21 November 2011
Ethiopians attend early morning prayer led by monks of Meskaye Hizunan Medhane Alem Monastery in Addis Ababa. (photo: Peter Lemieux)
In the November 2010 issue of ONE, Peter Lemieux explored how Ethiopian Orthodox monasticism now functions in a more modern or urban setting:
Sunrise at the Meskaye Hizunan Medhane Alem Monastery in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia’s capital and largest city, feels anything but contemplative. A cacophony of roaring bus and car engines interrupts the early morning calm. A blur of red brake lights eclipses the rising sun’s soft rays. The compound, which includes a church and an elementary and high school, sits at the heart of the bustling Sidist Kilo neighborhood, home to Addis Ababa University’s main campus. The neighborhood’s urban energy is palpable, even when the city has barely awakened.
Inside the church, worshipers and monks have filled the pews to celebrate the day’s first liturgy. Chants drown out the noise of the street. Incense meanders through the candlelit nave.
As the service concludes, Abbot Melake Girmai leads the monks to the monastery’s refectory. A small army of kitchen staff serves a hearty breakfast — fluffy white injera (spongy bread made from teff), wat (a traditional vegetable and meat stew), fruit, coffee and tea.
Though hardly the lap of luxury, the monks at this urban religious house enjoy comforts unthinkable in the far more ascetic rural monasteries for which Ethiopian Orthodoxy has long been known.
For more from this story see, Relevant or Relic?.
18 November 2011
Tags: Ethiopia Africa Monastery
Each of these three women lost family members in Chechnya’s Second Chechen War in 1999. They came to Georgia along with other refugees. Most of them live in Pankisi Gorge — where Kisti-Georgians settled about 150 years ago after migrating from present day Chechnya.
(photo: Justyna Mielnikiewicz)
Photographer Justyna Mielnikiewicz has spent many years documenting the people of the Caucasus and Georgia in particular. Using images like the one above, she’s helped capture the storied history and dynamic culture of this diverse region. In our November 2009 interview with Mielnikiewicz she shared her goal of documenting life in Georgia.
You can read more about the Caucasus region in Where Europe Meets Asia.
17 November 2011
Tags: War Georgia Eastern Europe Caucasus
Sister Lisi Valloppally, a registered nurse, cares for H.I.V. infected adults at the Grace Home in Kerala. If patients need emergency care or hospitalization, they are sent to the Medical College of Trichur just a few kilometers away. (photo: Peter Lemieux)
In the November 2010 issue of ONE, Peter Lemieux reported on the work of the Nirmala Dasi sisters with children and adults living with H.I.V./AIDS in Kerala.
In addition to caring for H.I.V.-positive children, Grace Home offers temporary inpatient services to H.I.V.-positive adults. “We take in sick patients, patients recently diagnosed or patients who have nowhere to go,” says Sister Lisi. “We try to get them back on their feet and healthy so they can go back to the outside world. Grace Home is not set up for long-term stays.”
Msgr. Vilangadan, however, recognizes the precarious situation in which most of these adults live. “If nobody will accept them, where will they go? They’ll die at the home.”
Sister Lisi spends her afternoons checking in on the home’s 15 to 20 adult patients. She moves swiftly from bedside to bedside, asking questions, checking charts and I.V.’s.
For more about the Grace Home see Full of Grace.
16 November 2011
Tags: India Sisters Kerala HIV/AIDS
An altar server stands near a statue of Jesus in a Syriac Catholic church
outside Stockholm, Sweden. (photo: Magnus Aronson)
Yesterday, two U.S. Bishops suggested ways Americans and Catholics can help the people of Iraq during a press conference at the USCCB’s annual fall meeting in Baltimore:
Bishop Murry said that to aid Iraq he envisioned a “modern-day version of the Marshall Plan, which helped to rebuild Europe after the Second World War.”
“When something comes up that our country and other countries consider important we do find the money,” he said. “Iraq is suffering from the results of the war. The United States and the nations that joined with it in the war can help Iraq rebuild their infrastructure and rebuild their country.”
Bishop Murry added, “We have to be open to Iraqi refugees coming to this country, and to countries in Western Europe.”
For more from this Catholic News story, see Bishops Urge Catholics to Help Iraqis.
In the May issue of ONE, we featured a story on Iraqi refugees in Sweden and the challenges they face.
However, it is the mass repatriation of Iraqi asylum seekers that has panicked Sweden’s Iraqi Christian community, especially in light of the recent string of attacks against Iraq’s Christians — including the massacre in a Baghdad Syriac Catholic cathedral that left 52 dead last October. Currently, some 2,600 Iraqi asylum seekers in Sweden await deportation. Many are Christians with well–founded fears of persecution back home in Iraq. Last October, the European Court of Human Rights issued a statement urging Sweden to suspend the deportations. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, church leaders and human rights activists have also sharply criticized the policy.
For more from this story, see A Nordic Refuge No More by Anna Jonasson. To learn how you can support Iraqis in need, visit our web site.
15 November 2011
Tags: Iraq Iraqi Christians Chaldean Church Emigration
Hierodeacon Andrii presents the gifts during the Divine Liturgy at the 17th-century church of St. Michael the Archangel in Lviv, Ukraine. (photo: Ivan Babichuk)
The primate of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, Major Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk, praised the U.S. Bishops’ annual collection to aid the churches of Eastern Europe yesterday during the USCCB’s annual fall meeting in Baltimore. He noted that the collection “has provided financial support for the development of basic church structures which had been destroyed by the communist regime.” In the September 2003 issue of our magazine, Matthew Matuszak reported on monks also supporting a post-Soviet society in Ukraine:
The newly independent Ukrainian government gave the Studites their church and monastery in 1991 (the mix of structures was built in the 17th century for the Discalced Carmelites, though its most recent occupants had been the K.G.B.).
With a prayer and rest schedule established by the order’s rule, filling eight hours with work was something of an open question in the urban setting of Lviv.
Repair of the neglected church and monastery complex has been a work-in-progress, taking up some of the Studites’ time. But it is the people of Lviv, seeking a good Christian example, who are the monk’s real work. About 1,500 people attend three liturgies at St. Michael’s on Sundays and holy days. Two of the community’s six priests are assigned to parish ministry. The others have special duties in the monastery or the eparchy (diocese). All 26 monks, in varying degrees, are involved in the care of this urban parish in post-Soviet Lviv, a city of 800,000. The parish faithful, in turn, join the monks in prayer and service.
For more from this story see If You Pray, They Will Come .
9 November 2011
Tags: Ukraine Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church Byzantium
Students have lunch at St. Charles School in Achrafieh located in east Beirut. 784 students, Muslim and Christian, attend St. Charles. (photo: Sarah Hunter)
In the July 2008 issue of ONE Spencer Osberg explored the role of Catholic Schools in Lebanon during and after the 2006 Israel-Hezbollah war:
The war is over, but Lebanon’s Catholic educators continue to provide a well-rounded education to all, regardless of creed. Today, the country’s 365 Catholic schools instruct some 200,000 students — about 22 percent of Lebanon’s school-age population — from all of Lebanon’s 18 officially recognized religious communities. Over 25 percent of the total student body is Muslim and, in many schools, Muslim students are the majority. Likewise, the approximately 12,800 teaching staff and 900 administrators employed by the Catholic school system represent every confession.
At Notre Dame College, a school of the Antonine Sisters in the southern village of Nabatieh, most students are Muslim.
“Our students in Nabatieh are as dear to us as our students in Ghazir,” said Sister Dominique. “Muhammad, Hassan, Ahmed, Tony, Joseph or George, it’s the same thing. We do not distinguish between them. We love them all.”
For more from this story see Pillars of Lebanon.
8 November 2011
Tags: Lebanon Beirut Catholic Schools
In this unpublished 2003 photo from our archive, a woman prays at an Orthodox church in
Kamishly, Syria. (photo: Armineh Johannes)
With all of the news of violence and unrest coming from Syria, we want to remind you all to keep the people of Syria in your prayers and thoughts:
The death toll from Syria’s revolt was reported on Tuesday to have mounted significantly as government troops pursued a bloody assault to retake Homs, the country’s third-largest city, where loyalists are facing armed defectors who have prevented the government’s forces from seizing it as they did other restive locales this summer.
The confrontation may stand as one of the most violent episodes of the eight-month uprising.
For more from this story see Death Toll in Syria Mounts as Government Assault Continues on NYTimes.com. To learn more about Syria’s Christian community, check our our feature from last year’s Special Edition on Christians in the Middle East.
7 November 2011
Tags: Syria Middle East Syriac Orthodox Church
A mother and child in Ethiopia wait for food tickets. (photo: Christian Molidor)
Women throughout Ethiopia have struggled for equality for quite some time. Thanks to groups like the Good Shepherd Sisters, there have been some victories in this battle:
One of the sisters’ most successful programs, Delta trains women in community organizing and civic leadership. Hundreds of women have benefited, learning how to be active agents of change in their communities. “People were sitting on their tails,” explained Sister Myriam in a pronounced Irish brogue.
“We told them, ‘You have major problems here, but nothing that can’t be solved. God is here. But God can’t do everything. He’s waiting for you to get off your backside and do something about it.’ ”
For more from this story see, An Uphill Battle by Peter Lemieux.
Meanwhile, at least one young woman from Ethiopia is outrunning her country’s history — and making some history of her own. Firehiwot Dado won the New York City Marathon yesterday. Her finishing time was seconds from the course record set in 2003.
4 November 2011
Tags: Ethiopia Africa
Seminarian Sleiman Hassan, 24, from Fuhais, Jordan, prays after lighting a candle before mass in St. Joseph Parish in Jifna, West Bank. (photo: Debbie Hill)
Today, according to the Latin calendar, is the feast day for Saint Charles Borromeo, a man sometimes called the "Father of the Clergy," and the patron saint of seminarians. In the the March issue of ONE magazine, Michele Chabin reported on the the challenges facing young seminarians in the Holy Land:
“I plan to do pastoral work and I’m preparing myself for the needs of the people,” says Mr. Hassan, a native of Jordan, who attends the Latin Patriarchal Seminary in Beit Jala, a town adjacent to Bethlehem.
“I’ve learned that life isn’t easy here, but the fact that it’s complicated challenges me to find new ways to help people and address their suffering.”
Not until shortly before noon does Mr. Hassan take a break from his duties and rest a little before tackling the three–hour drive back to the seminary.
For more from this story see, To Be a Priest in the Holy Land.
3 November 2011
Tags: Middle East Holy Land Jordan Seminarians Vocations (religious)
An Armenian village in Kessab, Syria, taken in 1997. (photo: Armineh Johannes)
Photographer Armineh Johannes has documented life for Armenians living throughout the Middle East for years. This photo from the Armenian village Kessab is a snapshot of a people who have maintained their traditions and culture outside of their home country. The story Little Armenia profiles Armenians now living in Lebanon:
After the near annihilation of the Armenian community by the Turks between 1895 and 1915 (an estimated 1.5 million Armenians perished), survivors found refuge in French-protected Lebanon and Syria. Most of these refugees settled in Beirut, particularly in the suburb of Bourj Hammoud. Those who settled in rural Lebanon, notably in the village of Anjar in the Bekaa valley, arrived more than two decades later.
Determined to preserve their cultural identity, religion, language and traditions, these Armenian refugees established clubs, schools, churches, hospitals and dispensaries. Today they attend Armenian churches and schools, eat Armenian food, speak Armenian and read Armenian periodicals. Whether members of the Armenian Apostolic, Catholic or Evangelical churches, Lebanon’s Armenians live in harmony. Although tight-knit, they too are affected by the specters of unemployment, emigration and cultural disintegration haunting all Lebanese.
For more from this story, see Little Armenia in the July 2002 issue of the magazine.
Tags: Syria Middle East Armenia