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December, 2017
Volume 43, Number 4
  
29 June 2015
J.D. Conor Mauro




Pope Francis salutes Orthodox Metropolitan John of Pergamon, a hierarch under the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, at the end a mass for the investiture of the pallium on 29 June. (photo: AFP/Filippo Monteforte)

Pope welcomes Orthodox delegation for feast of Sts. Peter and Paul (Vatican Radio) On the feast day of Sts. Peter and Paul, Pope Francis urged 46 new metropolitan archbishops to hear the first apostles’ call to prayer, to faith and to witness. The pope’s words came during his homily at Mass in St Peter’s Basilica, which included several significant ecumenical initiatives…

Historic meeting of pope and Russian Orthodox head approaching (Reuters) A historic meeting between Pope Francis and Patriarch Kirill of the Russian Orthodox Church is “getting closer every day,” a senior Orthodox prelate said in an interview published on Sunday. The unprecedented meeting would be a significant step towards healing the 1,000-year-old rift between the Western and Eastern branches of Christianity, which split in the Great Schism of 1054…

Al Azhar and Vatican against terrorism (AsiaNews) There is a clear common vision between Al Azhar, the most prestigious and authoritative university in the Sunni world, and what the Vatican has been saying for over a year now — terrorism is a global challenge and must be addressed with an all-out campaign. However, it is increasingly clear that many countries prefer the distinctions of ambiguous alliances, focusing particularly on mere economic interests…

Christians organize ‘banquet of unity’ for Ramadan (Fides) Once again this year, according to custom, parishes and Christian families in Egypt have organized to celebrate with their Muslim neighbors who in these weeks observe, from dawn to dusk, the fast prescribed in the holy month of Ramadan…

Gaza-bound flotilla vessel seized by Israeli navy (Al Jazeera) Israel has boarded and taken over a vessel attempting to break the blockade of the Gaza Strip, officials said. In a statement the Israeli army said on Monday that it did not use force in redirecting the main boat Marianne to the Israeli city of Ashdod…

Aleppo’s fuel prices quadruple (Al Monitor) The rebel-held parts of northern Syria that extend from Aleppo to Idlib and through Hama’s northern countryside are paralyzed; vehicular traffic is significantly reduced while fuel vendors are no longer present on the side of the roads. This was not the case before 31 May, when the Islamic State prevented the entry of fuel to rebel-controlled areas…

Anti-Christian Violence in Kerala (Fides) Christians in India continue to face attacks by Hindu extremist groups. As reported to Fides by the Evangelical Fellowship of India, a new episode of anti-Christian violence took place on 14 June in Kerala: A group of worshipers was attacked during a celebration in a Protestant church in the town of Attingal. As reported to Fides, over 200 militants of radical Hindu organizations entered the hall of worship shouting slogans like “Bharat Mathaki Jai” (”Hail Mother India”)…



Tags: India Pope Francis Middle East Ecumenism North Africa

26 June 2015
J.D. Conor Mauro




Syrian Kurds wait behind the barbed wired on the Syrian side of the border with Turkey after fleeing the Syrian town of Kobane on 26 June. (photo: AFP/Bulent Kilic)

Why many Kurds in Turkey are willing to die in Syria’s border towns (Washington Post) The battle for Kobane raged once more this week after ISIS fighters launched an assault on the Syrian border town, which had been firmly in the control of Kurdish militias ever since they chased out the jihadist organization in January. Initial reports suggested dozens died in the fighting, including numerous civilians, with Syrian Kurdish militias forces either killing, capturing, or cornering most of the Islamic State militants. The plight of Kobane, a predominantly Kurdish town right on the border with Turkey, is a lightning rod for many Kurds in Turkey…

ISIS offensive on Syria’s Kobane leaves almost 150 dead (Haaretz) An attack by Islamic State fighters on the Syrian town of Kobane and a nearby village has so far killed at least 146 civilians, the second-biggest massacre by the hardline group in the country, a conflict monitor said on Friday…

Vatican signs treaty with Palestine, calls for two-state solution (National Catholic Reporter) The Vatican on Friday signed a comprehensive agreement formally recognizing the state of Palestine following 15 years of negotiations on a bilateral accord that is said to provide juridical recognition for Catholic churches and call for a two-state solution with Israel on the basis of their borders in 1967…

Patriarch calls for Iraqi churches to unite after centuries of division (Catholic Herald) Chaldean Patriarch Louis Raphael I has proposed that the three main Iraqi Christian churches should merge in order to secure the survival of the faith in that country. Writing on the patriarchate website the head of the Chaldean Church, which has been in communion with Rome, proposed a reunion between his church and the two largest Assyrian churches: the Church of the East, and the Ancient Church of the East…

Maronite head demands help for the exiled Iraqi Christians (The Tablet) The head of the Maronite Church has condemned the “international silence” over the suffering of Iraq’s Christians, during a one-day visit to Erbil in Iraqi Kurdistan. At the head of a Lebanese-Italian delegation to visit refugees, Patriarch Bechara Peter demanded action from the international community to help Iraqi Christians stay in their homeland…



Tags: Syria Iraq Middle East Christians Turkey Patriarchs

25 June 2015
J.D. Conor Mauro




Pope Francis looks on after greeting Armenian Catholic Patriarch Nerses Bedros XIX during a 12 April Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican to mark the 100th anniversary of the Armenian genocide. Today, the pope sent a telegram to the the Patriarchate of Cilicia in Beirut to express condolences for the death of the patriarch. (photo: CNS/Tony Gentile, Reuters)

Armenian Catholic Patriarch Nerses Bedros XIX dies in Lebanon (Daily Star Lebanon) Armenian Catholic Patriarch of Cilicia Nerses Bedros XIX passed away Thursday after suffering from a heart attack, media reported. The renowned Egyptian patriarch, who resided in Lebanon, was widely known for serving the Armenian community and promoting its interests. The patriarch had visited Armenian communities in Europe, the Middle East and the U.S. to boost Armenian Catholic schools…

Displaced Iraqis still wait to return home (Al Monitor) Amid accusations of affiliation with ISIS and an uncompleted demining process in the liberated areas, most of Iraq’s displaced have yet to return to their cities…

ISIS trying to retake Kobane in northern Syria (Christian Science Monitor) ISIS militants launched two major attacks in northern Syria on Thursday, storming government-held areas in the mostly Kurdish city of Hassake and pushing into Kobane — the Syrian Kurdish border town they were expelled from early this year — where they set off three cars bombs, killing and wounding dozens, activists and officials said…

On Greek island, migrants bring stark contrast to the usual tourists (Washington Post) This is the second front in Europe’s migrant crisis. Tens of thousands of migrants from the Middle East, Africa and Asia are rushing the shores of Europe, with Greece now just behind Italy as the single largest entry point. From clandestine ports in Turkey as close as 30 minutes by raft, dozens of newcomers are landing every day…

Indian government denies any crackdown on Caritas India (Vatican Radio) A government spokesperson addressed popular reports claiming that Caritas India has been put under a “prior approval” category, saying the organization had been remitted money by a Netherlands-based donor under that category…



Tags: Iraqi Refugees Migrants Greece ISIS Armenian Catholic Church

24 June 2015
J.D. Conor Mauro




A boat illegally carrying immigrants of Syrian origin to Greece sinks off the coast of Turkey in the Aegean Sea on 23 June. Passengers were rescued by the Turkish coast guard. (photo: Getty Images/Anadolu Agency)

Migration crisis: The E.U.’s shipwrecked refugee plan (Der Spiegel) When 800 refugees drowned on their way to Europe this April, leaders promised to act. Just over two months later, the European Union’s attempts at real reform have all but failed — and raised some serious questions about the credibility and nature of the union…

ISIS attacks Hassake (Fides) On Tuesday evening, 23 June, the city of Hassake in the northeast of Syria was struck by ISIS. The series of attacks started with an explosion at a tank adjacent to a garrison of Kurdish militias. Then a truck full of explosives detonated in the northeast of the city…

ISIS blows up ancient shrines near Syria’s Palmyra (Al Jazeera) ISIS says it has destroyed two ancient shrines close to the Syrian city of Palmyra, seized by the armed group a month ago. Photographs posted online appeared to show the shrines being blown up and reduced to rubble on Saturday. It was the first reported damage to ancient sites since ISIS first captured Palmyra, known as Tadmur in Arabic and famed for its UNESCO-listed Roman ruins…

Ukrainians displaced by fighting tell speak to U.S. bishops (CNS) Displaced Ukrainians shared their stories and experiences with the members of a U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops delegation visiting Ukraine for four days. Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, Kentucky, U.S.C.C.B. president, and Archbishop Blase J. Cupich of Chicago, chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Subcommittee on Aid to the Church in Central and Eastern Europe, headed the delegation…

Indian government places Caritas India on watch list (The Indian Express) The Indian government has placed Caritas India — an arm of Catholic Bishops Conference of India — under its “prior approval” category. Any transaction the organisation makes through Indian banks will now need clearance from the Ministry of Home Affairs. A senior government official said the organization was put under the category after its funds, given to various NGOs, were alleged to be involved in purportedly “anti-India” activities…

Thousands in Armenia protest steep hikes in electricity rates (Washington Post) Thousands of protesters returned to a main thoroughfare of downtown Yerevan, Armenia, on Tuesday evening, facing down riot police to protest steep electricity price increases planned in the economically strapped country. Protesters in the capital city marched toward the presidential palace on Marshal Baghramyan Avenue just hours after police had unleashed water cannons to disperse a peaceful overnight sit-in that had taken place in the same spot earlier in the day, detaining more than 230 demonstrators and journalists in the process…



Tags: Syria India Ukraine Armenia Migrants

23 June 2015
J.D. Conor Mauro




A child refugee from Syria sits eats near his tent on the outskirts of Mount Lebanon on 20 June. (photo: Getty Images/Anadolu Agency)

In exile, Assyrian children bear scars of war (IOCC) Desperate to flee the onslaught of violence surrounding his village near Hassake, Syria, Charbel remembers how frightened he was when his family barely escaped their home before they saw it destroyed by their attackers. The 14-year-old Assyrian boy left behind all of his possessions, friends, and school, but still carries his memories of Syria before the war and a wish to become a dentist someday…

Syrian military and Druze allies join forces to fend off ‘terrorist’ militants (Los Angeles Times) About 70 miles southeast of Damascus, the Syrian military is making a stand against an opposition onslaught along the nation’s strategic southern flank. The overstretched Syrian military, fighting battles across multiple front lines, is relying here on a key ally: members of the Druze sect, an offshoot of Islam that has adherents in Syria, Lebanon and Israel. Thousands of men from the province are said to have signed up to protect Suwayda, the Druze heartland. Syria is believed to be home to about half of the estimated 1.5 million Druze worldwide…

Kurdish forces gain ground against ISIS in Syria (Christian Science Monitor) Kurdish-led forces advanced on Monday deep into territory in Syria held by Islamic State, showing new momentum after they unexpectedly swiftly seized a border crossing from the jihadists last week…

U.N. report on Gaza war may bolster I.C.C. inquiry (The Guardian) The United Nations inquiry into the 2014 Gaza war issues a rallying call for suspected war criminals “at all levels of the political and military establishments” to be brought to justice, but as the report itself wearily concedes, that is unlikely to happen soon. However, the report is likely to bolster the International Criminal Court’s preliminary examination of last summer’s conflict, increasing the likelihood that a full investigation will eventually follow…

Greek Catholic Synod spotlights anti-Christian violence, families in crisis (AsiaNews) The annual Synod of the Greek Melkite Catholic Church, held on 15-20 June at the patriarchal summer residence in Ain Trez, Lebanon, focused on the development of centers for catechesis, Christian preparation for marriage and families in crisis, as well as the situation in Syria, whose war has devastated the country and the Middle East, sparking a Christian exodus…

Church condemns the assault of a sister in Raipur (Vatican Radio) The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India has spoken out against an attack on a sister of the Salesian Missionaries of Mary on Friday night, 19 June, at a nursing center run by the sisters…



Tags: Syria India Lebanon Gaza Strip/West Bank Israel

22 June 2015
Greg Kandra




In the video above, analysts note that every minute another 30 people in the world flee their homes because of war or persecution. This, as the UN reports that the most dangerous country in the world is, for the second year in a row, Iraq — where war and persecution are having a devastating effect on Christians and other minorities. (video: Rome Reports)

Church reopens after arson attack attributed to Jewish extremists (Fides) Thousands of Christians in Galilee gathered on Sunday, 21 June at the Church of the Miracle of the Multiplication of the Loaves and Fishes in Tabgha. Arsonists, believed to be Jewish extremists, attacked the church Thursday. Sunday’s gathering marked the reopening of the church for Sunday Mass. Hundreds of young people protested, blocked the roads carrying crosses and white and yellow flags of the Vatican, and the singers sang in honor of Jesus and Mary...

UN report on Gaza finds evidence of war crimes (The New York Times) A United Nations investigation found “serious violations of international humanitarian law” that “may amount to war crimes” by both Israel and Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip during their bloody battle last summer, according to a report released on Monday in Geneva. The report by a commission of the United Nations Human Rights Council said that “impunity prevails across the board” regarding the actions of Israeli forces in Gaza, and it called on Israel to “break with its recent lamentable track record in holding wrongdoers accountable”...

Holy See to UN: victims’ needs are a priority for humanitarian efforts (Vatican Radio) “The priority of any humanitarian response are the needs of the victims,” according to the Holy See’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations in Geneva. Archbishop Silvano Tomasi was speaking at the 2015 Humanitarian Segment of the Economic and Social Council on Friday. The theme of the segment was “The future of humanitarian affairs: towards greater inclusiveness, coordination, interoperability, and effectiveness.” In his address, Archbishop Tomasi focused on the need to make the best use of available resources in responding to greater and more protracted humanitarian crises...

Report: Iraq most dangerous place in the world to live (RT) Iraq is the most dangerous place in the world for civilians to live, according to new figures from the UK based monitoring group Action on Armed Violence (AOAV). Syria, Gaza, Nigeria and Pakistan round out the top five. Unenviably occupying the top spot for most civilian fatalities and injuries, Iraq has seen a renewed surge in violence since the rise of ISIS. More than 10,000 civilians have been killed or injured by explosive devices, including car bombs, roadside bombs and other IED’s, making Iraq the most dangerous nation on the planet for the second year running...

EU extends sanctions against Russia (CNN) European Union foreign ministers meeting Monday in Luxembourg extended sanctions against Russia imposed because of the country’s actions in Crimea and eastern Ukraine, an EU spokeswoman has told CNN. The sanctions were imposed a year ago to punish Russia for its annexation of the Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea and its military support for separatists in the eastern regions of Ukraine, which border Russia. The sanctions consist of asset freezes on some Russian companies and people as well as travel bans against certain officials...

Nun sexually assaulted in India (Voice of America) A 47-year-old nun working as a nurse at a medical center run by Christian missionaries in the central Indian city of Raipur was sexually assaulted by unidentified men Saturday. After a medical investigation, police in Raipur’s Chhattisgarh state said the nun from Kerala had not actually been raped, with police calling it a case of “attempt to rape.” Police say some suspects have been detained for questioning...



Tags: Iraq India Gaza Strip/West Bank Israel Russia

19 June 2015
Greg Kandra




In this image from last year, Mor Ignatius Aphram II, Patriarch of the Syrian Orthodox Church (right), arrives to vote at a polling station in Damascus. He visited the Vatican today to meet
with Pope Francis. (photo: Louai Beshara/Getty Images)


Pope Francis welcomes Syrian Orthodox Patriarch to Vatican (Vatican Radio) Pope Francis welcomed the Patriarch of the Syrian Orthodox Church, Mor Ignatius Aphram II, to the Vatican on Friday. In his address to the Patriarch, Pope Francis spoke about the “bonds of unity and fraternity” that unite the Church of Rome to the Church of Antioch, recalling the meetings between Patriarch Mor Ignatius Jacob II and Pope Paul VI in Rome, and between Pope Saint John Paul II and Patriarch Mor Ignatius Zakka Iwas in Rome and Damascus...

Pontifical Council sends greetings for Ramadan (Vatican Radio) For the Islamic Month of Ramadan and the feast of Eid al-Fitr, the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue has published a Message to Muslims entitled “Christians and Muslims: Together to counter violence perpetrated in the name of religion.” In the Message, Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, the President of the Council, offers best wishes to Muslims “for a peaceful and joyful celebration of Eid al-Fitr, the celebration that marks the end of Ramadan...

Gaza flotilla to set sail (Al Jazeera) At least three boats carrying pro-Palestine activists are preparing to set sail to Gaza in the latest attempt to break Israel’s blockade against the territory. Members of the Freedom Flotilla Coalition in Palermo, Sicily, have told Al Jazeera that final preparations are under way, with the boats aiming to reach Gaza before the end of June. Activist Kalle Ohlsson said the flotilla’s main objective was not to bring aid, but to open Gaza’s port to allow freedom of movement and trade...

Evangelicals and Orthodox grow closer in Ethiopia (Christianity Today) Roughly two-thirds of Ethiopians are Christians. The majority of these belong to the ancient Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church; the rest primarily to Protestant denominations such as the Ethiopian Evangelical Church Makane Yesus (which recently broke ties with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America over theological concerns). The Orthodox and Protestants have long had in common the search for a better life. Increasingly, they share even more. Veteran SIM missionary Howard Brant celebrates that “the two groups are coming closer and closer together” in Ethiopia, which he calls “one of the great success stories of evangelical Christianity...”

Kerala church to observe Yoga Day Sunday (Business Standard) Observing that yoga practice was not against Christian faith, a Malankara Marthoma church in Kerala today said it will be observing the International Yoga Day on 21 June after the Holy Communion...Bishops Conference of India, apex body of the Catholic priests in the country, had earlier expressed displeasure over government’s decision to organise Yoga day on 21 June, saying Sundays are “sacred day” for Christians in the country. CBCI President and Syro-Malankara Major Archbishop Cardinal Baselios Cleemis, had made it clear that the Church was not against yoga, which was described as “anti-Islam” by certain Muslim bodies, including All India Muslim Personal Law Board...



18 June 2015
Greg Kandra




The English edition of Pope Francis’ encyclical on the environment is pictured during a news conference at the Vatican on 18 June. The encyclical is titled, “Laudato Si’, on Care for Our Common Home.” At left is Cardinal Peter Turkson, president of the Pontifical Council
for Justice and Peace. (photo: CNS/Paul Haring)


Pope’s encyclical connects care of world with justice for the poor (Vatican Radio) Pope Francis’ first encyclical is focused on the idea of ‘integral ecology,’ connecting care of the natural world with justice for the poorest and most vulnerable people. Only by radically reshaping our relationships with God, with our neighbors and with the natural world, he says, can we hope to tackle the threats facing our planet today. Science, he insists, is the best tool by which we can listen to the cry of the earth, while dialogue and education are the two keys that can “help us to escape the spiral of self-destruction which currently engulfs us”...

Overview of encyclical “Laudato si” (VIS) The following text offers an overview of the 191 pages of the Encyclical Laudato si’ and its key points, along with a summary of each of its six chapters (“What is happening to our common home”, “The Gospel of Creation”, “The human roots of the ecological crisis”, “Integral ecology”, “Lines of approach and action” and “Ecological education and spirituality”). The Encyclical concludes with an interreligious prayer for our earth and a Christian prayer for Creation... (Full text of encyclical)

Worldwide displacement hits all time high (UNHCR press release) Wars, conflict and persecution have forced more people than at any other time since records began to flee their homes and seek refuge and safety elsewhere, according to a new report from the UN refugee agency. UNHCR’s annual Global Trends Report: World at War, released on Thursday (18 June), said that worldwide displacement was at the highest level ever recorded. It said the number of people forcibly displaced at the end of 2014 had risen to a staggering 59.5 million compared to 51.2 million a year earlier and 37.5 million a decade ago...

Final UN shelter in Gaza closes (AFP) The U.N. has closed the last remaining shelter for Palestinians displaced in last summer’s war in Gaza, a spokesman said Thursday, with families seeking temporary accommodation elsewhere. The July-August conflict between Israel and Islamist movement Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip, left 100,000 Gazans homeless and forced many to seek refuge in schools belonging to the UN’s Palestinian refugee agency, UNRWA...

Suspected arson attack on historic church in Galilee (Fides) A suspected arson attack carried out between Wednesday 17 and Thursday 18 June, by unidentified extremists devastated the church in Tabgha, the village located near Capernaum, on the northwestern shore of Lake Tiberias, considered one of the most important holy places of Galilee. It is built in the area where, according to tradition, Jesus performed the miracle of the multiplication of the loaves and the fishes. The criminal fire — according to official sources of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem — was extinguished by firefighters around 3:30 am, after having caused serious damage in the courtyard entrance. It also caused the poisoning of an elderly Benedictine monk and a young volunteer, who were taken to a hospital...

Canadian charity challenging groups to support Syrians (Toronto Star) The challenge is on: Canadians need to reach out and help Syrian refugees, say Mayor John Tory and Ratna Omidvar, founding executive director of the Global Diversity Exchange at Ryerson University and chairwoman of Lifeline Syria. Canadians should reach out and help Syrian refugees just as they helped sponsor Vietnamese refugees in the late 1970’s, Omidvar says...



Tags: Syria Pope Francis Refugees Gaza Strip/West Bank Vatican

17 June 2015
J.D. Conor Mauro




Cardinal Telesphore Toppo talks with sisters at the Vatican in this October 2003 file photo. New Delhi police arrested a man in connection with an early June death threat against the cardinal, who has criticized the Indian government’s inaction over anti-Christian violence. (photo: CNS/Danilo Schiavella, EPA)

Kerala: Hindu extremists arrested for attacking a Christian gathering (AsiaNews) Police in Kerala arrested five people in connection with an attack against a Christian prayer group in Attingal. According to law enforcement sources, the five could be members of a Hindu radical paramilitary group…

Appeal for aid to refugees (VIS) Following today’s catechesis the pope mentioned that tomorrow the encyclical on the care of creation, our “common home,” will be published. “Our home is being ruined and this damages everyone, especially the poorest. I therefore make an appeal for responsibility, on the basis of the task that God assigned to the human being in creation: ’to tend and to keep’ the ’garden’ in which he placed him. I invite everyone to welcome with an open heart this document which is in line with the social doctrine of the church.” He also drew attention to World Refugee Day, to be held next Saturday…

Syria conflict: Rebels launch Quneitra offensive (BBC) A rebel alliance in southern Syria has begun an offensive against government forces in Quneitra province, near the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights. The area around the town of Quneitra came under heavy bombardment on Wednesday morning, Reuters reported…

Palestinian unity government to dissolve itself in coming days, Abbas says (Haaretz) Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas announced Tuesday that the Palestinian unity government led by Prime Minister Rami al Hamdallah was expected to tenders its resignation over the next few days, with the goal of assembling a new cabinet in its wake…

Palestinian refugee crisis a ‘time bomb’ for Middle East region (U.N. News Center) The stark conditions afflicting millions of displaced Palestinians across the Middle East risk destabilizing the region and plunging it into a deeper crisis, the head of the United Nations agency assisting Palestinian refugees has warned…



Tags: Syria India Refugees Middle East Palestine

16 June 2015
J.D. Conor Mauro




Syrians mourn outside Al Razzi hospital after a Syrian rebel rocket reportedly struck a government-held part of the northern Syrian city of Aleppo on 15 June. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said rebels had fired some 250 rockets at several districts in western Aleppo city in just four hours, causing massive damage including the collapse of an entire building. (photo: AFP/George Oufalian)

Intense rebel shelling of Aleppo kills more than 30 (Reuters) More than 30 people have been killed in the most lethal rebel bombardment of the city of Aleppo since Syria’s conflict started four years ago, a group monitoring the war said on Tuesday, an attack condemned by a U.N. envoy visiting Damascus…

Pope Francis to receive Syriac Orthodox Patriarch (Vatican Radio) From 17-20 June, Syriac Orthodox Patriarch Ignatius Aphrem II of Antioch and All the East will be in Rome to meet with Pope Francis. The Syriac Orthodox Church traces its history to the first Christian communities established in Antioch…

Families of ISIS captives block north Lebanon highway (Daily Star Lebanon) Families of the nine Lebanese servicemen held hostage by ISIS blocked both sides of a north Lebanon highway Tuesday demanding to know if their loved ones were still alive. “We are standing here today to ask whether the servicemen are still there or if they were executed like some rumors said,” the brother of Army Sgt. Maj. Ibrahim Mgheit told reporters…

Patriarch Gregory: Most Lebanese think of emigrating (Fides) “According to a recent survey, 60 percent of the Lebanese are considering the idea of emigrating, and 35 percent of them are actually waiting for a visa,” said Melkite Greek Catholic Patriarch Gregory III of Antioch in his opening remarks at the yearly synod. The meeting of the Melkite Greek Catholic bishops, underway at the patriarchal summer residence in Ain Trez, will discuss the theme of family and emergency situations experienced by communities in Syria…

Mohammed Morsi death sentence upheld by Egypt court (BBC) An Egyptian court has upheld the death sentence imposed on ousted ex-President Mohammed Morsi over a mass jailbreak. The sentence was initially passed in May, but was confirmed after consultation with Egypt’s highest religious figure, the grand mufti. The death sentences of five other leading members of the Muslim Brotherhood and 101 others were also upheld. Morsi’s supporters have described the sentence as “farcical.” The verdict is subject to appeal…

Ecumenical patriarch hosts Halki Summit II (Huffington Post) Just days before Pope Francis is due to release his long-awaited and much-anticipated encyclical letter on climate change, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I organized the second Halki Summit in Istanbul, from 8 to 10 June. Entitled “Ecology, Theology, and the Arts,” this summer’s conference aimed to incorporate the artistic senses and spiritual dimension of environmental stewardship into the broader conversation on climate change…



Tags: Egypt Lebanon Christian Unity Aleppo Climate change





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