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Current Issue
September, 2018
Volume 44, Number 3
  
23 April 2018
J.D. Conor Mauro




Cardinal Timothy Dolan visits a refugee camp just east of Zahleh, Lebanon. (photo: Michael La Civita)

An update on Lebanon from Cardinal Timothy Dolan (Cardinaldolan.org) When I put pen to paper ten days or so ago, writing my column for Catholic New York, I mentioned that I was on my way to Lebanon, and would report to you upon my return. Here goes . . . There we went, the three of us — Bishop William Murphy, retired Bishop of Rockville Centre; the Archbishop of Vancouver, Canada, Most Reverend Michael Miller, and me — as members of the board of Catholic Near East Welfare Association (CNEWA), a nine-decade-old acclaimed but behind—the-scenes initiative of the church, to offer support to the fragile, small Eastern Catholic churches, centered mostly in the Mideast, but alive as well in Central and Eastern Europe, India, and Ethiopia (with members who have left their country of origin flourishing as well around the world)…

Syriac Orthodox Church calls for release of abducted archbishops (AINA) The Syriac Orthodox Archdiocese of Beirut called for the release of two kidnapped archbishops Saturday on the fifth anniversary of their abduction in Syria. Gunmen abducted Aleppo’s Greek Orthodox Archbishop Paul Yazigi and Syriac Orthodox Archbishop Yohanna Ibrahim in April 2013 while the two church leaders traveled to the northern Syrian city from the Turkish border…

Syrian state TV claims rebels are set to quit enclave near Damascus (Christian Today) Syrian state TV said on Saturday that rebels had agreed to surrender an enclave northeast of Damascus and go to opposition areas at the border with Turkey…

Church attacked by mob in Egypt after applying for government license (AINA) A church that recently applied for a government license in Egypt’s Beni Suef governorate has been attacked by villagers on the same day a committee came to inspect the building. World Watch Monitor has reported that the Virgin Mary and Pope Kyrillos VI Church in Beni Meinin was attacked on 14 April, just after inspectors from the Building Authority Committee came to visit the building. The church, which has 700 members, has been in use for a decade, and it had applied for an expansion of the building…

How Egypt’s stubborn poverty threatens Sisi’s grip (Christian Science Monitor) Despite his landslide reelection last month and renewed talk of constitutional amendments to make him president for life, Egyptian strongman Abdel Fattah al Sisi’s grip on power is far from absolute as he enters his second term. Analysts warn that the retired general is presiding over a much more uncertain Egypt than when he first rose to power in a 2013 coup…

Tug of war between Poroshenko and Hilarion for Ukrainian Orthodox (AsiaNews) Discussions have been multiplying for days on the attempt by Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko to force the hand of Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople, to completely detach the Orthodox Church still linked to the Russian Patriarchate from Moscow and form a single autocephalous Ukrainian jurisdiction, in which all the souls of local orthodoxy converge. According to a statement issued on 17 April by Metropolitan Hilarion, the leaders of the Moscow Patriarchate “have no element to confirm or refute the existence of a negotiation between the President of Ukraine and the Patriarch of Constantinople”…

Armenia Prime Minister Serzh Sargsyan resigns amid protests (Al Jazeera) Armenia’s newly elected prime minister has resigned following days of protests against his government, according to the politician’s website. In the past 10 days, thousands of anti-government protesters took to the streets in the capital, Yerevan…



Tags: Syria Egypt Lebanon Ukraine Armenia

20 April 2018
Greg Kandra




In this image from 2016, Syrian refugees stand in snow outside their tents in Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley. Lebanon continues to bear the brunt of absorbing massive numbers of refugees. A leading international rights group now reports that the refugees are being evicted from towns in Lebanon. (photo: CNS/Lucie Parsaghian, EPA)

Rights group says Lebanon is “evicting” Syrian refugees (AP) A leading international rights group says Syrian refugees are increasingly being evicted from towns in Lebanon without any legal basis. Human Rights Watch says local officials have been sending the Syrians eviction notices and using the police to intimidate them into leaving to other towns…

New terrorist group emerging in Syria (Business Insider) With up to 90% of its territory lost, ISIS appears effectively defeated as a conventional foe. But while the black flag of ISIS is being lowered, another may soon take its place — the white flag of Hay’at Tahrir al Sham. A new report in the Wall Street Journal details H.T.S.’s rise as it consolidates power in northwest Syria. Led by a former Al Qaeda militant, H.T.S. is mostly based in Syria’s Idlib Governorate and has taken advantage of the U.S.-led coalition’s focus on ISIS in the East, as well as the Syrian government and Russia’s focus on other parts of the country…

Gaza youth dies after protest near border (AP) The Health Ministry says the 24-year-old was killed in a border area in northern Gaza on Friday. Earlier in the day, a 25-year-old man was shot and killed in the same area. It says 40 protesters were wounded by gunfire or overcome by tear gas fired by Israeli troops from across the border fence…

New photos show destruction to ancient site in Syria (The Guardian) French archaeologists have been excavating at Mari since 1933, the most recent expedition running until 2010 when the Arab Spring and growing unrest made the site inaccessible. In light of the level of damage now evident, perhaps it’s worth sparing a moment to look at why Mari matters to archaeologists, historians and the cultural heritage of Syria…



Tags: Syria Lebanon Gaza Strip/West Bank Historical site/city

19 April 2018
Greg Kandra




On 19 April, Indian students in Amritsar join in protests calling for justice for rape victims and an end to sexual predation. (photo: Narinder Nanu/AFP/Getty Images)

Protesters march against India’s rape crisis (UCANews.com) Priests, nuns and lay Catholics were among thousands of people who joined a candlelight march in India to express solidarity with the nationwide outrage over gang rape and murders, especially of minor girls. About 1,500 people including children and the elderly from various religions marched through Bhopal, the capital of Madhya Pradesh state, on 16 April…

How Lebanon is teaching refugees to thrive (The National) Grassroots activists are doing what they can to ease the most crushing impacts of poverty and prepare Syrians in Lebanon for the future. One such organization is Maps (Multi-Aid Programs), run by an inspirational 33-year-old neurosurgeon, Dr Fadi Alhalabi. Having fled Damascus himself in 2013, he knows all too well the difficulties facing his compatriots as they attempt to rebuild lives shattered by war…

Ukraine moves to split church from Russia as elections approach (Reuters) Ukraine’s Orthodox church could become independent of Moscow under the terms of a presidential initiative lawmakers approved on Thursday, a move that President Petro Poroshenko said would make it harder for Russia to meddle in Ukrainian affairs. The Moscow Patriarchate is part of the Russian Orthodox Church and has a sizeable following in Ukraine…

Archbishop says special Mass for Christians in the Middle East (CNS) As a sign of solidarity with religious minorities who have been victims of Islamic State-led genocide, Archbishop Leonard P. Blair of Hartford celebrated a special Mass for persecuted Middle Eastern Christians on 15 April at St. Mary Church. He welcomed Bishop Bawai Soro, who heads the Chaldean Catholic Eparchy of Mar Addai of Toronto and is a native of Iraq. He delivered the homily and also proclaimed the Gospel in Aramaic, the language spoken by Jesus…

Child marriage doubles among Syrian refugees in Jordan (Middle East Monitor) Child marriage among Syrian refugees has more than doubled in the last four years according to new data released by Jordan’s court system. War, poverty and economic instability have been major factors in the increase in under age marriage throughout the Middle East…



Tags: India Ukraine Middle East Christians Ukrainian Orthodox Church Women in India

18 April 2018
Greg Kandra




Pope Francis speaks during his general audience in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican on 18 April. He encouraged those taking part in the World Bank meeting in Washington to promote the life of the poor. (photo: CNS/Paul Haring)

Pope urges economic leaders to favor inclusion and promote the lives of the poor (Vatican News) Pope Francis expressed hope that the upcoming World Bank Meeting may yield positive results that favor “an authentic integral development that is respectful of human dignity.” Speaking on Wednesday at the conclusion of the General Audience in St. Peter’s Square, the pope mentioned Saturday’s World Bank Spring Meeting in Washington and encouraged participants to make “efforts for financial inclusion that aim to promote the life of the poor…”

Caste plays vital role in Indian election (UCANews.com) Dust plumes waft above poorly maintained roads as legions of motorists head to Ranebennur township in the state of Karnataka in southern India in April ahead of the upcoming polls, where not only religion but caste, too, is expected to take center stage…

OPCW issues statement on Syrian fact-finding mission status (OPCW) “The United Nations Department of Safety and Security (U.N.D.S.S.) has made the necessary arrangements with the Syrian authorities to escort the team to a certain point and then for the escort to be taken over by the Russian Military Police,” the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons clarified today, regarding the investigation of alleged chemical weapon use in Douma. The statement continued: “However, the U.N.D.S.S. preferred to first conduct a reconnaissance visit to the sites, which took place yesterday,” during which a reconnaissance team came under “small arms fire,” it said. “At present, we do not know when the [fact-finding mission] team can be deployed to Douma. Of course, I shall only consider such deployment following approval by the U.N.D.S.S., and provided that our team can have unhindered access to the sites…”

Christian pilgrims to Holy Land get tattoos (CNS) Three generations of the Razzouk family busily attended to Christian pilgrims and tourists packed into a tiny shop to get Christian tattoos to mark their pilgrimages to the Holy Land. The Razzouk family has been tattooing Christian pilgrims in the Holy Land for 500 years — and 200 years before that in Egypt. One of their ancestors, Jeruis, was a Coptic pilgrim to the Holy Land five centuries ago; he fell in love with the land and decided to stay and used his tattooing skills to make a living. The art of tattooing was passed down through the generations, with the methods adapting themselves to the times…

Disabled Palestinian refugee plans to climb Mt. Everest (Al Jazeera) Jarah al Hawamdeh, a Palestinian refugee in Jordan who lost one of his legs to cancer, has vowed to reach the summit of Mount Everest in hopes of saving his cash-strapped school. Al Hawamdeh, 22, who has lost one of his legs to bone cancer, is climbing the world’s tallest mountain to raise funding for the school that gave him an education…



Tags: Syria India Pope Francis Palestinians

17 April 2018
Greg Kandra




In the video above, the Armenian Catholic archbishop of Aleppo expresses the hopes of his people to remain in Syria, despite the ongoing crisis in the country. (video: Rome Reports/YouTube)

Inspectors visit Syria chemical attack site (CBS News) A team of international inspectors entered the town near Damascus that was the scene of an alleged chemical weapons attack in Syria on Tuesday, Syrian state TV reported. They arrived in Douma more than a week after the U.S. government and its allies accused President Bashar al Assad of killing his own people with poison gas in the 7 April attack…

In Iraq, protestors march against missile attacks (NPR) The U.S.-led airstrikes in Syria are having a perhaps unexpected effect in Iraq. Demonstrators gathered yesterday across that country to protest the military action in neighboring Syria…

Indian bishops condemn atrocities committed against women (Vatican News) The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India in a statement signed on Sunday by the Secretary General Bishop Theodore Mascarenhas has said that it is hard to be unmoved by what has happened in Kathua, Unnao, or in any part of the nation where women are raped and murdered…

In Jordan, massive refugee influx and inequality raise questions of identity (Haaretz) At noon, sitting with three of Ismail’s friends — Samir, Ratav and Azz-a-Din, all middle to upper class and in their 60’s — at a fabled Labenese restaurant in Amman, we could chat quietly. If a few years ago I would have had to reserve a lunch table, this time it was almost empty. We walked in from the street and were happily welcomed by the bored waiters. That’s how it is throughout Jordan, says Azz-a-Din: “There’s no movement. There’s no money. There’s no spirit. Even people who have money hesitate to spend it. People are worried…”

Holy See: Women are integral to peacekeeping efforts (Vatican News) Women’s voices must be integrated into all aspects of conflict prevention, peacekeeping and post-conflict operations. That was the message of Archbishop Bernardito Auza, permanent observer of the Holy See to the United Nations in New York on Monday during a Security Council debate on Women, Peace and Security…

Ethiopia races to save its coffee sector from climate change (Xinhua) Aman Adinew, a veteran of the Ethiopian coffee industry, is facing a new challenge as he endeavors to increase the international market share of his Ethiopian specialty coffee. The new challenge is climate change, which has resulted in delays in ripening of coffee seeds in his two coffee farms in Hambela, Guji zone of Oromia, and Gedeb, Gedeo zone of Southern region, according to the CEO of METAD Agricultural Development P.L.C.…



Tags: Syria Ethiopia Farming/Agriculture Armenian Catholic Church Climate change

16 April 2018
Greg Kandra




The video above shows the aftermath of the airstrikes on Syria that were conducted Saturday. The strikes were condemned by three patriarchs in the region. (video: CBS News/YouTube)

Patriarchs condemn attack on Syria (Syriac Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch) “We, the patriarchs: John X, Greek Orthodox patriarch of Antioch and all the East, Ignatius Aphrem II, Syrian Orthodox patriarch of Antioch and all the East, and Joseph Absi, Melkite-Greek Catholic patriarch of Antioch, Alexandria, and Jerusalem, condemn and denounce the brutal aggression that took place this morning against our precious country Syria by the U.S.A., France and the U.K., under the allegations that the Syrian government has used chemical weapons…”

Pope renews his appeal for peace in Syria (Vatican News) At the Regina Coeli on Sunday, Pope Francis once again appealed for peace in Syria. “I am deeply troubled by the current world situation,” the pope said, “in which, despite the instruments available to the international community, there is still difficulty in agreeing to a common action in favor of peace in Syria and other regions of the world…”

Syrian refugees in Lebanon respond to missile strikes (The Daily Star) In parking garages and informal housing south of Sidon city, Syrian refugees gathered around televisions and mobile phone screens throughout Friday night, waiting for any news of an expected international missile strike on Syria. By Saturday afternoon, these refugees were weighing what the strikes meant to them as Syrians, after the United States, France and Britain struck Syrian targets with more than 100 missiles early in the morning, in a move that threatened to further destabilize their home country — and neighboring Lebanon…

Pope accepts resignation of Ukrainian Archbishop Stefan Soroka of Philadelphia (Ukrainian Catholic Archeparchy) On Monday, 16 April 2018, the Vatican Information Service announced that the Holy Father has accepted the resignation for medical reasons of Most Rev. Stefan Soroka, archbishop of Philadelphia for Ukrainians and metropolitan for the Ukrainian Catholic Church in U.S.A. Pope Francis has declared the Archeparchy of Philadelphia as “sede vacante.” Most Rev. Andriy Rabiy has been appointed by Pope Francis as the apostolic administrator of the Ukrainian Catholic Archeparchy of Philadelphia until the appointment of the new archeparch…

Indian bishop honored (Vatican News) A Catholic bishop serving in a corner of the remote northeast Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh, was honored on Friday with the Bharat Gaurav (India Pride) Award in a ceremony in London in recognition for his contribution in the field of education, healthcare, culture, environment and development of the local people. Sanskriti Yuva Sanstha, an NGO with the vision of promoting Indian culture and society, honored Bishop George Palliparambil of Miao Diocese with the Sixth Bharat Gaurav Life Time Achievement Award at the prestigious House of Commons in the British Parliament...



Tags: Syria Syrian Conflict

13 April 2018
Greg Kandra




In this image from July, a boy carries his belongings in Mosul, Iraq. Iraqi officials say hundreds of Iraqis who returned to their homes have started going back to Kurdish refugee camps, because their homes are uninhabitable. (photo: CNS/Thaier Al Sudani, Reuters)

Russia warns of ‘dangerous’ escalation over Syria (BBC) Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said a reported chemical attack in Syria was staged by foreign agents. The U.S. and France have said they have proof it took place, and, alongside the U.K., they are considering launching military retaliation against Syria. Russia, a Syrian ally, has warned the U.S. that air strikes risk a new war…

Finding homes unlivable, some Iraqis return to camps (Voice of America) Hundreds of displaced Iraqis who returned to their homes after the defeat of the Islamic State are now going back to Kurdish refugee camps, due to a lack of services and an impasse in reconstruction, Kurdish and Iraqi officials said. Falah Mustafa Bakir, the Kurdistan region’s foreign relations minister, has announced that about 4,000 displaced civilians mostly from Nineveh province, who went back to their homes after the Iraqi victory over IS last year, have returned to Kurdish refugee camps since January…

Two years on, refugees who flew with the Pope are living the dream (Crux) Since the European refugee crisis broke out in late 2014, more than 500,000 men, women and children have arrived in Italy, most of them on rickety and sometimes lethal boats crossing the Mediterranean, fleeing war, poverty and chronic instability, but others on foot, in vehicles, even on horseback. Only 12, however, can say they flew into il bel paese with the pope…

Indian religious leaders vow to fight hate (UCANews.com) More than 1,500 religious leaders in India concluded a two-day conclave resolving to reach out to the masses with true teachings of their faiths to check increasing religion-based hatred and violence. Representatives of various sects of the Hindu, Muslim, Christian, Sikh, Jain and Buddhist religions and sexual minorities attended the event on 11-12 April in Indore. It was jointly organized by three organizations working for religious harmony…

Dispute over St. Thomas’s visit to Kerala (The Times of India) Another controversy has erupted in the Syro Malabar Church. This time around, the ruckus is over the historical validity of the claim that St. Thomas the apostle had visited Kerala…



Tags: Syria India Iraq Refugees

12 April 2018
Greg Kandra




Bishops Samuel Mar Irenios and Yoohanon Mar Theodosius have been elected coadjutor bishops for the Syro-Malankara Catholic Church in India. (photo: Vatican News/Syro-Malankara Catholic Church)

Two co-adjutor bishops elected in India (Vatican News) The Synod of Bishops of the Syro-Malankara Catholic Church, headquartered in India, has elected two coadjutor bishops. Auxiliary Bishop Samuel Mar Irenios of Trivandrum has been elected Coadjutor Bishop of Pathanamthitta, while Bishop Yoohanon Mar Theodosius, the Curial Bishop of the Major Archdiocese of Trivandrum has been elected the Coadjutor of the Diocese of Muvattupuzha, both in the southern state of Kerala…

U.S. embassy move to Jerusalem stalled (Haaretz) The conversion of the American consulate in Jerusalem into an embassy was exempted from needing a building permit, and a contractor has been chosen to do the work, but the chances of it being completed by Independence Day are slim, TheMarker has learned. The reason is that no funds have been committed for building a wall around the embassy, one of the main safety precautions demanded by the Trump administration…

‘Greater Jerusalem means no churches and no mosques’ (Al Jazeera) Palestinian interfaith officials have warned against monopolizing the city of Jerusalem by the Israeli government and the effects that would have on Christianity and Islam. Hanna Issa, secretary-general of the Palestinian Authority’s Muslim-Christian Committee said that more than 95 percent of Jerusalem had already been “Judaized” by Israel, and that “Greater Jerusalem” would alter the city’s identity and importance to Christians and Muslims…

Syria’s refugee children: futures lost to war (Al Jazeera) Muzoon Almellehan would be an ordinary Syrian girl from Deraa, south of Damascus, dreaming of a future as a journalist, if war hadn’t forced her family of six to flee her home country in 2013. But Muzoon, 20, is no ordinary girl. For the past five years, living as a refugee, she spearheaded a campaign to promote the right of refugee children to an education. She kicked her mission off at the age of 14 in a refugee camp in Jordan, after several of her schoolmates dropped out of school to be married off as child brides…

Syrian refugee describes his flight from ISIS (CNS) A middle-of-the-night phone call — then another — alerted Gabriel Jabbour to the threat. Reluctantly, he packed a few belongings and $3,000 in cash, and fled from Syria with his wife to avoid being publicly executed by Islamic State militants. Now living in Omaha, Jabbour shared the story of his narrow escape and the Catholic faith that sustains him…

The last Greeks of Addis Ababa (Al Jazeera) “Did you know that Ethiopia gets its name from the Greek word Aethiopia, first used by Homer?” Greek Ambassador to Ethiopia Nikolaos Patakias says proudly. Sitting in his office in the capital Addis Ababa, Patakias shows an ancient Greek romantic novel, The Aethiopica. It’s a love story about the relationship between the daughter of the queen of Ethiopia and a Greek descendant of Achilles…



Tags: Syria Ethiopia Jerusalem Syro-Malankara Catholic Church

11 April 2018
Greg Kandra




Relatives of the victims of a school bus accident in India’s Himachal Pradesh mourn their dead. (photo: Vatican News via ANSA)

Indian bishops offer prayers, condolences following school bus accident (Vatican News) India’s Catholic bishops have expressed their condolence at a school bus accident in the Himalayan foothills in the north, in which at least 30 were killed, mostly children. The tragedy occurred about 200 miles from Shimla, the capital of Himachal Pradesh state, when a school bus carrying home some 40 students from their school in Nurpur in Kangra district, plunged some 60 meters into a gorge…

Trump promises strike on Syria (The New York Times) President Trump announced that missiles fired at Syria “will be coming, nice and new and ‘smart!’ ” After the threat, the president said in a separate tweet that relations between the United States and Russia are worse than ever…

Egypt sentences 36 to death for church bombings (The National) Thirty-six people were sentenced to death on Tuesday by an Egyptian military court for their role in a number of deadly church bombings and attacks on security personnel. Prosecutor-General Nabil Sadek referred the accused to an Alexandria military court last May after at least 80 people died in a series of shootings and bomb attacks on Coptic churches in Cairo, Alexandria and the Nile Delta city of Tanta between 2016 and 2017…

Jordan and Lebanon are going broke and Israel should worry (Haaretz) By Middle East standards, Jordan is a citadel of stability, and even though the threat of war with Hizbollah is ever-present, Lebanon has been a placid place since its own civil war ended in 1990. That may be about to change. Jordan and Lebanon have been living on borrowed time economically, which has left them saddled with unsustainably high levels of debt. Now they have little choice but to take unpopular measures like tax hikes and subsidy cuts…

Women religious share stories of being on the frontlines (Vatican News) Women religious, working in some of the world’s worst conflict zones, are sharing their stories on Wednesday at a seminar organized by the U.S. Embassy to the Holy See. Jointly sponsored by the International Union of Superiors General and Solidarity with South Sudan, the encounter will highlight the vital, yet often unseen, work of sisters serving in some of the most deprived communities in countries across the globe…

Vatican urges Buddhists and Christians to work together (Vatican News) The Vatican is inviting the world’s Buddhists and Christians to work together to combat and prevent the “heinous crime” of corruption by eradicating its underlying causes. The Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue made the call in a message released on Wednesday in view of the upcoming Buddhist festival of Vesakh…

The sweet traditions of Russian Orthodox Easter (NPR) Abby Slater is forming a dough of milk, sugar, yeast and flour. It’s Slater’s first time making Easter bread. She’s observed and helped her Aleut family make it many times before though. “My earliest memory of Easter bread was actually later in life, because we didn’t reconnect with my aunt until I was a little bit older,” Slater said. “She was the one who had the recipe for the Easter bread. My grandma died before I was born, my native grandma, my kukax. So she didn’t get to pass that along to us grandkids.” The recipe her aunt uses is the same the family has been using for generations…



Tags: Syria India Egypt Lebanon Jordan

10 April 2018
Greg Kandra




In the video above, Pope Francis blesses a statue of the Armenian St. Gregory of Narek in the Vatican Gardens. (video: Rome Reports/YouTube)

Trump pledges ‘forceful’ response following Syria attack (BBC) U.S. President Donald Trump has promised a “forceful” response to the alleged chemical attack in Syria, as Western leaders consider what action to take. “We have a lot of options militarily,” he told reporters. He added that a response would be decided “shortly”…

Iran-Israel conflict escalates in shadow of Syrian civil war (The New York Times) Israel on Monday appeared to have escalated its shadow war in Syria against Iran, with a predawn airstrike against a military base that coordinates Iranian-backed militias, killing four Iranian military advisers. The dead included a colonel who served as a senior officer in Iran’s drone program, according to Iranian news reports…

Residents of Jerusalem neighborhood petition high court against new embassy (Times of Israel) A group of residents whose homes overlook the American consulate in Jerusalem submitted a petition to the High Court on Sunday against plans to open the new U.S. Embassy there on 14 May…

Outcry as religious leaders become state ministers in India (UCANews.com) Muslim and Christian leaders in India have slammed Madhya Pradesh state government for according “minister of state” status to five Hindu religious leaders in what many called a deadly mix of religion and politics in an election year. The central state’s government, run by the pro-Hindu Bharatiya Janata Party (B.J.P.), last week gave minister status to the leaders even though they have not contested or won any election…

Indian faith leaders condemn exploitation of religion (Vatican News) Leaders of six major religions in India came together last week and called for an end to branding people as patriotic or unpatriotic based on religion, region or community, amid increasing attempts to exploit religious sentiments for political gains. Leaders of Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Jain, Muslim and Sikh communities gathered on 5 April in Margao in the western state of Goa to express their dismay at communal tension building in states such as Bihar, West Bengal, Rajasthan and Odisha, ahead of crucial elections…

Pope blesses statue of Armenian saint (CNS) During a brief ceremony in the Vatican Gardens, Pope Francis blessed a new statue of a tenth-century Armenian monk he had declared a “doctor of the church” in 2015. Blessing the bronze statue of St. Gregory of Narek on 5 April capped off a series of morning meetings with Armenian political and religious dignitaries, beginning with Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan…



Tags: Syria India Jerusalem United States





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