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September, 2019
Volume 45, Number 3
  
24 April 2015
J.D. Conor Mauro




Over a million people have been forced to flee their homes because of the war in Ukraine. Many of these internally displaced people struggle to find a new life. (video: New York Times)

A population uprooted by Ukraine’s war struggles to get by (New York Times) Valeria Huseva fled her home in Luhansk last July during heavy fighting between pro-Russian separatists and Ukrainian military forces. “I couldn’t stay in the city,” she said. “It was too dangerous for a baby.” Three months pregnant, Ms. Huseva, then 19, arrived alone in this industrial city outside of rebel-controlled territory and sought refuge at a coordination center for internally displaced people…

Ecumenical patriarch affirms solidarity with Iraqi Christians (AsiaNews) Chaldean Patriarch Louis Raphael I paid an official visit to Turkey a few days ago, meeting the faithful and visiting a number of Chaldean places of worship in Ottoman lands. A highlight of his trip included a meeting with Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I in Istanbul. The meeting took place last Wednesday, confirming the bond of closeness and solidarity between the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople and the Chaldean Church, which has endured violence and persecution at the hands of ISIS in Iraq…

Syriacs urge Turkey to recognize massacres (Al Monitor) The Ottoman policy of slaughter and deportations in 1915, associated mainly with its Armenian victims, was actually much broader in its scope. Along with more than a million Armenians killed, it also crushed the Syriac Christian community, which counts its dead in the hundreds of thousands. Syriacs remember it as the Seyfo (or “sword”) Massacre. On the 100th anniversary this year, the Syriacs are for the first time holding protests urging Turkey to recognize the Seyfo Massacre and to apologize…

Pope Francis meets with the president of the Czech Republic (Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Friday met with the President of the Czech Republic, Miloš Zeman. A statement released by the Holy See Press Office called the meeting “cordial,” and noted the meeting took place on the 25th anniversary of the restoration of diplomatic relations between the Holy See and the then-Czech and Slovak Federative Republic, which took place on 19 April 1990…

Rights group: Czechs segregating Roma children at schools (Al Jazeera) The Czech Republic has failed to comply with a European court order to stop placing Roma children in schools for the mentally disabled regardless of the students’ capabilities, rights group Amnesty International said Thursday. The European Court of Human Rights had ruled in 2007 that the Czech Republic must stop the practice. Roma people in Europe suffer from widespread discrimination not only in schools, but also in the labor and housing markets and from health care providers, according to a report by the European Commission published last year. The commission opened an investigation last year into whether the Czech Republic was breaching European Union anti-discrimination legislation…

Gaza women shed veil, spark conversation (Al Jazeera) Two weeks ago, journalist and film director Razan Madhoon took off her veil and posted her picture on Facebook, stirring a fierce backlash of comments against her and her husband. Madhoon’s decision came as a shock for the Gaza public, given the region’s rising religiosity. Women wearing the veil and frequenting mosques have become commonplace in the Gaza Strip. Though it may be widely believed that Gaza is a conservative society by nature, no one knows where this idea came from, as society was not as it is now in the 1960’s and 1970’s…



Tags: Iraq Ukraine Armenia Roma Czech Republic

23 April 2015
J.D. Conor Mauro




Displaced Iraqis from the city of Ramadi gather to collect food aid at a government building in the Abu Ghraib area west of the capital Baghdad, on 22 April. (photo: Ahmad Al Rubaye/AFP/Getty Images)

Chaldean Church and Caritas help displaced Iraqi Muslim families (AsiaNews) The Chaldean Patriarchate and Caritas in Iraq today delivered aid to at least 2,000 Muslim families that were displaced from Tikrit and Anbar following the latest offensive by the Islamic State group…

Residents return to Iraqi city of Ramadi as panic subsides (Washington Post) Thousands of police officers and residents who fled Ramadi after an Islamic State offensive last week have begun to return home after reinforcements were dispatched to shore up the center of the western city, Iraqi military officials said Wednesday…

Imams and priests preach together in schools in Minya (Fides) The collective mission of a large group of imam linked to Al Azhar — the biggest theological center of Sunni Islam — and Coptic priests begins today, who for a few days will visit schools in the Egyptian province of Minya to meet the students and promote a “culture of encounter” and peace…

Ethiopia’s Catholic bishops condemn execution of Christians (Vatican Radio) Ethiopia’s Catholic bishops condemned “in unambiguous terms” the execution of 30 Ethiopian Christian migrants in Libya. “These Ethiopian martyrs who were butchered on the coast and desert of Libya were not politicians, nor military soldiers, or they were not armed people, considered to be dangerous people for security, rather they were young innocent migrants hopeful for a better future on the other end of their destination; capable of transforming their lives, the lives of their family and even contribute for the betterment of the country of their destination,” the bishops said in a statement issued during their 18 to 23 April general meeting…

Social divide widens between West Bank, Gaza Strip (Al Monitor) Palestinians in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip live in two different, geographically separated areas. Moreover, since mid-2007 the political breakup has widened the geographical gulf and caused the two parts to drift further apart, and have even become governed by different rules and regulations. Israel separates the Gaza Strip from the West Bank and does not allow the movement of people between the two sides…



Tags: Iraq Egypt Ethiopia Palestine Christian-Muslim relations

22 April 2015
J.D. Conor Mauro




Armenians gather around a chasm in the mountain at a site called Dudan, near Diyarbakir, believed to be a mass grave of the Armenian Genocide, on 22 April. (photo: Ilyas Akengin/AFP/Getty Images)

After a century, Turks slowly take stock of Armenian Genocide (Der Spiegel) Officially, discussion of the Armenian genocide is taboo in Turkey, even 100 years after the crimes. But the issue is becoming harder for the country to suppress and many Turks are rediscovering their long-lost Armenian identities…

Maronite patriarch commemorates mass killings in Armenia (Daily Star Lebanon) “The centenary ceremony of the Armenian martyrs who were killed a hundred years ago is not just a liturgical ceremony, but a major event for the church and people of the East,” Maronite Patriarch Bechara Peter said at a dinner held by Lebanon’s Ambassador to Armenia Jean Maakaroun…

At least 42 dead in rebel-ISIS clashes near Damascus (Daily Star Lebanon) At least 42 fighters were killed in 24 hours of fierce fighting between Islamist rebels and ISIS in Syria’s Damascus province, an activist group said Wednesday. “At least 30 Islamist rebels and 12 fighters from ISIS were killed in fighting since Tuesday” in the hilly region of Qalamun, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said…

Holy See concerned about Israel-Palestine negotiations (Vatican Radio) The Holy See on Tuesday expressed its deep concern at the “total lack of progress” of the negotiations between Palestine and Israel. “As was recognized on that occasion, Israel has genuine and legitimate concerns for its security; however, such security will come not in isolation from its neighbors, but in being a part of them through a negotiated peace with the Palestinians through the implementation of the ‘two-state solution,’ which has the support of the Holy See and of the international community in general,” said Archbishop Bernardito Auza, the Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations…

Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue urges dialogue with Muslims (VIS) The following is the full text of a declaration published this morning by the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue: “The events of recent times cause many of us to ask: ‘Is there still space for dialogue with Muslims?’ The answer is: Yes, more than ever…”

A global surge in refugees leaves Europe struggling to cope (Washington Post) As Europe confronts a rapidly escalating migration crisis driven by war, persecution and poverty in an arc of strife from West Africa to Afghanistan, even high-level European officials are beginning to admit the obvious: The region’s refugee management system is broken. As a new crisis develops, the nations of Europe appear overwhelmed, belatedly scrambling to plug the gaping holes in their asylum system and contain what has become a full-blown humanitarian emergency…



Tags: Refugees Middle East Turkey Armenia Dialogue

17 April 2015
J.D. Conor Mauro




Young residents sit down for a meal at the Mother Mary Home for Girls, an orphanage run by Syro-Malabar Catholic Missionary Sisters of Mary Immaculate in Kerala. (photo: Sean Sprague)

The Economic Times recently reported that fewer and fewer women in Kerala are choosing to become religious sisters:

Shrinking family sizes and expanding career opportunities for women are posing a problem for the church. In Kerala … fewer women are now taking vows to renounce worldly pursuits and devote themselves fully to religious life. … Social activists say greater empowerment and the fact that churches are still male bastions are also making women look away from the cloistered life of convents. One of the problems this could pose to the church is in the running of institutions such as hospitals, schools and charity organizations that are managed by priests and nuns. …

In Kerala, “there is a 70-75 percent drop in the number of women who were joining convents to be nuns,” says Sebastian Adayanthrath, the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church’s auxiliary bishop for Ernakulum-Angamaly.

The peak was in the mid-1960’s, when there were as many as two dozen newly admitted nuns every year in each province. It lasted for about a decade, and then, started to decline to about 20 by 1985 and 10 in the past decade, he says. …

Interestingly, there is no decline in the number of men who come forward to become priests. Church spokesmen say this may be because the priest’s job is more visible. He has a social standing because of the functions that he has to do, they said.

Apart from Kerala, the states that have historically sent large number of women to become nuns are Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh.

Though Kerala still sends more women than any other state to convents, the northern states are catching up.

In early 2010, we shined a spotlight on Kerala’s decline in vocations:

In this fast-changing southeastern Indian state, literacy is nearly universal; education reigns king. Not long ago, conversation among villagers centered on crop rotation and seasonal rains. Today, rural and urban Keralites are preoccupied by which colleges their children will attend and which professions offer lucrative careers. No longer confined to rearing children and managing the household, women set their sights on horizons filled with diverse possibilities. …

This shift in the social landscape has impacted the Syro-Malabar and Syro-Malankara Catholic churches, especially their ability to recruit men and women to serve as priests and religious, respectively. Observers sense an imminent decline in the ranks of vocations among these churches, which are centered in the state.

They point out that today’s candidates no longer come from wealthy or upper middle-class backgrounds, nor do they represent the highest performing students. Many lack the emotional maturity of their predecessors. …

For the first time in centuries, Kerala’s Syro-Malabar and Syro-Malankara churches are thinking twice about the recruitment and formation processes of their priests and religious as the culture around them changes.

Read more about Keeping Up With the Times in India, in the January 2010 issue of ONE.



Tags: India Sisters Kerala Catholic Vocations (religious)

17 April 2015
J.D. Conor Mauro




A Syrian child eats a piece of bread at the Idlib’s Free Syrian Army-controlled Atmeh refugee camp. (photo: Cem Genco/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

U.N. calls on Western nations to shelter Syrian refugees (New York Times) With Syria’s neighbors increasingly shutting their borders to refugees and thousands trying to cross the Mediterranean Sea in search of safety, the war in Syria is creating the worst global refugee crisis in decades, putting new pressure on the United States and other Western countries to open their doors — and in turn, prompting domestic political backlash…

U.N. agency seeks unhindered access to Yarmouk camp (U.N. News Center) While ramping up assistance to Palestinian refugees and Syrian civilians that have fled a besieged camp on the southern edge of Damascus, the United Nations agency tasked with aiding Palestinians throughout the region said today that it is still seeking unhindered access to Yarmouk camp itself, where thousands remain trapped by fighting among armed groups…

Aleppo’s rebels brace for ISIS assault (Al Monitor) Syria’s rebels are currently building up their troops in the northern countryside of Aleppo, as there have been talks about a possible imminent attack by ISIS. On 7 April, the group carried out two suicide attacks targeting two locations of the Sham Front — a unification of former forces including the Jaish al Mujahideen and the Islamic Front among others — in northern Aleppo…

Car bomb explodes outside U.S. consulate in Iraq (NBC News) A car bomb exploded on Friday outside the U.S. Consulate in the Iraqi city of Erbil, a State Department official told NBC News. There were no immediate reports of injuries to consulate personnel or local guards, the State Department official said. A Kurdish media outlet reported that three people were killed and five injured…

Migrants thrown overboard, Italy police say (Al Jazeera) A dozen African migrants have died after being thrown overboard by fellow passengers, Italian police say, and another 41 boat migrants are feared to have drowned in a separate incident…

Egypt strikes Islamic texts from schools, angering Salafists (Al Monitor) The decision of Egypt’s Ministry of Education to remove some content from primary and secondary school curricula has sparked wide controversy in the country. While the state views the decision — which will omit some religious texts and passages on historical Islamic figures — as a way to counter radical ideologies and fight extremism, the Salafist movements have deemed it a war on Islam…

Death toll of Ukraine fighting now above 6,100 (Daily Star Lebanon) The United Nations says the number of people killed in a year of fighting in Ukraine has now passed 6,100, and says it’s increasingly worried that breaches in a cease-fire will further worsen the human rights situation in parts of the country’s east…



Tags: Syria Egypt Ukraine Refugees Migrants

16 April 2015
J.D. Conor Mauro




At the Mar Shemmon Bar Sabbae Chaldean Catholic Church in Tbilisi, 18-year-old Keti works to master the ancient art of cloisonné enamel (or minankari in Georgian). To learn about the revival of this age-old technique, and how it is improving the lives of Georgian youth, read Crafting a Future from the Winter 2014 issue of ONE. (photo: Molly Corso)



Tags: Education Cultural Identity Georgia Art Youth

16 April 2015
J.D. Conor Mauro




In Antelias, Lebanon, on 7 April, workers set up a flame burner outside a chapel honoring the memory of Armenian victims of the Ottoman government. (photo: Joseph Eid/AFP/Getty Images)

Turkey’s Century of Denial About an Armenian Genocide (New York Times) A hundred years ago, amid the upheaval of World War I, countless villages across eastern Anatolia became killing fields as the desperate leadership of the Ottoman Empire, having lost the Balkans and facing the prospect of losing its Arab territories as well, saw a threat closer to home. Worried that the Christian Armenian population was planning to align with Russia, a primary enemy of the Ottoman Turks, officials embarked on what historians have called the first genocide of the 20th century: Nearly 1.5 million Armenians were killed, others in forced marches to the Syrian desert that left them starved to death. The genocide was the greatest atrocity of the Great War. It also remains that conflict’s most bitterly contested legacy, having been met by the Turkish authorities with 100 years of silence and denial. For surviving Armenians and their descendants, the genocide became a central marker of their identity, the psychic wounds passed through generations…

Coptic pope to commemorate centenary of the Armenian Genocide (Fides) Coptic Orthodox Pope Tawadros II will travel to Yerevan on 20 April to take part in the most significant events planned to commemorate the centenary of the Armenian Genocide…

ISIS’s ‘war crimes’ against Yazidi women documented (Washington Post) Yazidi women, released by ISIS group militants, hug as they arrive in Kirkuk, 180 miles north of Baghdad on 8 April. ISIS released more than 200 Yazidis on Wednesday after holding them for eight months, an Iraqi Kurdish security official said, the latest mass release of captives by the extremists…

‘Lost generation’ of 15 million children out of school in Middle East (Al Jazeera) Nearly 1 in 4 children in the Middle East and North Africa is either out of school or at risk of dropping out, the United Nations said Wednesday in a report highlighting the disruptive impact of war on a region where education rates had been steadily improving for years…

St. Petersburg Smolny Cathedral restored to Russian Orthodox Church (AsiaNews) Smolny Cathedral in St. Petersburg, one of the symbols of the city of the Tsars and now owned by the state, will be returned to the Russian Orthodox Church. This was announced on 14 April by Nikolai Burov, director of the museum of the four cathedrals which also includes that of Smolny…

As ISIS pushes on Iraq’s Ramadi, 2000 families flee (Daily Star Lebanon) Clashes between Iraqi forces and ISIS militants pressing their offensive for Ramadi, the capital of western Anbar province, has forced more than 2,000 families to flee from their homes in the area, an Iraqi official said Thursday…



Tags: Lebanon Children Middle East Armenia Russia

15 April 2015
J.D. Conor Mauro




Girls tend to plants at San Joe Puram in the Faridabad district of the northern Indian state of Haryana. To learn more about the important work of this Syro-Malabar Catholic Church institution, read A Place of Promise — and Providence in the Winter edition of ONE. (photo: John Mathew)



Tags: India Children Education Syro-Malabar Catholic Church Disabilities

15 April 2015
J.D. Conor Mauro




A woman receives food in the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk on 9 April. The year-long conflict in east Ukraine has affected people’s everyday life in many ways including their economic and social life. (photo: Sefa Karacan/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

In rebel territory of Ukraine, relief for illness and pain is blocked (New York Times) In a cramped cardiologist’s office in southeast Ukraine, Tatyana Ivanovna, 76, begged for sedatives. Andrey Polyakov, her doctor, took time to listen, though he knew there was nothing he could do. In the past half-hour, he had turned down requests for antibiotics, hypertension pills and several other routine medicines that have all but disappeared from this separatist-held part of Ukraine. Even before the war, it was tough here in the Donetsk coal basin to navigate the aches and pains of old age on a meager pension. Now, it is a battle for survival, and looking grimmer by the day as fighting intensifies despite a shaky cease-fire…

Hope dwindling for Ukraine’s displaced (Al Jazeera) The otherworldly chant of the monks rose from the onion-domed chapel and seemed to emanate from the very cliffs themselves, drifting through the narrow apertures of the complex of caves that Orthodox monks had dug by hand here at the Sviatohirsk Monastery some 500 years ago to escape the temptations — and horrors — of the world. This peaceful scene stood in sharp contrast to the horrors the miner witnessed just two months ago. As mortars, shells and rockets screamed through the air early this February, Gontsov, his wife and his sons hid in their cellar in Chornukhinye, a tiny village on the front line of fighting between Ukrainian and pro-Russian rebel forces in Debaltseve, a strategic rail hub town just a short walk down the road from their house…

More migrant deaths: J.R.S. calls on E.U. to take action (Vatican Radio) 400 migrants are feared dead after a boat capsized off Libya on Sunday. Hundreds of thousands of people have made the perilous crossing in recent years, fleeing conflict, persecution and poverty. Echoing the Jesuit Refugee Service that has repeatedly called on E.U. leaders to put into action new policies, the U.N. refugee agency and other aid organizations say not enough is being done to save the lives of the rising number of refugees and migrants trying to cross the Mediterranean to Europe…

Churches call for an end to violence in Aleppo (Vatican Radio) The Council of Christian Confessions in Aleppo have released a statement calling for an end to the international arms dealing in Syria which has caused immeasurable damage and loss of life to civilians…

ISIS withdraws from Yarmouk camp, Nusra remains (Daily Star Lebanon) ISIS fighters have largely withdrawn from a Palestinian refugee camp on the outskirts of Damascus after expelling their main rival, several residents and a Palestinian official said Wednesday. This exit leaves the Al Qaeda-linked Al Nusra Front as the main group inside the camp…

Fierce clashes in Iraq as ISIS seizes villages near Ramadi (Daily Star Lebanon) ISIS launched an offensive in Iraq’s western Anbar province Wednesday, capturing three villages near the provincial capital of Ramadi and forcing villagers to flee from their homes as fierce clashes were underway between the extremists and government troops, residents said…



Tags: Syria Iraq Ukraine Refugees Migrants

14 April 2015
J.D. Conor Mauro




Marseille, 13 years old and autistic, has made friends and grown more comfortable socializing since coming to school at the Good Samaritan Orphanage. It is not uncommon in Egypt for children with special needs to be hidden at home out of fear that the community will stigmatize the family. To learn more about the work of this institution, read Egypt’s Good Samaritans, in the Winter 2014 issue of ONE. (photo: Amal Morcos)



Tags: Egypt Children ONE magazine Orphans/Orphanages





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