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Current Issue
Summer, 2014
Volume 40, Number 2
imageofweek From the Archive
In this 1996 image, children attend a festival in New York celebrating Greek heritage. (photo: Karen Lagerquist)
  
23 October 2014
Greg Kandra




In the video above, Iraqi refugees pouring into Jordan describe their struggles. To offer support during these trying times, visit our giving page. (video: Rome Reports)

ISIS threatens Iraq’s cultural heritrage (CNN) Thousands of years before the birth of Christ, the people of Mesopotamia mastered the first writing system, mathematics, astronomy, literature and law. Iraq’s past, however, is threatened by the nightmare of its present. ISIS is not only at war with the Iraqi state, it’s also at war with Iraq’s very identity — blowing up religious shrines, slaughtering and enslaving minorities such as the Yazidis, Christians and Turkmen, and executing its enemies...

Airstrikes in Syria have killed more than 500 people (The Telegraph) A month of US-led air strikes on Syria has now killed more than 500 jihadists, according to activists monitoring the conflict. As allied jets continue to bombard positions of Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil) around the besieged Kurdish town of Kobane, the Syrian Observatory of Human Rights said it had recorded a total of 553 dead since the air raids started in late September. Of those 32 were civilians, including women and children — mainly in towns further south such as Raqqa, the de facto headquarters of Isil, and around other targets such as oilfields. But 464 members of ISIS had been killed, many around Kobane. The number is thought to include sizeable numbers of foreign fighters, including a number of Britons...

Gaza rebuilding slowed by delays (News24) Several dozen tons of cement bags stored in a warehouse are one of the few tangible achievements so far of a $2.7bn plan to rebuild war-wrecked Gaza Strip. The programme was launched with high expectations at an international conference in Cairo on 12 October, but has run into obstacles, including wrangling between the rival Palestinian factions Hamas and Fatah for control in Gaza and what officials say has been a trickle of promised aid. Hardest hit by delays are tens of thousands of Gazans living in communal shelters or the ruins of their homes since the summer war between Israel and the Islamic militant Hamas destroyed or damaged some 100 000 homes...

As elections approach, Catholic leaders say they see a new Ukraine (CNS) The task of the Catholic Church is not only to teach people how to pray, but how to live authentically Christian lives, two leaders of the Ukrainian Catholic Church said. The church’s ministers also have an obligation to accompany, support and minister to their followers in the midst of strife and even danger, said Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk, major archbishop of Kiev-Halych, and 81-year-old Cardinal Lubomyr Husar, the retired head of the church...

Can Christians celebrate Diwali? (Deseret News) With a South Asian population of about three million, there are significant Diwali celebrations going on throughout the U.S. this week. Local Hindu and Jain temples and Sikh gurudwaras will host Diwali celebrations featuring hundreds of lights and lanterns, Indian curries and festive music played on harmoniums (keyboard), tablas (drum) and tambours (a stringed instrument). For many Asian Indians living in the diaspora, Diwali is not only religious, but steeped in socio-cultural significance and celebrations of South Asian identity. With this in mind Pramod Aghamkar, Executive Director of Satsang Ministries, started celebrating “Christian Diwalis” a few yeas ago in Dayton, Ohio. The Christian Diwali in Dayton is an effort on his part to immerse himself in native Asian-Indian culture and add the concepts and ideologies of the Christian worldview...

Dunkin Donuts in India: chickpea, saffron and chili (The Atlantic) The globalized world may not be flat, but it is round. And also frosted. And also, it must be said, delicious. In 2012, Dunkin’ Donuts — that quintessentially American purveyor of that quintessentially American thing, larded sugar-dough — launched in India. The 34 stores that are now spread across the country sell many products that will be familiar to American consumers: coffee, bagels, sandwiches, and, yep, doughnuts. They also sell items that were formulated specifically for Indian consumers: veggie burgers, lychee coolattas, and spicy sandwiches. The menu deviates so far from U.S. stores’ traditional breakfast-y fare that, in India, the chain brands itself as “Dunkin’ Donuts and More”...



Tags: Syria India Iraq Ukraine Gaza Strip/West Bank

22 October 2014
Greg Kandra




A Kurdish fighter undergoes training by British soldiers at a shooting range on 16 October in the northern Iraqi town of Erbil. (photo: CNS/Azad Lashkari, Reuters)

How ISIS is devastating Iraq’s schools (AP) Iraqi students went back to school on Wednesday amid tightened security as the academic year began a month late because thousands of people displaced by last summer’s onslaught by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) had taken shelter in school buildings. In the areas of northern and western Iraq captured by the extremist group earlier this year — including the country’s second largest city Mosul — students are not required to attend classes, but will be able to watch lectures on state-run TV to prepare for final exams, Education Ministry spokeswoman Salama al-Hassan said. She told The Associated Press only a few schools are still occupied by displaced families and that authorities have set up trailers to be used as classrooms...

Holy See reaffirms support for two-state solution (Vatican Radio) The situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian question, was the subject of the address given to the United Nations in New York by the Holy See’s Permanent Observer Archbishop Bernardito Auza...

Cold winter looms in Ukraine (Vatican Radio) Ukraine is preparing for a cold winter after Kiev and Moscow failed to conclude a deal on resuming Russian gas deliveries to the country. Russian and Ukrainian officials say they will meet again next week in Brussels as they could not hammer out an agreement in the Belgian capital...

Wars begin in a jealous heart, pope says (CNS) All wars begin in the human heart — a heart that is jealous and bitter and tears apart communities through misunderstandings and marginalization, Pope Francis said. “How wonderful if we would remember more often who we are, what Jesus Christ did with us: We are his body,” members of the church filled with the Holy Spirit’s gift of new life in Christ and united in fellowship and love, he said at his weekly general audience in St. Peter’s Square on 22 October. The day also marked the feast day of St. John Paul II, who “invited everyone to open the doors to Christ,” said Pope Francis, who had canonized the Polish pope in April...

30 years later: looking back at the Ethiopian famine (BBC) It is 30 years since Ethiopia was in the grip of one of the worst famines to ever hit the country. Shocking pictures filmed by a BBC News team sparked a global effort to raise funds to help...

Christmas without commerce in Kerala (The Telegraph) Christmas in Kerala, jewel of the Malabar Coast, is different. It was my wife’s idea to experience Christmas in another culture where, we hoped, the celebrations would be more spiritual than commercial. Hence our festive-season passage to India. Kerala is an odd place. Nominally communist in its politics, it is one of the most religious places on Earth, with large Hindu, Muslim and Christian communities in which devotions are integral parts of life...



Tags: Iraq Ukraine Ethiopia Palestine Kerala

21 October 2014
Greg Kandra




In this image from May, Pope Francis and Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople attend an ecumenical celebration in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. The two are scheduled to meet again next month in Turkey. (photo: CNS /Paul Haring)

Vatican confirms papal visit to Turkey next month (Reuters) Pope Francis will travel to Turkey next month, the Vatican said on Tuesday, his first visit to the predominantly Muslim country which has become a refuge for Christians fleeing persecution by Islamic State militants in neighboring Syria and in Iraq. During his three-day visit, the pope will meet with Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan and Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu. He will also meet Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I, the Istanbul-based spiritual leader of the Orthodox churches that make up the second-largest Christian church family after Roman Catholicism...

Iran president pledges support for Iraq (AP) Iranian President Hassan Rouhani promised on Tuesday that Iran will stand by Iraq in the neighboring country’s fight against the Sunni extremists of the Islamic State group. Rouhani told visiting Iraqi Prime Minister Heidar al-Abadi that Iran “will remain on the path until the last day,” according to a report by the official IRNA news agency. Rouhani says Iran will continue to provide Baghdad with military advisers and weapons. He also criticized the U.S. for allegedly failing to sufficiently support Iraq against an escalating Sunni insurgency...

More details emerge from consistory discussion on Middle East (Vatican Radio) Pope Francis convened a Consistory of Cardinals on Monday morning in the Vatican. The Holy Father expanded the agenda of the meeting to include discussion of the ongoing crisis in the Middle East. At a briefing following the morning session, the Director of the Press Office of the Holy See, Fr. Federico Lombardi, SJ, explained that the participants, among whom were counted the Patriarchs of the Oriental Catholic Churches present and based in the region, used the occasion to speak broadly of the challenges facing Christians throughout the entire Middle East, to express gratitude for the spiritual closeness of the Universal Church to their sorely tried communities, and to reiterate the need to foster dialogue, protect the rights of all people regardless of religious affiliation, and search for solutions that respect and further the common good...

Ukraine’s president condemns plans for elections (Vatican Radio) Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko says Russia has agreed to resume natural gas deliveries to his nation for the winter following concerns that a permanent halt in supplies over a pricing dispute could impact the rest of Europe. However tensions remain with Russia over eastern Ukraine where pro-Russian separatists have announced early elections...

Turkey to allow soldiers from Kurdistan to transit Turkey (Vatican Radio) Intense fighting has broken out yet again in the embattled town of Kobani in Syria, on the border with Turkey. The increase in intensity follows two days of relative calm after Kurdish forces defending the city pushed back Islamic State fighters with the help of US air support. The Turkish government has announced that it will allow Peshmerga fighters from neighboring Iraqi Kurdistan to transit Turkey and reinforce the defenders of Kobani...

Hamas claims it has resumed building tunnels in Gaza (Haaretz) Hamas has reportedly resumed digging tunnels throughout the Gaza Strip in preparation for its next battle with Israel. According to the Hamas-affiliated website Arsalanet, tunnel construction has resumed, since they provide the organization, and particularly its military wing, with strategic depth...



Tags: Iraq Pope Francis Ukraine Vatican Turkey

20 October 2014
Greg Kandra




Retired Pope Benedict XVI greets Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk of Kiev-Halych, leader of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, at the beatification Mass of Blessed Paul VI celebrated by Pope Francis in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican on Sunday 19 October. (photo: CNS/Paul Haring)

Pope: Middle East without Christians is unthinkable (Vatican Radio) Pope Francis convened a Consistory of Cardinals on Monday morning in the Vatican. Originally scheduled in order to proceed with the causes of candidates for beatification, the Holy Father expanded the agenda of the meeting to include discussion of the ongoing crisis in the Middle East. In remarks to the gathered Cardinals at the morning session of the gathering, the Holy Father focused on the need for constant prayer and effective advocacy in favor of peace, and for specific attention to the plight of Christians there...

Australia to deploy forces in Iraq to battle ISIS (BBC) Australia has reached an agreement with Iraq to allow 200 special forces personnel to train local troops to fight against Islamic State militants. Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said the military would now decide when to deploy the special forces group. The unit has been waiting in United Arab Emirates for a month, amid a legal row between the two sides. Australia is a major contributor to the US-led coalition against Islamic State, which controls parts of Syria and Iraq...

Amnesty International deplores abuses on both sides in Ukraine (BBC) Human rights group Amnesty International says there is evidence of atrocities committed by both warring sides in eastern Ukraine, but not on the scale reported by Russia. It said “strong evidence” implicated government forces in the killing of four men near rebel-held Donetsk...

Pope Francis beatifies Pope Paul VI (Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Sunday celebrated the Closing Mass for the Extraordinary Synod on the Family. During the Mass in Saint Peter’s Square, the Holy Father beatified his predecessor, Pope Paul VI, whom he described as a “great Pope,” a “courageous Christian” and a “tireless apostle”...

Cardinal sends message of inclusion to Hindus (VIS) “Christians and Hindus: together to foster a culture of inclusion” is the theme of the message addressed to followers of Hinduism by Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, president of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, on the occasion of Deepavali, the festival of lights, to be celebrated on 23 October this year...



Tags: Syria India Iraq Ukraine Middle East

17 October 2014
Greg Kandra




Civilians and a member of forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar Assad make their way through rubble and debris of destroyed buildings 7 October near Damascus.
(photo: CNS/Omar Sanadiki, Reuters)


Iraq imposes curfew (AP) The Iraqi government imposed a curfew in the western city of Ramadi on Friday over fears that the Islamic State group might try to advance on the strategically important city. The curfew began at midnight as part of an effort to limit movement in and out of the city as government forces prepared to eliminate pockets of resistance there, said Sabah Karhout, the chairman of the Anbar provincial council. Ramadi, the capital of the vast Sunni-dominated province of Anbar, is located 115 kilometers (70 miles) west of Baghdad...

Report: ex-Iraqi pilots training Syrians (AP) Former Iraqi air force pilots are training extremists from the Islamic State group to fly three warplanes captured earlier from air bases belonging to the Syrian army, a Syrian activist group said Friday. The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the planes, seen flying over the Jarrah air base in the eastern countryside of Aleppo province this week, are believed to be of the MiG-21 and MiG-23 variety...

Leaflets announce threats against Ukrainian clergy (RT) Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate has been receiving threats, including that of violence against the clergy, as radical nationalist movements try to take over churches and force them under the Kiev Patriarchate...

Pope sends message on World Food Day (VIS) World Food Day, held on 16 October, was instituted in 1979 by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) in order to raise public awareness and strengthen solidarity in the fight against hunger, malnutrition and poverty. To mark the occasion, the Holy Father sent a message to the director general of the FAO, Jose Graziano da Silva...

Pope to beatify Pope Paul VI on Sunday (Vatican Radio) Pope Francis will officially declare Pope Paul VI Blessed on Sunday, 19 October during the closing Mass of the 3rd Extraordinary Synod of Bishops on the family...



Tags: Syria Iraq Pope Francis Ukraine

16 October 2014
Greg Kandra




In the video above, two patriarchs from the Middle East say they believe ISIS has no future
in their region. (video: Rome Reports)


Report: Catholic church in Qaraqosh bombed (Fides) The bombings carried out iby the U.S.-led coalition against posts of the Islamic State have hit and devastated the Church of the Resurrection, near the town of Qaraqosh, inhabited mainly by Christian Syriac Catholics before falling under the control of the jihadists of the IS. The news, reported by Arab sites such as ankawa.com, has been confirmed by local sources to Fides Agency...

Patriarchs call for recognition of Armenian genocide (Fides) The leaders of the Armenian Apostolic Church and the Syrian Orthodox Church are turning to the whole Christian world and the international community, seeking recognition and condemnation of the crimes committed against Armenians and Syriac Christians in 1915...

Gaza rebuilding faces obstacles (BBC) Winter is coming in Gaza, and the long nights and heavy rains will deepen the misery of thousands of families whose homes were destroyed in the fighting of summer. Newly homeless in a place already peopled with the descendants of refugees from the war that followed Israel’s creation in 1948, their plight is desperate...

Putin set for talks on Ukraine (Christian Science Monitor) With a temporary cease-fire barely holding in eastern Ukraine and winter approaching, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko have agreed to hold talks in Italy this week...

Priest charges Christian minorities in India are under serious threat (CNA) With the election of Narendra Modi of the Hindu “Bharatiya Janata Party” (BJP) as prime minister of India the country’s secular constitution has come under threat, a Catholic priest in India has charged. Father Ajay Kumar Singh, a human rights activist in Kandhamal District in the East Indian state of Odisha (formerly Orissa), warned of the growing influence of radical Hindu forces on the Indian subcontinent...

Boom times for Ethiopian coffee shops (BBC) As Ethiopia’s economy continues to expand strongly, more people — led by young professionals in the capital Addis Ababa — are buying pre-roasted beans, or visiting coffee shops to have their favourite drink made for them. It means boom times for the country’s independent coffee roasters and cafes, who have seen their numbers rise and some are even looking to expand overseas...



Tags: Syria Iraq Ukraine Gaza Strip/West Bank Armenia

15 October 2014
Greg Kandra




In the video above, Christians take up arms to protect villages in Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley that could come under attack from ISIS or Wahhabi militants. (video: Eretz Zen)

Patriarch: help Iraqi Christians, stop violent rhetoric (Vatican Radio) While issues of everyday concern to families are on the agenda at the extraordinary Synod on the Family, one participant has come to Rome with a very sinister tale to tell. It’s the plight of tens of thousands of Iraqi Christian families who fled for their lives to escape from Islamic State militants. Few think they will ever return home. That’s according to Archbishop Ignatius Joseph III Younan, Patriarch of Antioch and All the East of the Syriac Catholic Church who was eager to speak to Vatican Radio outside the Synod hall....

ISIS continues to advance in Iraq, Syria (AFP) Jihadists pushed to seize Syria’s Kobani and an Iraqi town close to Baghdad Wednesday as Washington warned of a long fight against the steadily advancing ISIS. In the town of Kobani on the Turkish border, the jihadists have been holding out in fighting with Kurdish militia despite stepped-up U.S.-led air strikes, and calls have been growing for Turkey to take action. In Iraq, ISIS militants were closing on the town of Amriyat al-Fallujah, one of the last still controlled by the government in the troubled Anbar province and only 35 kilometers (20 miles) from Baghdad...

Dozens injured in protests in Kiev (Vatican Radio) More than a dozen police have been injured and dozens of protesters detained in massive clashes between nationalists and security forces near Ukraine’s parliament in Kiev where deputies voted down proposals to recognize a controversial World War II-era Ukrainian partisan group as national heroes...

Egypt, Israel allow aid supplies into Gaza (Egypt Daily News) Egypt and Israel allowed the transfer of hundreds of tons of supplies to the Gaza Strip on Tuesday, at the height of concerted international efforts to rebuild the strip...

Anger as minister says Christian, Muslim dalits should be denied jobs (UCANews.com) Christian and Muslim leaders lashed out Monday after India’s minister for social justice said the government would not be granting job reservation rights to “untouchables” who converted...



Tags: Syria Egypt Iraq Ukraine Gaza Strip/West Bank

14 October 2014
Greg Kandra




With the Extraordinary Synod of Bishops underway in the Vatican, Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk, head of the Ukrainian Catholic Church, discusses major challenges the family faces today.
(video: CNS)


Vatican to UN: Middle East minorities need our protection (Vatican Radio) “The alarming, escalating phenomenon of international terrorism, new in some of its expressions and utterly ruthless in its barbarity” demands “a deeper and more urgent study on how to re-enforce the international juridical framework of a multilateral application of our common responsibility to protect people from all forms of unjust aggression.” This is according to Archbishop Bernardito Auza, the Holy See’s Permanent Observer to the United Nation’s in New York. Abp. Auza’s comments were part of an address delivered to the 69th Session on the Rule of Law on Monday...

UN chief: Gaza destruction “beyond description” (Reuters) Israel opened the border to the first postwar truckloads of rebuilding material for Gaza on Tuesday and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon lamented what he called destruction “beyond description” in the Palestinian enclave...

ISIS captures Iraqi army camp as bombs hit Baghdad (AP) Militants of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) on Monday captured a military training camp in western Iraq, inching closer to full control of the restive Anbar province, as a spate of deadly bombings shook Baghdad, hitting mostly Shiite neighborhoods and leaving at least 30 dead. The attacks, which came as Iraqi Shiites marked a major holiday for their sect with families crowding the streets in celebration, raised new concerns that the Sunni militant group is making gains despite U.S.-led coalition airstrikes...

Clashes outside parliament in Kiev (BBC) Ukrainian nationalists have hurled smoke canisters and stones at riot police during clashes outside the parliament in Kiev. Violence erupted when the protesters demanded that MPs pass a law to recognise a World War II nationalist group which opposed Soviet forces. Fifteen policemen were injured and at least 50 protesters had been arrested, the Ukrainian interior ministry said...

India marks centenary of National Council of Churches (South Asia Mail) As part of Centenary celebration programs of the National Council of Churches in India (NCCI) in various regions around the country, Kerala Council of Churches (KCC) hosted a three-day long program in Kottayam and Tiruvalla in late September...



Tags: Syria India Iraq Ukraine Gaza Strip/West Bank

10 October 2014
Greg Kandra




In the video above, Pope Francis calls on Catholics to join him in his “Week of Action” to
end world hunger. (video: Caritas Internationalis)


Priest kidnapped in Syria released (Catholic Herald) A Catholic priest kidnapped by Islamists in Syria has been released, according to the Custody of the Holy Land. Fr Hanna Jallouf, a Syrian, was taken captive in Tuesday by the al-Qaeda linked al-Nusra front, along with 20 parishioners. In a statement the Custody of the Holy Land, the head of the Franciscan in the region, said that “Father Hanna Jallouf has been released this morning. He is under House Arrest at the Convent of Knayeh (Qunayeh).” His current whereabouts is unknown...

Palestinian government convenes in Gaza (The Los Angeles Times) For the first time since 2007, Palestinian Authority officials traveled Thursday from the West Bank to Gaza. Describing the day as “historic,” Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah was set to hold a first meeting of the new unity government that was sworn in in June after a reconciliation accord was signed between the rival Palestinian political factions of Fatah and Hamas...

Pope urges support in fight against world hunger (Vatican Radio) Pope Francis is calling an all Catholics around the globe to join him in his “Week of Action” (12-18 October) to end world hunger. The “Week of Action” is part of Pope Francis’ One Human Family, Food for All campaign with Caritas Internationalis. Your Catholic Voice Foundation, a 501(c)3 corporation, is also supporting this mission by collecting donations for food...

Canada votes to join air strikes against ISIS (The Guardian) Canada’s parliament has voted to authorize air strikes against Isis in Iraq, joining the US-led bombing campaign. The Conservative party of Stephen Harper, the prime minister, introduced the motion last week and it was debated this week. Harper has a majority of seats in parliament so the vote was all but assured. The motion passed on Tuesday by 157 votes to 134. The motion authorizes air strikes in Iraq for up to six months and explicitly states that no ground troops be used in combat operations...

Nuncio in Lebanon shares concerns for region (Vatican Radio) “No more war, no more violations of human rights!” That’s what the Holy See’s Apostolic Nuncio to Lebanon says the international community needs to hear and act on as conflict rages across Syria and Iraq...

Synod releases statement on families affected by war (Fides) The full text of the message of the Third Extraordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops for families who suffer as a result of conflicts is published here: “Gathered around the Successor of the Apostle Peter, we the Synod Fathers of the Third Extraordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, along with all participants, share the paternal concern of the Holy Father, expressing our profound closeness to all the families who suffer as a consequence of the many conflicts in progress. In particular, we raise to the Lord our prayers for Iraqi and Syrian families, forced on account of their profession of the Christian faith or their belonging to other ethnic or religious communities, to abandon everything and flee towards a future without any form of certainty...”



Tags: Syria Lebanon Iraq Pope Francis Gaza Strip/West Bank

8 October 2014
J.D. Conor Mauro




Smoke rises from the Syrian town of Kobane after an air strike, seen from near the Mursitpinar border crossing near Suruç, Turkey, on 4 October. (photo: Stringer/Getty Images)

Syrian Kurds say airstrikes push ISIS back from Kobane (Daily Star Lebanon) U.S.-led air strikes Wednesday pushed ISIS fighters back to the edges of the Syrian Kurdish border town of Kobani, which they had appeared set to seize after a three-week assault, local officials said. The town has drawn international attention since the Islamists’ advance drove 180,000 of the area’s mostly Kurdish inhabitants to flee into adjoining Turkey. Ankara has infuriated its own restive Kurdish minority and its NATO partners in Washington by refusing to intervene…

Air strikes leave 65 civilians dead in Iraq’s Anbar (Fars News) A large number of Iraqi civilians were killed during the massive air strikes launched by the warplanes of the U.S.-led coalition in Anbar province on Monday. A military source told National Iraqi news agency that the strikes on ISIS in the city of Ramadi left 65 civilians dead…

More than 300 killed in Ukraine since cease-fire (Al Jazeera) At least 331 people have been killed in clashes in eastern Ukraine since Kiev and Russian-backed rebels signed agreements to enact a cease-fire and create a demilitarized buffer zone last month, the United Nations said Wednesday. Hostilities persist in the main rebel-held city of Donetsk, as well as around the towns of Debaltseve and Schastye…

The Franciscan priest kidnapped after he had appealed to court (Fides) The Rev. Hanna Jallouf, O.F.M., was kidnapped along with his parishioners after his recent visit to the Islamic Court, the body set up to administer justice according to Islamic law in the areas not controlled by the Syrian government. He had gone to report harassment and abuse the convent had suffered in recent weeks by the brigades of Islamists who control the area…

Greek Orthodox denounce Israeli law on Aramaic Christians as divisive (Ecumenical News) The Greek Orthodox Christian Patriarchate in east Jerusalem has slammed an Israeli law recognizing Aramaic Christians as a nationality, describing it as an attempt to divide the Palestinian minority. The Greek Orthodox Church said in a statement that the law, which separates Christians from Arabs, would split minorities living in Israel, eventually weakening Palestinians, reported The Jerusalem Post. “Palestinian Christians are an important part of the Arab and Palestinian nations; we are proud of the Aramaic identity as it reflects history and culture shaped by Arab Muslims and Christians,” the report quoted Christian Orthodox Church spokesperson Father Issa Musleh as saying…

Pope: Divisions between Christians are wounds in the church (Vatican Radio) Pope Francis appealed for Christian unity on Wednesday at his weekly General Audience. Speaking to the crowds gathered in St. Peter’s Square, the pope invited those present to ask themselves: “Are we resigned, or even indifferent to this division? Or do we firmly believe that we can and we must walk together towards reconciliation and full communion?” Divisions between Christians — he continued — wound the church and wound Christ…



Tags: Syria Ukraine Violence against Christians Israel Christian Unity





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