Current Issue
July, 2019
Volume 45, Number 2
28 June 2013
J.D. Conor Mauro

In this 2005 photo, Ethiopian Orthodox Christians process to Lalibela to visit its subterranean complex of 11 rock-hewn churches, considered one of the holiest sites in the world. Every Christmas and Temqat — the Ethiopian commemoration of the baptism of Christ — as many as 50,000 pilgrims throng the small town, some traveling hundreds of miles on foot from distant parts of Ethiopia and beyond to attend the celebrations. (photo: Leah Niederstadt)

Rock churches of Lalibela, the Jerusalem of Ethiopia (CNN) Lalibela, a small town in northern Ethiopia, is home to 11 spectacular churches carved both inside and out from a single rock some 900 years ago. The chiseled creations have turned this mountain town into a place of pride and pilgrimage for worshipers of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, attracting 80,000 to 100,000 visitors every year. Even though Lalibela sits in a remote region of Ethiopia, the faithful will walk for days, even weeks, to get here, many of them traversing the rugged mountains barefoot. Ethiopia is home to one of the oldest Christian churches in the world, dating back to the early fourth century. The Ethiopian Orthodox Church used to be a part of Egypt’s Coptic Church, but established its own patriarch in 1959. Today, nearly two thirds of the East African country’s population is Christian, with most belonging to the Orthodox Church…

Pope meets Orthodox delegation from Ecumenical Patriarchate (Vatican Radio) Pope Francis met on Friday with a delegation from the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, which is in Rome to attend celebrations for Saturday’s feast of Sts. Peter and Paul. Traditionally, as spiritual leader of Orthodox Christians worldwide, the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew sends a delegation to Rome each 29 June, while a Catholic delegation travels to Istanbul each 30 November to mark the feast of St. Andrew, patron of the Orthodox world. In his meeting with the Orthodox representatives, Pope Francis spoke of important progress in the official dialogue between Catholics and Orthodox, which has already produced many joint documents. The Joint International Commission for Theological Dialogue is currently studying the key question of primacy and collegiality in the church of the first century, one of the main obstacles on the road to unity and reconciliation between the Eastern and Western Churches…

Polish and Ukrainian bishops sign appeal for reconciliation (Polskie Radio) Polish and Ukrainian church leaders signed an appeal for reconciliation in Warsaw on Friday, marking the 70th anniversary of the Volhynia massacres, which took place in a Nazi-occupied region that had been divided between Poland and the Soviet Union prior to the Second World War. Archbishop Jozef Michalik, head of the Polish Roman Catholic Episcopate, and Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk, leader of Ukraine’s Greek Catholic Church, were the chief signatories of the document. The declaration calls on Poles and Ukrainians to “open minds and hearts to mutual forgiveness and reconciliation…”

Shelling claims lives in the Old City of Damascus (Fides) According to the Melkite Patriarchate in Damascus, whose headquarters is situated a few hundred meters from the Greek-Orthodox Patriarchate, the fatal explosions on 26 June in the Old City were not a suicide attack but the launch of two mortar shells. The area affected is a few meters from the Greek Orthodox cathedral in Maryamiyya and also from the Shiite Al Ishane charitable building. But the dynamics of the episode suggests that it was not a targeted attack…

Tags: Pope Francis Ethiopia Syrian Civil War Ecumenism Lalibela