Current Issue
September, 2017
Volume 43, Number 3
6 September 2012
Greg Kandra

Workers hang a poster of Pope Benedict XVI 4 September in Jounieh as part of the preparation for the pope's 14 to 16 September visit to Lebanon. (photo: CNS/Jamal Saidi, Reuters)

Lebanon security forces on alert ahead of pope’s visit (AFP) Security forces have been placed on alert ahead of Pope Benedict XVI’s visit to Lebanon, riven by religious rivalries and shaken by the conflict in neighboring Syria, the visit’s coordinator said on Wednesday. “All Lebanese security organizations are on a state of alert poised to protect His Holiness the Pope,” who will travel to the eastern Mediterranean country 14 to 16 September, said Father Abdo Abou Kasm.

Archbishop fears for fate of Syrian Christians (ANSA) Christianity is at stake, especially in Syria, Archbishop Chrysostomos said Monday, warning that if extremists prevail in Syria, minorities and Christians will feel the repercussions.

Russian Orthodox leader says believers deserve protection (RT/Russia) Believers should be protected from “trolls” by law, both on the internet and in real life, the Russian Orthodox Church’s representative to the Council of Europe says. Unfortunately we are often witnessing trolling in real life in the form of various performances, public actions and other activities aimed against religious communities. Such actions have repeatedly taken place in France, Italy, Spain, Norway, Russia, Ukraine and other countries,” Igumen Filipp Ryabykh said.

Catholic Church in India warns against visit Tamil Nadu (Asian Tribune) The Catholic Church has issued a travel warning against those visiting Tamil Nadu in India stating it is obvious that Tamil Nadu is currently not a conducive place for Sri Lankans to visit. “All Catholics are hereby adviced to refrain from joining pilgrimages to Trichy for visiting of the Velankanni Shrine,” said the statement in the “Messenger,” an official organ of the Catholic Church. It said the authorities at the Shrine reveal that they are not in a position to guarantee the safety of devotees from Sri Lanka.

For Copts, marriage in church may mean marriage TO the church (Egypt Independent) When Rafek Farouk, cofounder of Copts 38, began to chant against the Coptic Church’s divorce laws inside the church’s headquarters, dogs were brought in to run him and others off the grounds. The Copts 38 activist group was named after a 1938 bylaw which legalized a papal declaration listing ten circumstances under which Copts may divorce. When he ascended to the papacy in 1971, the late Pope Shenouda reduced the permissible grounds to two, although this change was not ratified by the state for nearly four decades. Since then, Copts can only obtain the church’s permission for a divorce and a second marriage if their spouse commits adultery or converts to another Christian sect or a different religion altogether.

Tags: Syria India Lebanon Pope Benedict XVI Russian Orthodox Church

5 September 2012
Greg Kandra

Melkite Greek Catholic Patriarch Gregory III prays during the closing Mass of the Synod of Bishops for the Middle East in St. Peter’s Basilica on 24 October 2010. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

Patriarch calls for “international campaign for reconciliation in Syria” (Fides) “For Syria, reconciliation is the only anchor of salvation.” This is why “an international campaign for reconciliation in Syria” is needed shared by all the Churches in the world: it is the heartfelt plea of the Melkite Greek Catholic Patriarch of Damascus, Gregory III Laham, launched in an open letter, while the situation in Syria degenerates and “the language of violence has swept all other languages.”

Red Cross chief meets with Syrian president over humanitarian crisis (Vatican Radio) Recently-appointed president of the International Committee of the Red Cross (I.C.R.C.) Peter Maurer met with Syrian president Bashar al-Assad Tuesday morning about the current humanitarian crisis in Syria. The three-day visit will focus on the deteriorating humanitarian conditions in Syria, and the challenges faced by the I.C.R.C. in bringing aid to those affected by the conflict, the violence of which has been escalating in recent weeks.

More Russian Orthodox crosses chopped down (The Moscow Times) Someone chopped down a wooden Russian Orthodox cross at the entrance to the mountainous Seminsky Pass in southern Siberia’s Altai republic on Monday night. That same day, nine crosses were found chopped down at a cemetery in Priozersk, Leningrad region.

Maronite bishops call on faithful to turn out for papal visit (Lebanon Daily Star) Maronite bishops called Wednesday for a massive turnout for Pope Benedict XVI’s visit to Lebanon next week. “The Maronite bishops call on the sons and daughters [of the Church] to turn out en masse to welcome his Holiness Pope Benedict XVI ... and be spiritually prepared to accept his guidance and work under his direction ... so that a real spring for Christians and for the region will be achieved,” said a statement issued by the Council of Maronite Bishops at the end of their monthly meeting.

Tags: Syria Lebanon Russian Orthodox Maronite

4 September 2012
Greg Kandra

Major Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk (photo: Vancouver Sun)

Ukrainian leader warns against “moral escapism” during visit to Canada (Vancouver Sun) — Sviatoslav Shevchuk first visited Vancouver 15 years ago as a fresh young priest on an adventure, driving here with friends from San Francisco. This week he makes a return visit as Major Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk.

Coptic Christians ready to be martyrs (America Magazine) — Since the revolution’s onset, over 100,000 Copts have fled Egypt. “Well, I’m not going to leave,” Sami insisted. “Christ is testing us. I tell my friends to stay. Christ could end this suffering, this trial, at any time. How will you feel, I tell my friends, if you’re in Canada instead of Egypt when Christ returns?”

Thousands of Christians take to the streets in India to demand justice (Fides) — About 5,000 Christians took to the streets in Orissa staging a peaceful demonstration to demand justice, on the anniversary of the massacres that hit the Christian community in Kandhamal district in 2008.

Archbishop Chrysostomos says he fears for fate of Christians in Syria (Cyprus Mail) — Archbishop Chrysostomos said yesterday that Christianity in the Middle East and especially in Syria was in danger due to the troubles in the area. “We’re really concerned what will happen to our Christians in the Middle East. ... We’re concerned about the refugees that have left Syria, plenty have gone to Jordan,” said the Prelate.

Patriarch Bechara Rai: Welcome pope to Lebanon by overcoming divisions (Asia News) — Maronite Patriarch Bechara Rai urged the Lebanese not to let their divisions compromise the welcome they will give Pope Benedict XVI when he visits the country between 14 and 16 September.

Tags: Syria Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church Indian Christians Maronite Patriarch Bechara Peter Canada

30 August 2012
Greg Kandra

Patriarch Twal: Pope's trip to Lebanon is for entire region (Vatican Radio)

Clerics call on Christians to stay in Syria (Hurriyet Daily News)

Patriarch releases statement on Daraya attacks (

Russians to raise security at places of worship (Voice of Russia)

A Maronite revival in Israel (Jerusalem Post)

In Kerala, feasting and splurging during Onam (New York Times)

Tags: Syria Lebanon Israel Kerala Russia

29 August 2012
Greg Kandra

Terrorist attack at Christian funeral in Damascus (Fides)

Syrian women, children caught in situation they never imagined (Catholic Register)

Relics of Orthodox saints stolen from St. Petersburg cathedral (The Moscow Times)

Coptic Christian defends accepting role as advisor to Egypt's president (Ahram)

Kerala Catholic bishops calls for celebrating Onam without liquor (The Asian Age)

Tags: Violence against Christians Coptic Christians Saints Indian Bishops Damascus

28 August 2012
Greg Kandra

Greek Catholic archbishop flees Syria for Lebanon (Radio Free Europe)

Lebanon trip could be a papal high-wire act (National Catholic Reporter)

Egyptian president appoints women, Christians to advisory board (Associated Press via Washington Post)

Group claims responsibility for desecrating Russian Orthodox crosses (The Moscow Times)

Ukrainian Catholic leader reaches out to Russian Orthodox (Catholic News Service)

27 August 2012
Greg Kandra

In Syria, residence of metropolitan archbishop looted (Fides)

Turkish government shuts two border crossings to halt flow of Syrian refugees (Washington Post)

In Moscow, vandals attack Russian Orthodox crosses with chainsaws (The Moscow Times)

Two members of anti-Putin punk band flee Russia (Associated Press)

Tags: Syria Refugees Turkey Russian Orthodox

24 August 2012
Greg Kandra

Syrian army retakes Christian areas of Aleppo (AFP)

Russian Orthodox activists form political party aiming to re-establish the monarchy (Interfax)

Heightened security for papal trip to Lebanon (Catholic News Service)

Spate of hate crimes troubles U.S. Muslims (CNN)

Tags: Syria Lebanon Russia Muslim Orthodox

23 August 2012
Greg Kandra

Ethiopian Orthodox patriarch buried (Africa Report)

Body of Ethiopian prime minister returns to his homeland (L'Osservatore Romano)

Syrian capital under siege(Voice of America)

Egypt's Copts celebrate Virgin Mary (Egypt Daily News)

Biblical park in Israel recreates ancient times with donkeys and Wi-Fi (Associated Press)

Tags: Syria Egypt Ethiopia Israel Coptic Christians

22 August 2012
Greg Kandra

Pope sends condolences at passing of Ethiopia's Prime Minister (Vatican Radio)

Nuncio in Syria worried for future (Catholic News Service)

Over 12,000 Christians reported “starving” in Rableh, Syria (Fides)

Christian refugees in Lebanon fear Islamist rebels (Los Angeles Times)

Young Lebanese see Pope's visit as a sign of hope (Catholic News Service)

Christian and Muslim Palestinian women pursue careers in auto racing (AFP)

Kansas opens its first Orthodox Christian school (Wichita Eagle, via

Tags: Syria Lebanon Refugees Ethiopia Palestinians

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