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September, 2019
Volume 45, Number 3
  
3 June 2013
J.D. Conor Mauro




In this video, Al Jazeera’s Hashem Ahelbarra reports on the state of civilians trapped in the Syrian city of Qusayr. International aid organisations have stepped up calls for civilians to be evacuated, as rebel fighters faced a fresh assault from government forces. (video: Al Jazeera)

As battle for Qusayr enters third week, civilians remain trapped (Daily Star Lebanon) The battle for Qusayr entered its third week Monday, as wounded civilians remain trapped in the besieged town, the regime having vowed not to let the Red Cross enter until fighting is over. The regime, backed by Hezbollah, is trying to win back the border town from the rebels, as it both provides a vital lifeline for the opposition to secure weapons and supplies, and secures a link between Damascus and the coastal Alawite heartland. Reports say the wounded are being treated in private homes after the town’s main hospital was destroyed during fighting…

Pope calls for release of kidnapped in Syria (VIS) After praying the Angelus, the pope expressed his great concern regarding the continuation of the conflict that, “for more than two years now has inflamed Syria, especially affecting the civilian population that aspires to peace in justice and understanding.” He added: “This troubled situation of war bears with it tragic consequences: death, destruction, massive economic and environmental damage, as well as the scourge of kidnapping. In denouncing these events I wish to assure my prayers of solidarity for those who have been kidnapped and their families and I appeal to the humanity of the kidnappers for the release of the victims…”

For nuncio in Damascus, abductions are a silent scourge (AsiaNews) Echoing the pope’s 2 June remarks, Apostolic Nuncio in Damascus Archbishop Mario Zenari said: “I wish to assure my prayers and my solidarity for those who are being held in captivity and for their families, and I appeal to the humanity of the kidnappers to free their victims. Let us pray for our beloved Syria…”

Melkite Archbishop of Aleppo: ‘United with the Pope we call for dialogue’ (Fides) “We see only chaos and destruction in a conflict that is against everything and everyone. In a country disfigured, with the civilian population led to the slaughter, Pope Francis’ appeal calls for dialogue and reconciliation,” said Melkite Greek Catholic Metropolitan Jean-Clément Jeanbart of Aleppo…

Jerusalem: Dormition Abbey vandalized (ICN) The Dormition Abbey, one of the major sites for Christian pilgrims to the Holy Land, was vandalized on Friday. Graffiti and anti-Christian insults in Hebrew were sprayed on a wall. Two cars were also smeared with offensive words and all tires were slashed. The Abbey is located on Mount Zion in Jerusalem and cared for by German Benedictine monks. This incident is the latest in a succession of desecration of Christian monasteries in September and October last year…



Tags: Pope Francis Jerusalem Syrian Civil War Violence against Christians Aleppo

31 May 2013
J.D. Conor Mauro




Pope Francis accepts a gift from Vuk Jeremic, president of the 67th session of the U.N. General Assembly, during a private audience in the Apostolic Palace at the Vatican on 31 May. The gift was an icon of St. Sava. (photo: CNS/Paul Haring, pool)

Pope and U.N. assembly president discuss Middle East, human trafficking (AsiaNews) The Middle East and human trafficking were the central theme during discussions this morning between Pope Francis and United Nations General Assembly President Vuk Jeremic. Jeremic also met with Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone in the Apostolic Palace. “In [the context of the Middle East] the importance of reconciliation between the various communities that make up society and respect for the rights of ethnic and religious minorities was recognized,” read a statement from the Vatican…

Iraq sees deadliest month in five years (Christian Science Monitor) More than 500 people were killed in Iraq in May, about 120 of them since 27 May alone, making it the deadliest month since June 2008, according to the United Nations. The uptick in violence has put increased pressure on the government to prove its ability to keep sectarian tensions under control and prevent the country from spiraling into a renewed civil war…

In Jordan, informal militias form to guard against potential Syrian attacks (Washington Post) For weeks, ragtag forces have spent evenings patrolling the mountainous frontier region and monitoring what Jordanian officials and Syrian opposition activists say is a Syrian military escalation in the south. Residents here fear it may be a prelude to a potential invasion…

Indian sisters say Mary is a refuge for the poor of all castes and creeds (AsiaNews) Sister Gemma, prioress of the Carmelite monastery in Mumbai, underlines the importance of the feast of the Visitation for the poor and for people who suffer. Conceived by Pope Benedict XVI and issued by Pope Francis, the Worldwide Eucharistic Adoration on 2 June is a great example of God’s love. “This event,” Sister Gemma explained, “has no precedent in history, and fulfils Isaiah’s prophecy: ’I am coming to gather all nations and tongues; they shall come and see my glory’ (66:18). … Although we nuns remain within the walls of [the cloister], we are in the world through our prayers and charity work,” the nun added…

Cardinal Sandri attends inauguration of University of Madaba in Jordan (Vatican Radio) The prefect of the Congregation for the Eastern Churches, Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, attended the official inauguration of the University of Madaba in Jordan, belonging to the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem. Among those attending were King Abdullah II of Jordan and other dignitaries. In his address at the inauguration, Cardinal Sandri said this new university becomes a powerful agent of interreligious dialogue and urged students and teachers to respect the religious sensibilities of each other and help heal historical wounds. A full transcription of the cardinal’s address is included…



Tags: Iraq Pope Francis Jordan Sisters United Nations

30 May 2013
J.D. Conor Mauro




A boy walks on the rubble of buildings damaged by missiles fired by Syrian air force fighter jets in Salqin, Syria, 28 May. The Vatican has reiterated its call for negotiations and putting an end to violence in Syria, saying that children are suffering the most. (photo: CNS/Muzaffar Salman, Reuters)

Vatican: Children suffer most from Syrian violence (CNS) The Vatican has reiterated its call for negotiations to end the violence in Syria, saying that children are suffering the most. “Silencing the guns is the priority,” Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, the Vatican’s permanent observer to U.S. agencies in Geneva, told the Human Rights Council during a 29 May debate on Syria. Calling the violence in Syria “the terrain of the violation of all human rights,” Archbishop Tomasi said the tragedy risks intensifying regional and global conflicts…

W.C.C. issues statement on Middle East Christians (Ekklesia.co.uk) A World Council of Churches conference has issued a joint statement calling the churches and ecumenical actors to commit themselves to support one another in prayers and actions to support Christian presence and witness in the Middle East. The statement was an outcome of discussions engaging more than a hundred church leaders and representatives of the ecumenical organizations in the Arab world…

Chaldeans embark on journey back to Turkey (Hurriyet Daily News) The European Chaldean community has begun to act on the call of Turkey’s Culture Minister Ömer Çelik to return to Turkey. After a series of negotiations conducted in France and Belgium, it was determined that 27 families would return to Herbole village in southeastern Turkey as part of the first stage of the return process. If the required social and economic conditions are met, the number returning will increase…

Patriarch Kirill to visit Mount Athos (Interfax-Religion) Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia will visit Greece and Mount Athos from 1-7 June. During his trip, the Patriarch will visit churches and monasteries of the Greek Orthodox Church and meet with its head, representatives of the Greek authorities and ethnic Russians living in Greece, as well as will travel to Thessaloniki and Veria, a spokesman for the Synodal Information Department said on Wednesday…

Young Egyptians rekindle revolution with recall petition (AsiaNews) A new movement of young Egyptians have allegedly collected over 7.5 million signatures to demand an end to the government of Mohamed Morsi and the domination of the Muslim Brotherhood over Egypt. The campaign began on 1 May with the aim of 15 million signatures by 30 June, which marks the first anniversary since Egypt’s first Islamist president took office…

Israel to build 1000 new settlement units in east Jerusalem (Al Jazeera) Israel is preparing to build more than 1,000 new settler homes in east Jerusalem as the United States strives to revive dormant Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, according to an non-governmental organization. Danny Seidemann, director of Jerusalem settlement watchdog Terrestrial Jerusalem, said on Wednesday that contracts for 300 homes in the northeastern settlement of Ramot were signed and another 797 plots were to be offered for sale in the southern Jerusalem settlement of Gilo, near the city of Jerusalem. Both are in largely Arab areas of the holy city…



Tags: Egypt Middle East Christians Jerusalem Syrian Civil War Patriarch Kirill

29 May 2013
J.D. Conor Mauro




Bishop José Raúl Vera López of Saltillo, Mexico, poses outside the diocesan seminary, where he celebrated the 25th anniversary of becoming a bishop on 5 January. Bishop Vera López, a nominee for last year’s Nobel Peace Prize, will be visiting Syria in June. (photo: CNS/David Agren)

Bishop Vera López prepares for humanitarian mission (Fides) Bishop José Raúl Vera López, O.P., of Saltillo, Mexico, will be part of a delegation of 12 observers who will try to enter Syria to collect data and information on the atrocities and human rights violations taking place in the war-torn country. The Dominican bishop was nominated for the Nobel Prize in 2012 for his commitment to the defense of human rights…

Maronite Bishops condemn joining Syria violence (Daily Star Lebanon) On Monday, the Council of Maronite Bishops condemned direct participation in Syrian violence and voiced concern over clashes in the northern city of Tripoli and the southern city of Sidon. “The bishops condemn the direct participation in the Syrian clashes, from whatever side, and consider what is happening as a clear violation of the National Pact and Baabda Declaration,” said the bishops in a statement issued following their monthly meeting. The council, headed by Maronite Patriarch Bechara Peter, also renewed their condemnation to the kidnapping of two bishops in Syria last month and called for their imminent release…

E.U. split over Syria, growing Islamist movements (AsiaNews) The recent session of the European Parliament on the renewal of the arms ban to Syrian rebels has revealed serious divisions within the European Union. According to E.U. sources, as of late April more than 500 European nationals had joined Islamist groups in Syria. In February, they were only a few dozen. France and Britain have said that they are ready to provide military support to the rebels, but are faced with the opposition of other European Union countries. In response to possible British and French support to the rebels, Russia yesterday announced it was sending new anti-aircraft missiles to the regime of Bashar al Assad…

King Abdullah II and Cardinal Sandri to attend university inauguration (Fides) The official opening of the American University of Madaba, affiliated with the University of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem is scheduled for Thursday afternoon, 30 May. King Abdullah II of Jordan, Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem Fouad Twal and Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, prefect of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches, will take part in the inauguration. “Years ago, the early phases of the first school of the Latin Patriarchate … started, in what appeared as a closed and marginal world. Today, that same mission has lead to the creation of a University with high standards … at the service of the people of Jordan, Christians and Muslims together”…

Egypt’s youths feel disenfranchised after revolution (Los Angeles Times) Egypt’s 2011 uprising was often referred to as a youth revolution, but two years after longtime President Hosni Mubarak was forced out of office, many in the younger generation say they feel more politically isolated than ever. Young activists across the political spectrum say they have been sidelined, prevented from participating in the leadership and management of post-Mubarak Egypt by a patriarchal culture that favors the older and supposedly more experienced…

Eritrean refugees protest against the regime in Asmara (Fides) Nearly 3000 Eritrean refugees have started a protest in the camp of Berahle in the Afar region of Ethiopia, a few miles from the border with Eritrea. The protesters aim to draw the attention of the international community on what they call “the genocide committed by the government in Asmara against the minority Afar”…



Tags: Egypt Ethiopia Syrian Civil War Maronite Cardinal Leonardo Sandri

28 May 2013
J.D. Conor Mauro




A Coptic woman prepares a meal in her kitchen in the southern village of Qenna, Egypt. As with many villages in the rural parts of the country, the majority of Qenna is Christian. Sarah Topol discusses the precarious state of Christians in Egypt in The Men Who Stayed, featured in the
latest issue of ONE. (photo: David Degner)




Tags: Egypt ONE magazine Coptic Christians Copts Egypt's Christians

28 May 2013
J.D. Conor Mauro




In this video, Al Jazeera’s Zeina Khodr reports on the growing concerns that Lebanon will be drawn further into the Syrian conflict. Fighting is intensifying around the Syrian border town of Al Qusayr, about 20 miles southwest of Homs, and Syrian rebels say fighters from the Lebanese Shiite group, Hezbollah, are involved. (video: Al Jazeera)

End of embargo raises fears of arms race in Syria (Vatican Radio) Russia confirmed today it was looking into giving the Syrian government more high-powered missiles. The move comes one day after the European Union agreed to lift its arms embargo for Syrian rebels, raising the prospect of a new foreign-fed arms race in the Middle East…

Patriarch: ‘The future of Syria cannot be built on destruction’ (AsiaNews) “The future of Syria cannot be built on destruction. There are no winners with war. The church is for reconciliation and dialogue. We encourage prayer for the success of the conference on 10 June in Geneva so that all parties, government and opposition, can travel the road to peace.” Melkite Greek Catholic Patriarch Gregory III of Antioch all the East said to AsiaNews. The patriarch’s appeal comes after the failed agreement between the European Union countries on the renewal of the ban on the supply of arms to the rebels, which expired last night. This has prompted Britain and France to renew pressure for military support to the rebels…

The role of media for the church’s mission in Serbia (Vatican Radio) The role of the media in the mission of the church is under the spotlight this week during a visit to Serbia by the president of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, Archbishop Claudio Celli. The two-day visit to Belgrade includes a meeting with the Serbian Orthodox Patriarch Irinej and with leaders of the Serbian Ministry for Culture and Communications, as well as encounters with journalists and Catholic communications experts…

Orthodoxy in Russia and the courage of women (L’Osservatore Romano) It was thanks to women that, in the Soviet era, the faith was kept in Russia: “They saved its continuity until the time when professing faith in Christ no longer brought with it great risk. It was the myrrhbearing women of our country who maintained the faith.” Patriarch Kirill said this during the Divine Liturgy celebrated on 19 May (the Third Sunday of Easter, according to the Julian Calendar, and the feast of the Holy Myrrh-bearing Women) in the Cathedral of St. Aleksandr Nevskij from the monastery of Novo-Tikhvin, at Ekaterinburg…



Tags: Syrian Civil War Women Patriarch Kirill Melkite Patriarch Gregory III of Antioch Serbian Orthodox Church

24 May 2013
J.D. Conor Mauro




An Iraqi Dominican sister of St. Catherine of Siena administers a checkup to a pregnant, 18-year-old Palestinian refugee at the Mother of Mercy Clinic in Zerqa, Jordan. (photo: Nader Daoud)

In the midst of war, economic crisis and social upheaval, those who call the Middle East home face danger and uncertainty on a daily basis. Against the tumult that touches every aspect of life, knowing that those most vulnerable are receiving the care they need can be a blessing. Enter the Mother of Mercy Clinic in Zerqa, Jordan:

Established in 1982, Mother of Mercy Clinic offers a wide range of general heath care services to thousands of patients — over 26,000 in 2008 — regardless of creed or origin. The clinic, however, specializes in prenatal and postnatal care, giving priority to needy mothers and their infants. …

Generous friends of CNEWA and a few European social service agencies fund the clinic, the annual budget of which runs around $175,000. While the clinic has managed to operate successfully within its budget, it faces its fair share of challenges.

Home to the oldest Palestinian refugee camp in Jordan, Zerqa has long served as host to displaced persons — at the time of the article’s publication in the May 2009 issue of ONE, author Daoud Kuttab noted “most of Zerqa’s residents are refugees.” Since then, the combination of the Syrian civil war and continued strife in Iraq and Palestine has led to an even greater refugee presence, including the recent founding of another refugee camp near Zerqa.

To read more about the history and work of the Mother of Mercy Clinic, read Mothering Mercies. To support their mission in this time of great need, click here.



Tags: Refugees Children Jordan Health Care Refugee Camps

24 May 2013
J.D. Conor Mauro




In this 30 March photo, Latin Patriarch Fouad Twal of Jerusalem walks in a procession during the Easter Vigil in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem's Old City. (photo: CNS/Debbie Hill)

Patriarch: the Palestinian problem is the focus of Middle East conflict (Fides) “There is no doubt that the Palestinian problem is the focus of all conflict in the Middle East for the last one hundred years. This is the truth that we cannot circumvent,” said Latin Patriarch Fouad Twal of Jerusalem in a speech at a conference in Beirut. Unless all parties act truthfully and with good will to bring about peace, “this conflict will continue to feed aggression, oppression, deceit, double standards and occupation…”

Pope recalls tragedy of refugees, urges respect for human dignity (VIS) “Today, the church renews her strong call that the dignity and centrality of each person be always protected, in respect of fundamental rights … rights that she asks be concretely extended to the millions of men and women in every continent whose rights are not recognized. In a world where there is so much talk of rights it seems that the only one to have rights is money. … We live in a world, in a culture ruled by the fetishism of money.” These were the pope's words to the participants in the plenary assembly of the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People…

Coptic pope to lead the First Conference of Diaspora Churches (PRWeb) His Holiness Tawadros II, pope and patriarch of the Coptic Orthodox Church, has traveled to Vienna, Austria, to lead the First Conference of Diaspora Churches that will be held later this week. Pope Tawadros will also consecrate new churches and visit Coptic Orthodox Christian communities throughout western Europe. This will be Pope Tawadros’s second overseas visit — following his historic visit to the Vatican to meet Pope Francis — since his enthronement on 18 November…

Cardinal Sandri carries pope’s greeting to Lebanon and Jordan (VIS) Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, prefect of the Congregation for the Eastern Churches, will travel to Lebanon from 24-28 May and continue on to Jordan until 1 June. Cardinal Sandri will meet with the Armenian, Maronite, Melkite and Syrian patriarchs, as well as some religious communities — especially the young volunteers of Caritas Lebanon who, along with other humanitarian organizations, are attempting to deal with the enormous tragedy of refugees fleeing Syria…

Marian devotion overcomes religious barriers in India (Asianews) Marian devotion in India is not bound by religious affiliation; more than 80 percent of pilgrims to Marian sanctuaries are non-Catholics. AsiaNews spoke with Jesuit scriptural scholar Errold Fernandes to better understand the phenomenon. “The mother goddess has always been venerated from the earliest times. Durga and Kali are some examples,” he explained. “[Though] in many cases women are treated as objects rather then persons, Indian tradition has contradictorily held … mother goddesses in high esteem. Mary, the mother of Jesus is also venerated by people of all faiths in many parts of India…”



Tags: Pope Francis Indian Christians Patriarch Fouad Twal human trafficking Cardinal Leonardo Sandri

23 May 2013
J.D. Conor Mauro




A shepherd watches over her flock in Noraduze cemetery, near Sevan, Armenia. In the May 2008 issue of ONE, Paul Rimple discussed the spiritual core of Armenian culture. Click the image to read about Where God Descended. (photo: Armineh Johannes)



Tags: Cultural Identity Armenia Village life Armenian Apostolic Church Armenian Catholic Church

23 May 2013
J.D. Conor Mauro




Father Ibrahim Shomali celebrates an outdoor Mass in an olive grove outside the Salesian Monastery in Beit Jala, West Bank, on 18 January. A planned routing of the Israeli separation barrier will isolate the monastery from the people it serves. (photo: CNS/Debbie Hill)

After a decade, West Bank barrier is nearly complete (NPR) Israel’s barrier has been a source of international criticism, United Nations resolutions and legal cases at the International Court of Justice. It has sparked countless confrontations between Palestinians and the Israeli security forces. Israel started constructing the barrier in 2002…

Ecumenical Patriarchate hosts conference on Edict of Milan (Archons.org) On Friday, 17 May 2013, the Ecumenical Patriarchate honored the 1700th anniversary of Emperor Constantine the Great’s “Edict of Milan” by hosting an international and interfaith seminar in collaboration with the Council of European Episcopal Churches. The seminar officially opened with a keynote address by His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew. Over the weekend, the Orthodox churches were represented by His Beatitude Ilia II, catholicos and patriarch of all Georgia, as well as hierarchs from the churches of Albania, Alexandria, Antioch, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Georgia, Greece, Jerusalem, Poland, Romania, Russia and Serbia…

KAICIID holding conference series on ‘The Image of the Other’ (Vatican Radio) The King Abdullah International Center for Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue, of which the Holy See is a founding observer, is conducting a three-year series of conferences aimed at combatting harmful stereotypes and removing common misconceptions about various world religions…

Georgia: Where does church end and state begin? (Eurasianet) In the aftermath of the 17 May riot in response to a gay-rights march in Tbilisi, public discussion in Tbilisi is focusing on church-state issues, especially the question of whether the Georgian Orthodox Church operates beyond the reach of civil law. With hundreds of years of history behind it and the faith of the overwhelming majority of the country’s 4.4 million residents, the church is a powerful symbol of Georgia’s sovereignty…

Israel to double prayer space at the Western Wall (Washington Post) In a city where three major faiths guard their holy places with quarrelsome zeal and moving a single stone can have deep religious and geopolitical implications, a new proposal to double the area for Jewish prayer along the iconic Western Wall represents dramatic change for a place that does not easily embrace it. Personally tasked by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to restore calm to the Old City site, Natan Sharansky is going for a bold remodel. As he imagines it: “One wall for one people”…



Tags: Israel Interreligious Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I Georgian Orthodox Church Separation Barrier





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