Current Issue
September, 2019
Volume 45, Number 3
29 October 2013
J.D. Conor Mauro

In this photo from last month, Pope Francis walks with Greek Orthodox Patriarch Youhanna X of Antioch during a private meeting at the Vatican. (photo: CNS/L’Osservatore Romano via Reuters)

Heads of Eastern churches to meet in summit (VIS) Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, prefect of the Congregation for the Eastern Churches, announced in his address at the opening of the new academic year of the Pontifical Oriental Institute that a summit meeting of the patriarchs and major archbishops of the Eastern churches of Syria, Iraq and the Middle East will be held in the Vatican, in the presence of Pope Francis, on 21 November. The meeting, which will take place from 19 to 22 November, will take as its general theme “The Eastern Catholic churches, 50 years after Vatican Council II…”

Jesuits on the Syrian conflict: Let’s stop arms dealers (Fides) In order to understand and stop the conflict in Syria, “one should recognize and call by name the real interests at stake — at a local, regional and international level — that do not correspond to the interests of the Syrian people,” the Provincial Superiors of the Jesuits of the Middle East and Europe said in a recent statement. The Jesuit provincials dwell in particular on arms trafficking as triggering and feeding the violence in the Middle East…

Orthodox bishop appeals to rescue the people of Qalamoun (AsiaNews) The Syriac Orthodox Bishop Silvanus Boutros Naame issued an appeal on behalf of the approximately 3,000 residents of Sadad and Hofar, in the Qalamoun region of Syria, near the border with Lebanon. The bishop asks that they that they be saved from siege and moved to safe places “in any direction, either towards the Convent of Al Attieh or towards the city of Homs, where we may welcome them…”

Beleaguered Syrian Christians fear future (Denver Post) The shelling and recent rebel assaults on predominantly Christian towns have fueled fears among Syria’s religious minorities about the growing role of Islamic extremists and foreign fighters among the rebels fighting against President Bashar al Assad’s rule. Al Qaeda-linked fighters have damaged and desecrated churches in areas they have seized. In Raqqa, militants set fires in two churches and knocked the crosses off them, replacing them with the group’s black Islamic banner. Radical Islamists also torched an Armenian church in the northern town of Tel Abyad on Sunday, according to the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights…

Syria polio outbreak confirmed by WHO (BBC) The World Health Organization has confirmed ten cases of polio in war-torn Syria — the first outbreak in the country in 14 years. The United Nations body says a further 12 cases are still being investigated. Most of the 22 people who have been tested are babies and toddlers. Before Syria’s civil war began in 2011, some 95 percent of children were vaccinated against the disease. The U.N. now estimates 500,000 children have not been immunized…

Patriarch: Interreligious relations in Serbia ‘harmonious’ (B92) The head of the Serbian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Irinej, has described interreligious relations in Serbia as “harmonious.” Patriarch Irinej last week headed a Serbian delegation on a visit to Jakarta, Indonesia. According to Tanjug, the patriarch said “there are no such [harmonious] relations in Kosovo and Metohija, where ethnic Albanians declared independence unilaterally.” The patriarch and his Indonesian hosts “agreed that religious conflicts occur when politicians abuse religious issues,” according to the news agency…

Tags: Pope Francis Middle East Christians Syrian Civil War Ecumenism Serbian Orthodox Church