Current Issue
December, 2018
Volume 44, Number 4
26 September 2013
J.D. Conor Mauro

Maronite Patriarch Bechara Peter I has expressed disappointment with the international response to the Syrian crisis, saying that only the pope has made a solid statement against war. He believes that the profitable weapons trade explains the silence of most countries. (video: Rome Reports)

Maronite patriarch helps pope with Mass, thanks him for peace call (Daily Star Lebanon) The Maronite patriarch of Antioch assisted Pope Francis during a Mass Wednesday at the Vatican and thanked the pontiff for his recent calls for peace in the Middle East. A cardinal of the Catholic Church, Patriarch Bechara Peter was accompanied by a number of Maronite bishops and heads of monastic orders during the morning ceremony, according to the National News Agency. At the conclusion of the Mass, the patriarch thanked Francis for his efforts to promote peace in the region, and also spoke about the dispersion of Maronites throughout the world…

Chaldean patriarch speaks out against emigration (Daily Star Lebanon) The Chaldean patriarch arrived in Lebanon for a rare visit Thursday and urged Christians to not leave their homeland. Patriarch Louis Raphael of Babylon made the comments at Rafik Hariri International Airport, before heading to the Beirut suburb of Hazmieh for the holding of religious services. “Christians, wherever they are, should not emigrate, because this is considered a withdrawal from the scene and a loss of identity,” he said. “In countries of emigration, they are refugees and emigres, but here, they have an identity, a role and a history…”

Daily suicide bombings keep Iraqis in state of shock (Al Monitor) As suicide bombings become a daily occurrence, Iraqis contemplate their lives. Ali Wajih, a young Iraqi poet, told Al Monitor, “I’m no longer intimidated by death. … I talk about death and laugh with my friends. Haven’t I told you that death has become trivial?” Some Iraqi intellectuals criticize media outlets for disregarding the human aspects of the victims of bombings and acts of violence, simply counting them on a daily basis and following up on the government’s reactions and stated measures. This picture has become a daily routine in Iraq. Iraqis go about their lives expecting a car bomb to explode next to them at any time. They say goodbye to their families in the morning, and deep down inside they do not rule out the idea that this could be their final goodbye.…

Largest Syrian rebel groups form Islamic alliance (Washington Post) American hopes of winning more influence over Syria’s fractious rebel movement faded Wednesday after 11 of the biggest armed factions repudiated the Western-backed opposition coalition and announced the formation of a new alliance dedicated to creating an Islamic state. The Al Qaeda-affiliated Jabhat al-Nusra, designated a terrorist organization by the United States, is the lead signatory of the new group, which will further complicate fledgling U.S. efforts to provide lethal aid to “moderate” rebels fighting to topple Syrian President Bashar al Assad. Others include the Tawheed Brigade, the biggest Free Syrian Army unit in the northern city of Aleppo; Liwa al Islam, the largest rebel group in the capital, Damascus; and Ahrar al Sham, the most successful nationwide franchise of mostly Syrian Salafist fighters. Collectively, the new front, which does not yet have a formal name but has been dubbed by its members the “Islamist Alliance,” claims to represent 75 percent of the rebels fighting to topple Assad…

In Kerala, ancient murals draw visitors (The Hindu) The murals in St. Mary’s Soonoro Church in Angamaly — a Malankara Jacobite Syrian Orthodox church — with its Biblical themes rendered in vibrant colors, continue to draw keen visitors. Though churches across Kerala have had a longstanding tradition of murals, the ones at Angamaly are particularly noted for their antiquity and the way they have weathered these years. The original church on this site is believed to have been consecrated in 409, though the present church was built in the 16th century… [Click to learn more about Jacobites or the larger Indian Orthodox Church to which they belong.]

Tags: Iraq Syrian Civil War Maronite Patriarch Bechara Peter Chaldean Patriarch Louis Raphael I Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church