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July, 2019
Volume 45, Number 2
  
22 February 2016
J.D. Conor Mauro




Syrian government forces remove an ISIS flag and replace it with a Syrian flag at after retaking control of an area near Aleppo. (photo: George Ourfalian/AFP/Getty Images)

Syrian army retakes 18 villages from ISIS near Aleppo (Haaretz) Syria’s army and allies, backed by Russian air strikes, recaptured 18 villages from Islamic State fighters in eastern Aleppo province on Saturday, a monitoring group said. The advance extended their control of parts of a road running towards the jihadist group’s stronghold of Raqqa, and built on gains made in assaults that intensified sharply earlier this month…

Syria war: Blasts kill 129 in Damascus and Homs (Al Jazeera) A series of suicide bombs near a Shiite shrine in Damascus and in Homs have killed at least 129 people on a day the United States and Russia claimed progress in securing a ceasefire to end the Syrian conflict. ISIS claimed that it was behind Sunday’s attacks, which killed at least 63 in Damascus and 46 in Homs. Some sources put the death toll higher…

Iraq: U.N. relief official calls for relocation of civilians to safer areas (U.N. News Center) The top United Nations humanitarian official in Iraq has said she is deeply worried about thousands of civilians who are trapped in Fallujah city and in Sinjar district and are unable to access aid, calling on Government officials to redouble efforts to relocate civilians to safer areas before the situation deteriorates further…

Iraqi premier: Government does not discriminate based on religion (Fides) The Iraqi government does not discriminate its citizens based on their religious affiliation; it considers Christians as a genuine part of Iraq’s national identity, and will do everything possible to prevent their emigration, said Iraqi Prime Minister Haydar al Abadi…

The surprisingly early history of Christianity in India (Smithsonian Magazine) Modern Christians of Kerala believe that the Apostle Thomas — the one who so famously questioned Jesus — visited here in the year 52 and baptized their forefathers. Historians surmise that the diverse, rich trading center of Kerala may well have drawn this Palestinian Jew of the Roman Empire who wished to preach the Gospel. Thousands of churches today bear his name, their rituals and theology derived from Eastern Christian traditions in the liturgical language Syriac, a formation of Aramaic, the dialect Jesus — and Thomas — spoke…



Tags: Syria Iraq War Indian Christians

19 February 2016
J.D. Conor Mauro




The Turkish coast guard rescued 158 refugees after their boat broke en route to Greece through the Aegean Sea. (photo: Hakan Firik/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

U.N. urges saftey measures for those fleeing conflict (U.N. News Center) Two children have drowned every day on average since September 2015 as their families try to cross the eastern Mediterranean, and the number is growing, three United Nations humanitarian agencies said today in a call to enhance the safety of those escaping conflict and despair…

Living as a Christian in the Islamic State (World Watch Monitor) When John, a Syrian Christian, chose to stay in Raqqa after ISIS took control of the city in 2014, he had no idea how he would survive. Thousands abandoned the city, believing it better to save their lives than live at the center of the Islamists’ new “caliphate.” John survived in Raqqa for 18 months before escaping in the middle of the night. He described a life of frequent harassment, weekly executions and the sadness of ordinary Syrians who, after initially welcoming ISIS fighters, grew to regret giving them their support…

Pope Francis: I understand the feelings of Ukrainians (RISU) Pope Francis gave a lengthy press conference on the flight back from Mexico to Rome on Thursday, sharing thoughts on the church in Ukraine and Ukrainian Greek Catholic Major Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk’s reaction on the joint declaration signed in Cuba. Pope said he understood the concerns expressed by the Ukrainian church leader, adding that he is entitled to his own ideas regarding the conflict in Ukraine. It’s important to take the comments in context, the Pope insists, since Archbishop Sviatoslav also describes the encounter as “a good thing” which he hopes will lead to further dialogue…

Solar power used Latin Patriarchate schools in Jerusalem (Fides) More schools of the Latin Patriarchate in Jerusalem are choosing to use solar panels to produce electricity, say official sources of the Latin Patriarchate. In Palestine, patriarchal schools in Beit Jala, Beit Sahour and Ramallah have already opted for solar panels…

Doha interfaith conference issues final statement (MENAFN.com) The 12th Doha interfaith Conference held on Tuesday and Wednesday brought together Jewish, Christian and Muslim leaders alongside leading thinkers and academics in interfaith relations. After two days of talks and seminars, the conference concluded with final statement that emphasizes the importance of interfaith dialogue, stressing a commitment to the brotherhood of the divine religions in the search for peace, love and stability…



Tags: Jerusalem United Nations Migrants ISIS Interfaith

18 February 2016
J.D. Conor Mauro




Workers move sacks of emergency food supplies in and out of Ethiopia’s largest strategic grain reserve depot in Adama. (photo: Colin Cosier/AFP/Getty Images)

UNICEF: El Niño exacerbating malnutrition in eastern and southern Africa (U.N. News Center) Across eastern and southern Africa, millions of children are at risk from malnutrition, hunger, water shortages and disease, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) warned today, citing two years of erratic rain and drought combined with one of the most powerful El Niño events in the past 50 years…

If ISIS is based on religion, why is it so violent? (The Conversation) Observers in the West who want to claim that Islam is to blame for ISIS and use it as further proof that the religion is inherently violent, ignore other root causes of the moment. While it would be incorrect to say that the discourses used by ISIS are un-Islamic, it’s important to note it represents one particular Islamic discourse and that it’s not the mainstream one…

Can Iraq separate religion and state? (Al-Monitor) Several groups appear to be vying to control Iraqis’ social lives and liberties: organized crime, religious factions and even armed security forces. Motives range from money to fundamentalism, but the situation calls for governance where armed parties and factions are no longer allowed to meddle in social affairs…

U.N. to airdrop food to ISIS-besieged city in Syria (Daily Star Lebanon) The United Nations plans to make its first airdrops of food aid in Syria, to Deir Ezzor, an eastern town of 200,000 besieged by ISIS militants, the chair of a U.N. humanitarian task force said Thursday…

Bishops’ commission: Plight of the Palestinians is ‘inhuman’ (Fides) The present situation for the Palestinians in the Holy Land is “inhuman” because of “settlers who occupy, day after day, Palestinian land,” from the poverty suffered by a million and a half inhabitants in the besieged Gaza Strip, the systematic demolition of homes and the humiliation suffered by Israeli soldiers at checkpoints. This is the gloomy picture outlined in the latest report carried out by the Justice and Peace Commission — a body linked to the ordinary Catholic Bishops of the Holy Land — based on the data studied in the last ordinary meeting, which took place in early February…

Arabs and Jews join forces to oppose development on historic Jerusalem hilltop (Haaretz) As the battle lines are drawn in the latest dispute over land in Jerusalem, Jews and Arabs find themselves, for a rare change, on the same side. Residents of Abu Tor, one of the few mixed Jewish-Arab neighborhoods in the city, have in recent weeks begun organizing against plans to build a hotel and luxury apartments on a historic hilltop compound in their midst…

‘Migrant-bashing has dangerously become the norm’ in Europe (U.N. News Center) As the European Union summit starts in Brussels, a United Nations expert on the human rights of migrants warned today that it has become impossible in Europe to have a meaningful discussion about migrant’s rights, diversity, and integration. “In its struggle to maintain control of its borders, [Europe] is being tested on its adherence to human rights. Through slowly stripping away the rights of asylum-seekers and migrants, Europe is creating a scary new ‘normal,’ ” said François Crépeau, the U.N. Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants, in a statement…



Tags: Ethiopia Holy Land United Nations Migrants ISIS

17 February 2016
Greg Kandra




A Red Crescent convoy prepares to leave Damascus to the besieged areas of Madaya and Zabadani, on 17 February 2016 during an operation in cooperation with the UN to deliver aid to thousands of besieged Syrians. Almost half a million people in Syria are in areas under seige, according to the United Nations, after almost five years of civil war between Syria’s government and rebel forces. (photo: Louai Beshara/AFP/Getty Images)

Humanitarian aid convoys readied for starving civilians in Syria (The Guardian) Aid convoys to seven besieged locations in Syria have been loaded with food and medicine to relieve starving civilians and are awaiting instructions to depart for their destinations. The convoys, which were announced by UN special envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura, on Tuesday night, are expected to head to the towns of Madaya and Zabadani, whose citizens have been starving to death under a siege imposed by forces loyal to Bashar al-Assad; as well as Fua and Kefraya, which are besieged by rebels. Other convoys are heading to the Damascus suburbs of Moadamiyah and Kafr Batna in Ghouta, which are also besieged by the regime...

Thousands cross from Gaza into Egypt as border opens (Haaretz) More than 2,800 people crossed from the Gaza Strip into Egypt at the Rafah crossing, which was opened on Saturday for the first time since December and closed on Monday, sources in Gaza and Egypt said. The Palestinian border authority also said that the Egyptians had permitted 64 trucks into Gaza carrying cement, gravel and other construction materials, which were transferred by the Qatari government...

Egypt’s military pledges to restore damaged churches (Ecumenical News) More than two years after Coptic Christians in Egypt faced a wave of attacks from Islamist extremists during the one year tenure of President Mohamed Morsi, his ousters are pledging to carry out promises to repair damaged property...

Russian patriarch to celebrate liturgy in Antarctica (Reuters) Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill has flown to the Antarctic to celebrate the liturgy at a scientific research station, a trip aides said was intended to show his church has global reach, Russian media reported on Wednesday. Kirill flew to Russia’s Bellingshausen scientific station on the Island of Waterloo from Chile where he had wrapped up his tour of several Latin American nations, RIA news agency quoted his spokesman Alexander Volkov as saying...

Church in India: Donating blood is an act of mercy (Fides) The Catholic Health Association of India is encouraging the donation of blood as an act of mercy and compassion. Donors receive a general check up on their health, with diabetes screening and other tests, as well as a kit that provides information on topics such as nutrition and hygiene...



16 February 2016
Michael J.L. La Civita




Syrian residents survey the damage from shelling in the Suleimaniyeh area of Aleppo on 14 February 2016. Elias Abiad, a 22-year-old Caritas volunteer, was one of the casualties of the weekend bombing. (photo: George Ourfalian/AFP/Getty Images)

Caritas volunteer killed in Aleppo by a mortar shell (Agenzia Fides) Caritas volunteer killed in Aleppo by a mortar shell His name was Elias Abiad and was only 22 years old. The young volunteer of Caritas Syria was killed on Saturday, 13 February in Aleppo by mortar shells which fell in the area of Sulaymaniyah...

Egyptian Coptic Orthodox not forgetting beheading of 21 Christians (Vatican Radio) Monday 15 February marked one year since video surfaced of the murder of 21 Orthodox Coptic Christians on a beach in northern Africa. The men were marched in orange suits across the beach, forced to kneel and then were beheaded by militants of the so-called Islamic State....

Boutros Boutros-Ghali, Former U.N. Secretary General, Dies at 93 (New York Times) The scion of a politically active Coptic Christian family, at home in a Bedouin’s tent or a presidential palace, he accompanied Mr. Sadat on his historic olive-branch mission to Jerusalem in 1977, then played a pivotal role in the Camp David accords...

Russian Orthodox Church Blocks Funeral for Last of Romanov Remains (New York Times) Ever since the remains of the last czar, Nicholas II, and most of his family were exhumed 25 years ago from a dirt road in the Urals, investigators, historians and surviving members of the Romanov dynasty have anticipated the day when all the murdered royals would be laid to rest...

The Syriac Catholic Archbishop of Mosul sends a new appeal to Pope Francis and to the world (Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem) Still to this day, Christianity is under attack in Iraq...



12 February 2016
Greg Kandra




Pope Francis tries on a sombrero while meeting journalists aboard his flight to Havana on 12 February. Traveling to Mexico for a six-day visit, the pope is stopping briefly in Cuba to meet with Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill of Moscow at the Havana airport. (photo: CNS/Paul Haring)

U.S. and Russia announce plan for humanitarian aid, cease-fire in Syria (The New York Times) Secretary of State John Kerry and his Russian counterpart, Sergey V. Lavrov, announced that they had agreed on the delivery over the next few days of desperately needed aid to besieged Syrian cities, to be followed by a “cessation of hostilities” within a week on the way to a more formal cease-fire. “We have agreed to implement a nationwide cessation of hostilities in one week’s time,” Mr. Kerry said early Friday morning, after all-day meetings. “That is ambitious...”

Pope, patriarch to hold historic meeting today (The Miami Herald) Pope Francis and Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill will meet in Havana on Friday, the first rapprochement between the two churches in the nearly 1,000 years since Christianity split between East and West. Despite a separation that dates back to the Great Schism of 1054, the Russian Orthodox Church has said that Islamic extremist attacks on Christian populations in the Middle East and North and Central Africa require urgent measures and closer cooperation between the Christian churches. “In the present tragic situation, it is necessary to put aside international disagreements and unite efforts for saving Christianity in the regions where it is subjected to the most severe persecution,” Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk said in Moscow during a news conference on the patriarch’s trip...

Canada asked to recognize genocide of Christians (Catholic Register) The Canadian government should join the European Union in labelling the persecution of Christians by Islamic State jihadists a genocide, said Aid to the Church in Need. The Catholic charity, which supports the Church worldwide, has asked the Canadian government to follow the EU Parliament’s 4 February resolution that called ISIS attacks on Middle East Christians a genocide, a crime punishable under international law...

The “nuns of life” in Ethiopia (Scottish Catholic Observer) The Catholic Church in Ethiopia is not blessed with numbers. Most people here are either Ethiopian Orthodox or Muslim. Yet the work of the Catholic Church here still packs an incredible wallop. No one demonstrates that better than two nuns, who between them have saved thousands of lives: Sister Celine Louise and Sister Haimanot Amanuel...

High unemployment leads Gaza couple to crowdfund their wedding (The Washington Post) It’s a classic problem faced by many young couples the world over: How to finance one’s wedding? But for Abd El-Hakim Zughbor and his fiancée, Falastin Al-Tanani, residents of the Gaza Strip, which is partially blockaded by Israel and Egypt, governed by the hard-line Islamic group Hamas and guided by deeply entrenched social traditions, the challenge of making it to the happy day is compounded even further. That’s why, after seven years in love and no wedding date on the calendar, the two 27-year-olds opted for a new, rather unusual, method of celebrating one of society’s oldest institutions: with an online fundraising campaign via the website GoFundMe...



11 February 2016
Greg Kandra




Displaced Iraqis, who fled regions controlled by ISIS near Fallujah, carry their belongings on 8 February 2016 as they arrive in the Jwaibah area, on the eastern outskirts of Ramadi. Iraq now faces a growing economic crisis caused by war, plunging oil prices and an influx of refugees.
(photo: Moadh Al-Dulaimi/AFP/Getty Images)


Pope asks for prayers for meeting with patriarch (Vatican Radio) Pope Francis has asked for prayers for his forthcoming meeting with his “dear brother,” the Patriarch Kirill of Moscow, Head of the Russian Orthodox Church. That meeting is scheduled to take place on 12 February 12 at Cuba’s international airport as the Pope travels to Mexico for an apostolic journey...

War, plunging oil prices create economic crisis in Iraq (AP) Plunging oil prices have pitched Iraq into a severe financial crisis as it struggles to combat ISIS, play host to millions of refugees and rebuild cities and towns ravaged by war...

Turkey keeps borders closed to Syrian refugees (The Washington Post) Turkey angrily rejected demands Wednesday that it open its border to tens of thousands of Syrian refugees driven from their homes by relentless Russian airstrikes, saying that to do so would amount to complicity in the Russian-backed offensive to drive rebels out of the province of Aleppo...

Russia: U.S. Planes bombed Aleppo Wednesday (Reuters) Russia’s Defence Ministry said on Thursday that two U.S. aircraft had bombed the Syrian city of Aleppo on 10 February and that Russian planes had not been operating in the area. A Pentagon spokesman had accused Russian and Syria government forces on Wednesday of destroying Aleppo’s two main hospitals with air strikes, though he did not specify when the strikes were alleged to have taken place...

Ukrainians: don’t throw us under the bus (The Catholic Register) Nobody wants the Pope to meet Moscow’s Orthodox patriarch more than the Ukrainian Catholics, but the Eastern-rite Catholics want to be sure their Church is treated as a full partner in the dialogue between Rome and Moscow. “We want this. It’s about time... If anything we would like for these meetings to happen more often,” said Father Peter Galadza, acting director of the Sheptytsky Institute at Saint Paul University in Ottawa. “We don’t want to return to the old ostpolitik where the Eastern Catholic churches, especially the Ukrainian Catholic Church, get thrown under the bus...”



Tags: Syria Iraq Ukraine Turkey Russian Orthodox

10 February 2016
J.D. Conor Mauro




Syrian children, who fled bombing in Aleppo, wait in a tent city close to the Bab al Salam border crossing on the Turkish-Syrian border on 10 February. (photo: Fatih Aktas/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

Damascus vows to recapture Aleppo from rebels (Business Insider) Damascus aims to secure Syria’s border with Turkey and recapture the city of Aleppo with its latest military offensive, a top adviser to President Bashar al Assad said on Tuesday. In an interview in her Damascus office, Bouthaina Shaaban held out little hope for diplomatic efforts to end the five-year civil war, telling Reuters proposals for a ceasefire were coming from states that “do not want an end to terrorism” and wanted to shore up insurgents who are losing ground. The Syrian army, backed by Russian air strikes and Iranian and Lebanese Hezbollah fighters, has launched a major advance in recent weeks near Aleppo, once Syria’s biggest city, now divided between rebel- and government-held sectors…

Doctors Without Borders: 23,000 flee Aleppo (ABC News) Doctors Without Borders says some 23,000 new arrivals fleeing the fighting in Aleppo are in urgent need of emergency shelter and support near Syria’s border with Turkey. In a press release issued Tuesday, the group says it has increased the number of beds in its hospital in Azaz district and is preparing to extend capacity if necessary…

Vicar of Aleppo says Syrian people do not want foreigners’ war (AsiaNews) The Syrian army, with the help of the Russians, is making great strides in the Aleppo region, says the apostolic vicar of Aleppo of the Latins, Bishop Georges Abou Khazen, O.F.M. “The goal is to free the area from militia extremists and allow people to return to their homes. In some areas, schools have reopened and the supply of electricity and water has returned,” he says. In a tense situation, Msgr. Georges Abou Khazen sees positive glimmers: “Many of the local fighters, the Syrian guerrillas, are calling for an end to the war, and want reconciliation and dialogue with military and government. Where instead there is a prevalence of foreign jihadists and militants linked to foreign powers in the region and outside the region, war still rages on…”

Pope Francis meets with prime minister of Iraq (Vatican Radio) Before the general audience on Wednesday, Pope Francis met with the prime minister of Iraq, Haydar al Abadi. The meeting took place in the studio of the Paul VI Audience Hall. The two discussed the role of interreligious dialogue and the responsibility of religious communities to promote tolerance and peace…

Pope-patriarch meeting historic, observers say, but substance is key (CNS) The planned 12 February meeting in Cuba between Pope Francis and Patriarch Kirill of the Russian Orthodox Church will be a historic event, those involved in ecumenical relations agree, but they contend the proof of the pudding will lie in the content of the joint statement the two church leaders are expected to sign at the end of their meeting…

Last Byzantine church in Ankara fights for survival (Christian Today) The last remaining Byzantine church in Ankara, Turkey, is fighting to survive as the crowded city continues to spread. The Orthodox Church of St. Clement, built at least 1,000 years ago, is in ruins and is quickly disappearing amid office buildings in the Altindag district. Despite being of cultural and historical importance, the church can only be visited by walking down an office fire escape with express permission from the owners…



Tags: Syria Pope Francis War Turkey Patriarch Kirill

9 February 2016
J.D. Conor Mauro




Syrian government soldiers celebrate after taking control of the village of Ratian, north of the embattled city of Aleppo, from rebel fighters on 6 February. (photo: George Ourfalian/AFP/Getty Images)

Syrian government forces, with Russian support, turn a corner (Huffington Post) Late on 2 February, the news hit: “All communication and supply line[s]” between Turkey and Aleppo had been severed, according to a Elijah Magnier, a renowned Arab war correspondent with Alrai Media Group. It seems to be so; the Syrian army and allied militias, backed by Hezbollah and Russian air power, took control of a tendril of territory that cuts off Aleppo-based rebels from the Turkish border. Eastern supply lines for ISIS appear to have also been cut. Edward Dark, a pseudonym for a respected commentator on Syrian affairs living in Aleppo, said on 3 February: “This is the beginning of the end of jihadi presence in Aleppo. After four years of war and terror, people can finally see the end in sight…”

Turkey under pressure to open border to Syrian refugees (Al Jazeera) Turkey came under mounting pressure to open its border Saturday as tens of thousands of Syrians fleeing a government onslaught sought entry and the European Union called on Ankara to grant them refuge. As many as 35,000 Syrians have amassed along the closed border, according to Suleyman Tapsiz, governor of the Turkish border province of Kilis. He said Turkey would provide aid to the displaced within Syria, but would only open the gates in the event of an “extraordinary crisis…”

Rebels threaten to execute anyone caught smuggling humanitarian aid to Foah and Kefraya (Al Masdar News) The Sharia Courts of Idlib that are run by the Islamist rebels of Jaysh al Fateh have issued a decree that bans the delivery of humanitarian aid to the predominately Shiite towns of Kefraya and Foah in the Idlib Governorate. Under this decree, any person(s) caught smuggling humanitarian aid to the aforementioned towns will be executed by the Shari’ah Courts of Idlib. This hard-lined stance against the delivery of humanitarian aid to the beleaguered civilians of Kefraya and Foah comes just one week after another convoy of humanitarian aid was delivered to the town of Madaya in western Damascus…

In Syria, war crimes don’t take sides, U.N. report says (CNN) They were prisoners of war on different sides of a conflict that’s raged for nearly five years. But all of them faced a horrifying reality, according to a new report on Syria released by the United Nations. Torture, mass executions and other war crimes have been carried out against detainees held by groups on practically all sides of the fighting, according to the report released Monday by the U.N. Commission of Inquiry on Syria…

Christians boycott peace conference; Chaldean Patriarch frustrated with empty words (Fides) Christian representatives invited to participate in the “Conference on the protection of peaceful coexistence,” held on Sunday, 7 February at the Iraqi Parliament, decided to boycott the event, to mark their distance from occasions when the calls to coexistence and harmony between different ethnic and religious identities are transformed into mere rhetorical formulas. In addition to the Christian communities, also other religious minorities, such as the Yazidis and Mandaeans boycotted the conference…

On the Great Council of the Orthodox Church (First Things) Already there is much talk about the Holy and Great Council of the Orthodox Church. Between now and June 19, 2016, when the council officially opens on the island of Crete, there will be many rumors and much spin. Some will be justified; like other patriarchal institutions, Orthodox churches are not normally known for their transparency. However, other chatter will be less than helpful. What follow are some brief clarifications on basic questions surrounding the council…



Tags: Syria Refugees War Ecumenism

8 February 2016
J.D. Conor Mauro




Syrian children who fled bombing in Aleppo wander among tents at the Oncupinar crossing, opposite the Turkish province of Kilis, on 6 February 2016. (photo: Kerem Kocalar/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

Syria refugee camps set up as Turkey limits entries (BBC) Turkish aid workers have been setting up tents and distributing supplies for thousands of new Syrian refugees kept from entering Turkey at the border. Some 35,000 people fled a Syrian government offensive in the Aleppo area last week, trying to enter Turkey’s Kilis border region. But Turkey has so far closed the border to most of them despite appeals by E.U. leaders to let them cross…

As Syrians flee anew, neighbors’ altruism hardens into resentment (New York Times) When the Syrian refugees first started streaming into this bedraggled border town, Gassim al Moghrebi was their tireless benefactor, distributing donations of food, money and clothes and sheltering as many as possible in two apartments he owned. “All of Ramtha was just like me,” Mr. Moghrebi said, describing a good will rooted in family ties that spanned the border, and sympathy for the victims of a pitiless war. “One man had ten apartments. He gave them to the Syrians for free.” But now, as Syria witnesses a new escalation of violence and flee again by the tens of thousands, neighboring countries are increasingly overwhelmed and reluctant to let them in. In many places, that early altruism has hardened into resentment — an ominous turn for those searching for safety from the war…

Maronite patriarch: Without a president, Lebanon is on brink of collapse (AsiaNews) Religious leaders, international diplomats and citizens have launched a fresh appeal to the Lebanese Parliament to elect a new president, a position now vacant for over 20 months. In his Sunday homily Maronite Patriarch Bechara Peter lent his voice to this call…

Coptic eparchy to celebrate anniversary of the martyrdom of 21 Copts in Libya (Fides) The Coptic Orthodox Eparchy of Samalot is preparing to celebrate the first anniversary of the martyrdom of 21 Copts killed in Libya by ISIS militants. Celebrations will culminate in the solemn liturgy on Tuesday, 16 February. The 21 Coptic Egyptians were kidnapped in Libya in early January 2015…

A Catholic-Orthodox meeting is spectacular but not unprecedented (The Economist) The announcement of a meeting between Pope Francis and Patriarch Kirill of Moscow, due to take place in Cuba on 12 February, is certainly a spectacular moment in ecumenical dialogue. But contrary to many reports that have appeared in the press this weekend, it is certainly not the first top-level encounter between the Roman Catholic and Orthodox churches since the East-West schism of 1054. Before speculating about what will happen in Havana, it’s worth recalling, in barest outline, some landmarks in the history of this often tortured relationship…



Tags: Syria Pope Francis Refugees Refugee Camps Patriarch Kirill





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