want to hear about it and still don’t want to hear about it. In the eyes of many citizens, the very act of covering this subject in the media is a transgression…

Protests break out after India bans cattle slaughter (Vatican Radio) Church leaders in India say the government’s ban on sale of cattle for slaughter across the country is a violation of human rights. The nationwide ban has alarmed minority groups and led to protests in several states. Beef is a cheap source of protein for Muslims and Christians who together form 20 percent of India’s population, as well as Adivasi and Dalit people…

Tags: India Iraq Egypt Israel Violence against Christians

4 May 2017
J.D. Conor Mauro

Indian Christians line up for a procession to celebrate the feast of St. Sebastian in Marayoor, in the state of Kerala. To learn about some of the efforts of the church to provide social support in Marayoor and other villages in the region, read Breaking the Cycle in the March 2017 edition of ONE. (photo: Don Duncan)

Tags: India Indian Christians

4 May 2017
J.D. Conor Mauro

Iraqi Yazidis gather to celebrate the Yazidi New Year — known as Chwarshaba Sor, or Red Wednesday — in Dohuk, Iraq, on 18 April 2017. (photo: Muhammet Bamerni/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

Yazidi genocide evidence mounting against ISIS: legal experts (Daily Star Lebanon) Legal experts said on Thursday there was growing evidence to prove atrocities by ISIS against Iraq’s Yazidi minority, including sexual slavery and mass killings, legally constitute genocide, which could help bring militants to justice if they ever go on trial…

Five years, billions of dollars needed to rebuild Mosul (AINA) Mosul’s wrecked roads, bridges and broader economy will take at least five years to repair and need billions of dollars of development that Iraq’s government will struggle to afford, officials returning to the battle-scarred city said…

Chaldean patriarch: In Egypt the pope has opened many doors (Fides) “With the speeches and gestures of his trip to Egypt, Pope Francis has opened many doors: with Islam, with political authorities, among Christians. We hope that now Muslims also take the opportunity, and take advantage of this support offered to them by the church,” said Chaldean Patriarch Louis Raphael I, who was also present in at the pope’s visit to Cairo. “I stayed in Egypt even the following days” he said, “and I was able to register the great impression left by the visit of the pope…”

Indian bishops focus on migrants as trafficked victims on May Day (Vatican Radio) India’s Catholic bishops have issued a message for 1 May, drawing attention especially to migrants who end up as victims of human trafficking. Migration and human trafficking “are interlinked since unorganized workers and uninformed people leave their home for work or are brought to work,” said Bishop Oswald Lewis of Jaipur, chairman of the Labor Office of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India. “May Day,” he noted, “reminds us of the events and endeavors that have contributed to worker solidarity, the dignity of work and prosperity, unity and harmony among workers achieved through sweat and toil…”

Pope’s prayer intention for May: Christians in Africa (Vatican Radio) Pope Francis’ prayer intention for May is dedicated to Christians in Africa: That Christians in Africa, in imitation of the Merciful Jesus, may give prophetic witness to reconciliation, justice, and peace…

Europe: 24,600 refugee children ‘in limbo’ at risk of mental distress, UNICEF warns (U.N. News Center) Nearly 75,000 refugees and migrants, including an estimated 24,600 children, currently stranded in Greece, Bulgaria, Hungary and the Western Balkans are at risk of psychosocial distress caused by living in a protracted state of limbo, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) warned today…

Tags: India Iraq Refugees Chaldean Patriarch Louis Raphael I Yazidi

3 May 2017
J.D. Conor Mauro

(photo: John E. Kozar)

An Ethiopian Orthodox priest visits the Cathedral of the Holy Savior in Adigrat, to join CNEWA’s Msgr. John Kozar and members of the local Catholic clergy for breakfast. Earlier today, we linked an article discussing Pope Francis’ efforts to promote ecumenism with the Oriental Orthodox churches, a body that includes the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church. Acts of Christian unity, whether as grand and elaborate as a summit of church heads or as simple as a breakfast, all serve to help fulfill Christ’s prayer “that all may be one.”

Tags: Ethiopia Ecumenism Ethiopian Orthodox Church Ethiopian Christianity Ethiopian Catholic Church

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