onetoone
one
Current Issue
September, 2019
Volume 45, Number 3
  
18 January 2013
J.D. Conor Mauro




In this 23 July 2011 photo, Cardinal Antonios Naguib, Coptic Catholic patriarch of Alexandria, Egypt, celebrates the Divine Liturgy at St. Patrick Church in Nashville, Tennessee, as part of a tour of Coptic Catholic communities across the United States. This week, Cardinal Naguib submitted his resignation for health reasons. (photo: CNS/Theresa Laurence, Tennessee Register)

New Coptic Catholic patriarch elected (Fides) The Synod of the Coptic Catholic Bishops, who gathered in Cairo from 12 to 16 January, received a letter of resignation for health reasons by Patriarch Cardinal Antonios Naguib and, after a day of spiritual retreat, proceeded to the election of his successor. On 15 January, the synod canonically elected the new patriarch of Alexandria of the Copts, His Beatitude Ibrahim Isaac Sidrak, who then received the Ecclesiastical Communio granted by His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI…

Catholic hospital in Jordan struggles to help Syrian refugees (Catholic News Agency) A Jordanian Catholic hospital is appealing for more money to help with the growing influx of Syrian refugees fleeing the conflict in their homeland. "What we're asking for is just to help us help others," said Sister Alessandra Fumagalli, at a Catholic Near East Welfare Association gathering on 16 January at the Vatican. Sister Fumagalli made her remarks at the headquarters of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem, speaking alongside Cardinal Edwin O'Brien, Cardinal Leonardo Sandri and the archbishop of Ottawa, Terrence Prendergast. The hospital in the Jordanian town of Karak run by the Comboni sisters, known as "the Italian Hospital," has 40 beds, 30 consultant doctors and 5 resident doctors, but the space for patients remains limited. "We have 15 people coming in three times a day because we just don't have enough seats for them," she said. "We can't afford to buy medical equipment, so CNEWA is helping us a lot in these things," Sister Fumagalli explained. The Catholic charity organized the event where Sister Fumagalli spoke. It brought together over 120 participants, including the Italian actor Giorgio Lupano and Italian political representatives, hoping to tell Italians of the worsening situation for Christians in the Middle East. "The main purpose was to raise awareness in Italy of how much the Eastern Churches are in need, in order to support them," said Emanuelle Latini, the administrator of the association's office at the Vatican…

Jordan won’t accept new refugees if Syria falls (New York Times) In the latest sign of the intense pressures Syria’s war has placed on its neighbors, Jordan’s prime minister said Thursday that his country would not accept thousands of new refugees likely to flee Syria if President Bashar al Assad’s government collapsed. Jordan’s government would instead deploy special forces troops to create “secure safe havens” for the refugees inside Syrian territory. These comments underscored mounting fears in Jordan that it was being destabilized by the influx of more than 200,000 refugees — many living in miserable conditions in a camp near the border — and by the threat of a spreading militancy from the war. Despite such concerns, Jordanian officials on Thursday tried to soften the prime minister’s comments, which raised the possibility of both a Jordanian military incursion into Syrian territory and a new humanitarian crisis. A government spokesman, Samih Maytah, clarified: Jordan will continue receiving the refugees “as long as the flow continues at the same rate,” he said. But if tens or hundreds of thousands came across — “if the regime falls or chaos spreads” — Jordan will stop taking them in…

Pursuit of ‘ideal’ Georgian-Armenian relations includes focus on churches (Azatutyun.am) Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili pledged to help make Georgian-Armenian relations “ideal” during his first official visit to Yerevan on Thursday. He also announced an ambitious initiative to end a long-running dispute between the government-backed Armenian and Georgian churches after holding talks with President Serzh Sarkisian and Prime Minister Tigran Sarkisian — specifically, the thorny issue of worship sites claimed by the Armenian Apostolic and Georgian Orthodox churches. The unresolved dispute centers on ownership of several formerly Armenian churches in Tbilisi as well as abandoned medieval monasteries in Armenia’s Lori province bordering Georgia. The supreme heads of the two churches failed to reach any agreements during almost one week of negotiations held in June 2011. Ivanishvili said he proposed that his private charity finance the renovation of all disputed churches “in both countries” pending a joint Georgian-Armenian study of their origin. “We could also do archaeological work there, which I’m also ready to finance through my fund,” he said…

Jordan’s Islamists, opposition rally against vote (Daily Star Lebanon) Hundreds of Jordanian Islamists, youth activists and other opposition groups are rallying in capital city Amman and calling for a boycott of next week’s parliament elections. Friday’s peaceful demonstration drew about 1,300 Muslim Brotherhood members and others, united in the election boycott and in demands that King Abdullah II cede some of his powers and give parliament more say in the country. The demonstration comes just five days before elections that will for the first time see a prime minister emerge from among the winning candidates, rather than by appointment by the king. The protesters say such reforms do not go far enough…



Tags: Refugees Jordan Armenian Apostolic Church Coptic Catholic Church Georgian Orthodox Church

17 January 2013
J.D. Conor Mauro




Forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al Assad walk on the rubble of damaged buildings and shops in the old city of Aleppo on 3 January. (photo: CNS/George Ourfalian, Reuters)

Editor's note: You may have noticed our website was experiencing technical difficulties. We were down for most of the last 24 hours. But now, at last, we're back. Our apologies for any inconvenience.

Syria university explosion kills more than 80 (L.A. Times) Dozens of people died in two explosions minutes apart Tuesday at a university in the embattled northern city of Aleppo, a reminder of the Syrian conflict’s costly toll on ordinary citizens. At least 82 people, many on campus for midterm exams, were killed, according to separate accounts from rebels in Aleppo, government officials and a pro-opposition group. Videos posted on YouTube show students in winter clothes milling about minutes after the first blast occurred, when a second explosion sent a billowing, mushroom-like cloud into the sky. The explosions tore the facades off buildings, blew out windows, set cars ablaze and left bodies scattered across the grounds of Aleppo University, which has managed to stay open despite daily battles between the government and rebel forces since July. It was not known who was responsible for the blasts…

For those still in Syria, a daily struggle (N.P.R.) The situation for Syrian refugees is getting dire. Much has been reported about the worsening conditions for hundreds of thousands of Syrians taking up shelter just outside the country’s borders, but inside Syria, the numbers are even higher. The United Nations says some 2 million people have been displaced from their homes in Syria, and most of them end up squatting in mosques and schools. NPR’s Kelly McEvers spent a night in one of those schools, in Syria’s largest city, Aleppo, and filed this report on the daily lives of the people she encountered…

Serbian Orthodox Church reports mistreatment of Christians by Kosovo police (Interfax Religion) Information service of the Serbian Orthodox diocese of Ra?ka-Prizren reports that during Christmas celebration on 7 January 2013, Kosovar police executed a raid operation in the Gra?anica convent. The ruling hierarch, Bishop Teodosije of Raska-Prizren, was not notified. The worshippers’ confusion, fear and bewilderment over actions of the police were redoubled by the detention of Orthodox Christians who were in Gracanica to attend Christmas Divine Liturgy. Several Serbs were detained and brought to Pristina for interrogation without any indictment. According to one of them, they were beaten while in the detention unit. One sustained serious injuries and was admitted to the local hospital. The detention of Orthodox Christians on the day of the Nativity of Christ and mistreatment of the detainees has evoked indignation among the Serbian Orthodox and Russian Orthodox communities…

Combating human trafficking a priority in Orissa (Fides) A decisive fight against human trafficking — which mainly affects the poorest communities in Orissa, such as Christians — and initiatives to ensure food security for the population are the activities sponsored for the Year of Faith by a network formed by the religious congregations in the state of Orissa. The network includes other Christian denominations, non-governmental organizations, civic groups, students and diocesan teams of volunteers. The network has identified two emergencies in the society of Orissa state in eastern India, the scene of anti-Christian massacres in 2008. The first is human trafficking, which affects mostly women and children, and the second is food insecurity — households do not have the certainty of the minimum daily sustenance necessary for survival…

Court overturns life sentence against Hosni Mubarak; orders retrial (N.P.R.) An Egyptian court overturned a life sentence against ousted President Hosni Mubarak and ordered a retrial for the former autocrat. The decision to retry the strongman, who was serving a life sentence for failing to stop the killing of protesters, came as no surprise. When the judge overseeing the original case made his ruling last June, he criticized the prosecution for failing to produce concrete evidence against the leadership. Mubarak and his security chief Habib al Adly will be tried again on criminal charges related to the killing of some 1,000 demonstrators during the 2011 uprising that forced the president’s ouster. Adly’s six deputies, who held key positions and were all acquitted, will also be retried. The court also granted a request to overturn not-guilty verdicts on corruption charges against Mubarak, his two sons and a business associate, Hussein Salem…



Tags: India Egypt Syrian Civil War human trafficking Kosovo

15 January 2013
J.D. Conor Mauro




In this 2010 photograph, Latin Patriarch Fouad Twal of Jerusalem waves after celebrating Mass at the cathedral in Valparaiso, Chile, on 8 November. (photo: CNS/Eliseo Fernandez, Reuters)

Patriarch Twal urges democratic participation among Jordanians (Fides) Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem Fouad Twal has sent a message to the “dear children” of Jordan in view of the upcoming parliamentary elections, scheduled for 23 January. In the message, the patriarch thanked King Abdullah II for ensuring that all citizens are able to exercise their electoral rights enshrined in the Constitution, and recalls the words addressed by the king to Pope Benedict XVI in May 2009, during the papal visit to Jordan: “The sons of our people, Muslims and Christians are equal citizens before the law, and all are involved in shaping the future of our country.” Patriarch Twal notes that country, after the worship due to the one God, occupies a position of first importance, since dedication towards one’s country precedes and guarantees the protection of the legitimate interests of individuals or groups. “There is no contradiction between the worship of God and belonging to one’s own country.”

Georgian Orthodox Patriarch Ilia II’s ‘star power’ (Eurasianet.org) Georgia’s two squabbling rulers, the prime minister and the president, both need love — the love of the country’s spiritual leader, the guardian of national unity, the primus inter pares, Georgian Orthodox Patriarch Ilia II. A recent, seemingly playful exchange in which the president and prime minister bickered over whom the patriarch loved more showed rather clearly that Georgia’s political system is not a diarchy, but a triumvirate, and that secular leaders need to vie for the holy graces of the chief of the Georgian Orthodox Church. Georgians’ infatuation with their political leaders is pretty much a one-night stand; they tend to lose interest the moment leaders take office. But the patriarch always tops the national love charts. And, so, well aware of the patriarch’s star power, the civic leaders turned up at the celebrations that marked Orthodox New Year, plus Ilia II’s 80th birthday and the anniversary of his 1977 enthronement — “a celebration of love,” as the church leader himself put it.

Rapes and bombings drive half a million refugees out of Syria (Christian Science Monitor) The flood of refugees from Syria, driven by rampant bombings and the widespread use of rape as an instrument of terror, threatens to destabilize the Middle East. The Syrian government bombed areas around Damascus on Monday as part of its push to keep rebel fighters out of the capital, leaving many children among the dozens killed, anti-regime activists said. An international aid organization cited such raids, along with rape and widespread destruction, as key factors in the exodus of more than a half-million Syrians to neighboring countries since the conflict began in March 2011. The International Rescue Committee said it could be “months, if not years” before the refugees can return home and warned that Syria’s civil war could enflame tensions in the Middle East.

Coptic Christians fleeing Egypt following Islamist takeover (The Telegraph) Tens of thousands of Egyptian Christians are leaving the country in the wake of the Egyptian revolution and subsequent Islamist takeover of politics, priests and community leaders say. Coptic Christian churches in the United States say they are having to expand to cope with new arrivals, as priests in cities like Cairo and Alexandria talk of a new climate of fear and uncertainty. “Most of our people are afraid,” said Father Mina Adel, a priest at the Church of Two Saints in Alexandria. “Not a few are leaving — for America, Canada and Australia. Dozens of families from this church alone are trying to go too.” Father Mina’s church has an important place in the history of the Arab Spring. It was struck by a car bomb on New Year’s Eve 2010, Egypt’s worst sectarian attack in recent decades, in which 23 people were killed. After the bombing, liberal Muslim groups staged protests in support of Christians, printing posters showing the cross and the crescent interlinked which then went on to be symbols of inter-faith unity during the Tahrir Square protests three weeks later. But the victory of the Muslim Brotherhood in parliamentary and presidential elections has changed the mood — particularly as the biggest opposition party is the even more hardline Salafist movement which wants strict Sharia law implemented.



Tags: Egypt Syrian Civil War Jordan Patriarch Fouad Twal Georgian Orthodox Church

11 January 2013
J.D. Conor Mauro




Students at the Don Bosco Institute practice welding in the Rod el Farag neighborhood of Cairo, Egypt, on 12 November 2008. Run by the Salesians of Don Bosco, the institute enables Egyptians from all economic backgrounds to learn a trade to improve their lives and communities. Some students, such as those pictured here, are workers who came back to the school to enhance their skills. To learn more about the Don Bosco schools, read Building Persons, Forming Good Citizens from the January 2009 issue of ONE. (photo: Shawn Baldwin)



Tags: Egypt Education

11 January 2013
J.D. Conor Mauro




CNEWA President Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan of New York talks with Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, prefect of the Congregation for Eastern Churches, before a meeting of the Synod of Bishops on the new evangelization at the Vatican on 26 October. (photo: CNS/Paul Haring)

Cardinal Sandri in Egypt: Guarantee profession of faith for all (Vatican News) Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, prefect of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches, while visiting Egypt to celebrate the Year of Faith with the local church, met with those responsible for apostolic events in that country. “Doubtlessly,” he said in a 9 January address, “you are experiencing the desert of this very difficult present situation. Perhaps we must guard against letting the desert advance in our consciences and our hearts precisely while we are trying to advance the Gospel. Do not forget that the Son of God’s intense days were preceded and followed by an even more intense dialogue with the Father.” The cardinal went on to entrust the objectives of the Year of Faith, called by the Holy Father on 11 October 2012, to those responsible for apostolic events: “We are asked in grace to remain close to the life of the church and to participate directly in it. ... In this way, we may share the church’s mission to all peoples. We are expecting a renewed missionary impulse from the Year of Faith because throughout the world the most diverse religions are meeting and facing one another. And we are hoping for the confirmation of the church’s presence in the world, with its due support and the defense of Christians who are not granted religious freedom. The ability to profess one’s own creed must be guaranteed to everyone without exception, and thus also to Christians”…

Cardinal Dolan urges leadership from U.S. president for Israeli-Palestinian peace (U.S.C.C.B.) The United States is poised to make a real difference in the Arab-Israeli-Palestinian conflict and should provide tireless leadership to ensure a two-state solution in the Middle East, said two leaders of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (U.S.C.C.B.) in a 9 January letter to President Barack Obama. “We affirm your support of the two-state solution, promise our support for strong U.S. leadership for peace, and urge you even to consider appointing a high profile envoy in hopes that as in the past this might advance peace and justice in the region,” wrote Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York, president of U.S.C.C.B., and Bishop Richard Pates of Des Moines, Iowa, chairman of the U.S.C.C.B. Committee on International Justice and Peace…

Rebels seize control of north Syrian airbase (BBC) Rebels are reported to have taken control of a strategic military airbase in northwestern Syria after days of fierce fighting with government forces. Opposition activists said the Free Syrian Army (F.S.A.) was in full control of Taftanaz airport. Videos purportedly showed fighters inside the facility. Helicopters based there have been used to attack rebel-held areas. “Many regime forces have been killed and most of the soldiers and officers fled at dawn,” Rami Abdul Rahman told the A.F.P. news agency. “This is the largest airbase to be seized since the revolt began”…

Orthodox Ecumenical Patriarch Visits Georgia (Civil.ge) Greek Orthodox Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I visited Tbilisi on the occasion of 80th birthday of the Georgian Orthodox Church leader, Patriarch Ilia II, and of 35th anniversary of the Georgian patriarch’s enthronement. Serbian Orthodox Patriarch Irinej and interim leader of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church Metropolitan Cyril of Varna and Veliki Preslav are also attending. President Saakashvili received leaders of Orthodox churches on 10 January. He said that Patriarch Ilia II’s jubilee was a “celebration” for all of Georgia. Patriarch Bartholomew I is expected to meet PM Bidzina Ivanishvili on 11 January, according to the Georgian Patriarchate…

Coptic pope expresses strong desire for ecumenism (Fides) Pope Tawadros II, patriarch of the Coptic Orthodox Church, has been contributing to the new climate of dialogue and proximity among Christians since last November. On Tuesday, 8 January, the Coptic pope welcomed the visiting Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, prefect of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches. In December, during the Christmas holidays, the patriarch wanted to personally pay homage with a visit to all the heads of Christian churches in Egypt who follow the Gregorian calendar. “On that occasion,” says Botros Fahim Awad Hanna, auxiliary bishop of Alexandria of the Catholic Copts, “he expressed the desire to meet at least once a month. New Patriarch Tawadros is aware of the crucial importance of the ecumenical journey, and at the same time he reveals his profile as a pastor. He said: the doctrinal issues must be left to theologians. We, as pastors, have to express in front of all our fraternal love, in mutual love. It should be noted that his motto is the phrase of the first letter of St. Paul to the Corinthians: love will never have an end”…

Bishops warn of increasing polarization in the Holy Land (Vatican Radio) Bishops from North America and Europe have concluded their annual pilgrimage of solidarity to the Christians of the Holy Land with an appeal for prayers for peace. In their final statement the bishops note that the people in the region are living through dark and dramatic events, such as the conflict in Gaza and southern Israel; civil war in Syria, and increasing polarization within Israel and Palestine. These developments, they write, have caused profound anxiety for all but particularly for the dwindling Christian population…



Tags: Syrian Civil War United States Middle East Peace Process Patriarchs Coptic Orthodox Church

10 January 2013
J.D. Conor Mauro




At St. Sava’s dance classes, students wear opanak, traditional Serbian shoes. (photo: Andy Spyra)

Worship, though primary, is only one of the activities a church can host. In Germany, St. Sava Serbian Orthodox Church caters to a strong community of Serbian immigrants, and helps to preserve many facets of Serbian culture:

Since the 1950’s, St. Sava’s has offered its youngsters catechetical courses and cultural classes — held every Saturday — that instruct and reinforce the church’s religious teachings and cultural heritage.

“In our new community center, we originally planned for two classrooms,” remembers Father Pejic. “Thank God we were underestimating the need!”

Currently, the community center has barely enough space to accommodate the nearly 130 children, between the ages of 7 and 17, who attend the classes. The curriculum includes seven grade levels with courses in religion, the Serbian language, traditional dance and singing.

For this and more, read Germany’s Orthodox Serbs, from the July 2009 issue of ONE.



Tags: Cultural Identity Eastern Christianity Germany Serbian Orthodox

10 January 2013
J.D. Conor Mauro




Children pose with a snowman outside the Church of the Nativity in the West Bank town of Bethlehem on 9 January, during a rare cold spell. (photo: CNS/Marcin Mazur, Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales)

U.S. bishop says young Palestinians are beacon of hope (CNS) On 8 January, Bishop Kicanas of Tucson, Arizona, told Catholic News Service he was especially moved by the “daunting spirit” he found in the young people of Gaza. “While they have experienced trauma, disappointments and restrictions, they are advancing,” said the bishop, who was participating in the 13th annual Holy Land Coordination. “Their hopeful desire is to somehow, in the near future, be able to use the skills [they are gaining in their studies] to help their society. It even gives me hope.” Though the Israeli-Palestinian conflict remains discouraging, with Israel expanding settlements and encroaching on Palestinian land, religious leaders must forge a sense of optimism, said Bishop Kicanas. “The situation is bleak and, yes, one of darkness but ... we continue to hear of light in the darkness, moments of hope,” he said…

Christian community trapped and exhausted in Aleppo (Fides) About a thousand Christians, mostly Greek Orthodox and Roman Catholic, are trapped in the small village of Yaakoubieh in the north of Aleppo. They are completely worn out, with no food, no electricity and an acute lack of basic necessities, and find themselves in the midst of heavy fighting between loyalist forces and opposition groups. Unable to leave the village, they “are in terrible condition, where they risk extinction.” This is the alarm sounded through Fides Agency by the Franciscan friar Father Francois Kouseiffi, O.F.M., pastor of the church of San Francesco in Hamra, Beirut. Father Francois deals with the care and assistance of about 500 Syrian refugees. “The situation is very serious. The faithful are trapped. We are trying in every way to help them to come to Lebanon”…

High number of Syrian refugees creates tension in Lebanon (Fides) Granting hospitality to refugees fleeing from war-torn Syria is a meritorious act that must be encouraged. But with the relentless rise in the number of refugees, the dangers to political stability and social order also increase. Yesterday, in the usual monthly meeting convened at the patriarchal seat in Bkerke, the Synod of Maronite Bishops took note of the anxiety caused by both the economic crisis and the effects of the civil war in neighboring Syria. The Maronite bishops also expressed the hope that the political parties reach a profitable and widely shared agreement by launching a new electoral law. The final communiqué, sent to Fides Agency, reiterates the importance of peace in the Middle East, where “God chose to reveal the mystery of salvation and redemption.” The Bishops express concern “for the daily rise in the number of refugees, among them the presence of Palestinians”…

Indian Christians denied water and firewood after church attack (Worthy News) Impoverished Christian villagers in India’s western state of Maharashtra were refused water and firewood Tuesday, 8 January, after a Hindu attack on their local church injured some 30 believers, a chief investigator told Worthy News. Joseph Dias, secretary-general of Indian rights group Catholic-Christian Secular Forum (C.S.F.), said the incidents are part of an ongoing Hindu campaign to intimidate minority Christians in Maharashtra’s Thane Rural District…

Russian patriarch: punish desecration without limiting free speech (Catholic Culture) In the wake of a legislative proposal that would criminalize offenses against religious sensibilities, the head of the Russian Orthodox Church called upon the state to punish desecration without limiting freedom of speech. “A fine in an amount of several hundred rubles for blasphemous words written on churches, mosques, or synagogues indicates that society does not quite realize the importance of protecting believers’ religious feelings,” said Patriarch Kirill of Moscow…



Tags: Lebanon Refugees Syrian Civil War Violence against Christians Indian Christians

9 January 2013
J.D. Conor Mauro




A Ukrainian Greek Catholic priest administers Communion outside the Basilian monastery in Krekhiv, north of Lviv. To learn about Ukrainian village life, read What's Next for Ukraine's Villages? from the March 2011 issue of ONE. (photo: Petro Didula)



Tags: Ukraine Village life Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church Lviv

3 January 2013
J.D. Conor Mauro




A blind man walks past cars and buildings damaged in fighting in the old city of Aleppo, Syria, on 27 December. (photo: CNS/Ahmed Jadallah, Reuters)

Rebels and government forces clash at Syrian airports (BBC) Fierce battles are taking place at some northern Syrian airports, as rebels try to neutralise the government’s overwhelming air advantage. Rebels broke into the Taftanaz base in north-western Idlib province but were pushed back by the army, rebel sources and state media said. Reports said Aleppo airport was also under siege, and has been closed since Tuesday because of repeated attacks. The attacks come a day after a United Nations study said 60,000 people had died in Syria. Commissioned by U.N. human rights commissioner Navi Pillay, the study concluded that there had been 59,648 deaths between February 2011 and November 2012, and that figure would now have risen above 60,000…

Maronite patriarch excoriates Lebanese politicians (Daily Star Lebanon) Maronite Patriarch Bechara Peter slammed Lebanon’s politicians Thursday, urging them to take part in national dialogue and address the issue of Syrian refugees coming to the country, the National News Agency reported. “Shame on you not to attend the dialogue table,” said the cardinal. “It is a shame on officials not to attend dialogue and address the Syrian refugee case, the biggest national and humanitarian issue we are facing today,” he added. Over 160,000 Syrian refugees have arrived in Lebanon since the start of violence in neighboring Syria…

Armenians concerned over rights in Holy Land (Hetq Online) Armenian Patriarchate of Jerusalem, a member of the triumvirate of Guardians of the Christian Holy Places, has voiced grave fears over the threat of the erosion of its historic and traditional rights in the Church of Nativity in Bethlehem. The rights and privileges that are the legacy of the Armenians are indelibly inscribed within the tenets of a Status Quo that has been in place since the Ottoman administration of the land. But recent developments in Bethlehem, involving its sister guardian, the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate (with the Latin Custodia forming the third member of the triumvirate), are threatening to seriously impact on Armenian rights, church officials claim…

Romanian Patriarchate declares year for Saints Constantine and Helen (Basilica News Agency) Following the initiative of His Beatitude Patriarch Daniel, undertaken during the working session of 25 October 2011, the Holy Synod of the Romanian Orthodox Church approved that the year 2013 should be declared Solemn Year of Saint Emperors Constantine and Helen at the anniversary of 1700 years since the Edict of religious tolerance of Milan (313). The Holy Synod Office worked out a nation-wide program for implementing the liturgical, cultural and media program, emphasizing tolerance, freedom, and the social and religious politics of the canonized emperor and empress…

Israel nearly finished building Israel-Egypt border fence (L.A. Times) Two years after construction began, Israel has finished the bulk of the work on a fence along its border with Egypt. Closing off the rambling, 140-mile-long stretch of desert border will prevent the “unfettered flow of illegal infiltrators, the smuggling of drugs and weapons,” said a statement from the Defense Ministry, which oversaw the $400-million engineering project. Speaking at a ceremony marking the completion of the main section, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praised the effort to curb the illegal entry of migrants from Africa, reduced from more than 2,000 a month in January 2012 to fewer than 40 in December. Early last year, Netanyahu said Israel would build a similar fence along the desert border with Jordan…



Tags: Egypt Syrian Civil War Israel Holy Land Maronite Patriarch Bechara Peter

13 December 2012
J.D. Conor Mauro




Following the latest act of settler-associated vandalism at the 11th-century Monastery of the Cross, Father Claudio remains unflappable: “The first time, I forgive; the second time, I forgive; the seventh time, I forgive; the 75th, the 77th time I forgive.” (video: Melanie Lidman)

Jerusalem Orthodox Christian monastery vandalized (Jerusalem Post) “Price-tag” vandals targeted sites in Jerusalem and near Ramallah overnight Tuesday, spraying extremist graffiti and puncturing car tires. The words “tag mahir” (“price tag”), painted on the site, have become affiliated with the extreme fringe of the settlement and right-wing movements. Father Claudio, the superior of the Monastery of the Cross, said he discovered the graffiti on Wednesday morning after morning prayers. “This person needs to write outside. Okay. But he needs to come inside the Monastery. Sit with me, drink one coffee, and I will explain to him why I believe in Jesus and why that is my freedom [to believe],” Father Claudio said. “He needs to come face to face. And I will tell him, ‘Welcome.’ ... Let’s sit, and speak. This is the heart of the religions. ... I say to these people, ‘Hanukkah Sameach’ [‘Happy Hanukkah’].” This is the fifth price-tag attack against a Christian site this year, including the previous vandalism at the Monastery of the Cross and incidents at the Latrun Monastery, the Baptist Church in west Jerusalem and the Dormition Abbey on Mount Zion...

Violence and terror in the ‘Valley of the Christians’ (Fides) About 150 thousand Christians live in fear in more than 40 villages in the so-called “Valley of the Christians” (“Wadi al Nasarah”) in western Syria. The valley, a historical stronghold of the Syrian Christians, received in recent months thousands of refugees from Homs and other cities and provinces. Today, Christians are under fire from Islamist militias who have settled in the Crusader fortress “Krak des Chevaliers,” built in the eleventh century by a Muslim emir, rebuilt by the Knights Hospitallers and today UNESCO world cultural heritage. From the hill on which the fortress stands, the militias have been firing for days at the villages below. Their targets are the barricades in the area erected by the Syrian army, but no thought is given to the Christian civilians in the line of fire...

Palestinian protesters and Israeli soldiers clash in Hebron (Al Jazeera) Five people have been injured in clashes between Palestinian youths and Israeli soldiers in the West Bank city of Hebron, after a Palestinian teenager was shot by Israeli soldiers on Wednesday. Dozens of Palestinian youths were reported to have thrown stones and bottles at the soldiers early on Thursday morning, while Associated Press news agency reported that the Israeli soldiers had responded by firing tear gas on the youths. Five Palestinians were hospitalized after the clashes, reported Ma’an News Agency. Thursday’s clashes came ahead of the funeral for 17-year-old Palestinian, Muhammad Ziad Awad Salaymah, who was shot dead by an Israeli policewoman at a checkpoint in the city on Wednesday, for allegedly carrying a gun which later turned out to be “fake”...

Muslim Brotherhood struggles to retain political power (Der Spiegel) Little is known about the inner workings of the Muslim Brotherhood, though that is now changing. More and more members are leaving the organization, and they are taking their criticism public. They include young members who reject the Brotherhood’s hierarchical structures as well as older supporters like Tharwat al Gharbawi, a well-known attorney, who says that the Brotherhood’s authoritarian ideology always becomes more prevalent when the organization comes under pressure. “As long as the guidance office of the Brotherhood is dominated by hardliners, a compromise isn’t to be expected,” says Gharbawi. Now, the group’s support seems to be crumbling. More than 30 buildings owned by the Muslim Brotherhood were set on fire in the last two weeks, and the protesters are now chanting the same words they chanted before Mubarak was overthrown: “Down with the regime.” Most importantly, opposition leaders have set aside differences to unite in their opposition to Morsi and the Brotherhood...



Tags: Syria Egypt Jerusalem Syrian Civil War Violence against Christians





1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 | 24 | 25 | 26 | 27 | 28 | 29 | 30 | 31 | 32 | 33 | 34 | 35 | 36 | 37 | 38 | 39 | 40 | 41 | 42 | 43 | 44 | 45 | 46 | 47 | 48 | 49 | 50 | 51 | 52 | 53 | 54 | 55 | 56 | 57 | 58 | 59 | 60 | 61 | 62 | 63 | 64 | 65 | 66 | 67 | 68 | 69 | 70 | 71 | 72 | 73 | 74 | 75 | 76 |