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Current Issue
July, 2019
Volume 45, Number 2
  
16 September 2013
J.D. Conor Mauro




A damaged Syriac Catholic Church is pictured in Homs, Syria, on 15 September. (photo: CNS/Yazen Homsy, Reuters)

Maaloula’s cathedral and churches empty of Christians amid fighting (The Telegraph) On Sunday thousands of Christians should have filled its streets for the festival of the Holy Cross. But instead, the streets of Maaloula are filled with soldiers and tanks, spent bullet casings and the noise of Syria’s latest front-line fight. Maaloula is a special place. It has been a safe haven for Christians for 2,000 years — until now. It was a place of refuge so secure in its rugged mountain isolation that a dialect of the language of Christ, Aramaic, is still spoken here. But now, its Christian community of 2,000 has fled. In the tight alleyways and streets that wind up the Maaloula’s mountainside their language has been replaced by the Arabic of two bitter enemies: rebels from three Islamist groups and the soldiers of President Bashar al Assad…

U.N. finds ‘clear and convincing evidence’ of Syria chemical attack (Los Angeles Times) United Nations inspectors say there is “clear and convincing evidence” that chemical weapons were used on a relatively large scale in an attack last month in Syria that killed hundreds of people. A report from the inspectors says “the environmental, chemical and medical samples we have collected provide clear and convincing evidence that surface-to-surface rockets containing the nerve agent sarin were used … in the Ghouta area of Damascus” on 21 August…

Despite chemical weapons talks, fighting in Syria escalated (Washington Post) As negotiations to avert a U.S. strike against Syria ramped up last week, so, too, did the action on the ground. Warplanes dropped bombs over far-flung Syrian towns that hadn’t seen airstrikes in weeks, government forces went on the attack in the hotly contested suburbs of Damascus, rebels launched an offensive in the south, and a historic Christian town changed hands at least four times…

Some wounded Syrians treated in Israel (NPR) The wounded arrive from Syrian clinics with day-old injuries, rudimentary stitches and amputations. Some are women and children; others are adult men, some thought to be rebel fighters. Israel has helped about 200 of the injured across the border for medical treatment. No matter their role in the fighting, the Syrians have come here at great risk: They could face arrest or worse if Syria ever found out they visited Israel. Most of the Syrian patients here are alone — no family or friends by their side. They don’t risk calling or emailing their families in Syria, either…

Chaldean patriarch to Church of the East: let us go back to full unity (Fides) The Patriarch of Babylon of the Chaldeans Louis Raphael I sent a letter of congratulations to the Patriarch of the Church of the East Mar Dinkha IV on the occasion of his 78th birthday, celebrated on 15 September. In the congratulatory message, Patriarch Louis Raphael extended an eloquent official invitation to start a path of dialogue together to restore full ecclesial communion between the Chaldean community — together with the bishop of Rome — and the Church of the East. “I take this opportunity, to express the desire of the Chaldean Church to begin dialogue for unity, which is the desire of Jesus. The beginning of this dialogue is urgent today, in the face of great challenges that threaten our survival. Without unity, there is no future for us…”

Pope receives Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem (VIS) The pope held an audience with members of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem participating in a pilgrimage to Rome to mark the Year of Faith on Friday afternoon. “The Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem has a history dating back almost a thousand years; yours is one of the most ancient welfare and charitable Orders still active today,” said Pope Francis…

Meeting of the Latin bishops of the Arab world (Fides) On 17 September, the ordinary meeting of the representatives of the Conference of Latin Bishops in the Arab Regions — the body that brings together the Catholic bishops of the Latin Church in the Arab states of the Middle East, Egypt and Somalia — will begin in Rome. The meetings will focus on the latest initiatives planned for the Year of Faith and the 50th anniversary of the Second Vatican Council. The liaison body of the bishops of the Latin Church in the Arab countries was established in 1967 to promote collegiality and communion among local churches…



Tags: Syrian Civil War Violence against Christians Ecumenism United Nations Christian Unity