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July, 2019
Volume 45, Number 2
  
17 October 2012
Greg Kandra




In this 3 March 2010 photo, Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, president of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, greets Ahmad Mohamed al Tayeb, president of Al Azhar University in Cairo, Egypt, as they arrive for a press conference at National Cathedral in Washington. The Catholic and Sunni leaders were among religious representatives participating in a three-day international summit for peace and reconciliation. (photo: CNS/Nancy Wiechec)

Vatican sends delegation to Syria (Salt + Light) The Holy See will send a delegation of cardinals to Syria in the next few days to witness the suffering of Syrians in Damascus. The announcement was made on 16 October during the afternoon session of the Synod of Bishops on the New Evangelization for the transmission of the faith. The delegation will be made up of seven prelates, including Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, president of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, and Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Archbishop of New York and CNEWA's chair and treasurer.

Cardinal Tauran expresses solidarity with Syrians (Vatican Radio) Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, as part of the above delegation, is expected to travel to Syria next week. Making the announcement of the visit on Tuesday, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, secretary of state, said the group was being sent by the Holy Father in order to express solidarity with the Syrian population. Speaking from the synod on Wednesday, Cardinal Tauran said the delegation’s trip to Damascus will have three dimensions. First, there will be an expression of “human solidarity towards people who are suffering — we think for example the elderly … the sick, the poor.” The second dimension is spiritual solidarity with families who are suffering, as well as “those who are rejoicing in this moment of great trial for the Catholic and the Christians in general in Syria.”

Vandals deface Orthodox church in Geneva (The Moscow Times) Vandals smudged red and purple paint on a Russian Orthodox cathedral in Geneva and wrote slogans including, “social peace is corrupted” and “revolution solidarity” on the pavement nearby, the Geneva and West European Diocese said. The attack was carried out early Monday morning on the Cathedral of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, which is affiliated with the Russian Orthodox Church, following a string of assaults on Russian Orthodox churches in recent weeks in Russia and Ukraine.

“Deep concern” over anti-Christian discrimination in Russia (Fides) The Presidency of the Council of the European Episcopal Conferences (C.C.E.E.), today sent a letter to Metropolitan Hilarion, President of the Department for External Relations of the Patriarchate of Moscow, expressing his “deep concern for the numerous and increasing manifestations of discrimination against Christians in various countries, and the spread of anti-Christian feelings and against the Church, especially in the Russian Federation over the past months.”

Leader of Jewish women’s group arrested for ‘singing’ at Western Wall (Haaretz) Jerusalem police arrested the leader of a Jewish women’s group fighting for the right to read from the Torah at the Western Wall on Tuesday evening, with members of the Women of the Wall group claiming that she was detained for singing at the holy site. Yizhar Hess, head of the Masorti Movement, said that the women detained by police “didn’t steal, hit, threaten, or even go over the speed limit. They just sang.” He added: “But, apparently only men can sing near the Western Wall.” In August, four women, two of whom were members of the women’s group were arrested and detained for “behavior that endangers the public peace” and wearing prayer shawls.

Israeli Defense Force beginning to draft ultra-Orthodox (Jerusalem Post) With the invalidation of the Tal Law, which allowed draft deferrals for ultra-Orthodox Jews, Defense Minister Ehud Barak said on Monday that the standard processes to draft recruits have been initiated among haredi youth 16 to 19 years old over the past few weeks. Speaking at a hearing of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, Barak said that although the procedures targeted at haredi teens are ongoing and increasing, he is refraining from drafting current yeshiva students until after the elections.



Tags: Syria Israel Violence against Christians Russian Orthodox Church Women

16 October 2012
Greg Kandra




In Jerusalem’s Church of the Holy Sepulchre on 18 March 2012, a priest lights a candle in front of a picture of Coptic Orthodox Pope Shenouda III of Alexandria, Egypt. After serving as patriarch of the Coptic Orthodox Church for 41 years, he died on 17 March at the age of 88. (photo: CNS/Ammar Awad, Reuters)

Egypt’s Coptic Orthodox Church announces candidates to succeed Pope Shenouda III (Egypt Independent) In a surprise move, several powerful figures within the Coptic Orthodox Church have been barred from running in the next papal elections by the papal election committee, while only five senior clergymen have been selected to run. Bishop Pachomius, the acting patriarch, said in a press conference broadcast by Al Jazeera Mubasher Misr, that that only five candidates are running in the election to succeed Pope Shenouda III and be enthroned as the 118th Pope and Patriarch of Alexandria and All Africa on the Holy Apostolic See of Saint Mark the Evangelist. The candidates include two bishops: Bishop Tawadros, who holds the title of auxiliary bishop for the Holy Metropolis of Beheira, and Bishop Raphael, who holds the title of assistant bishop for Central Cairo. The other three candidates are all monks: Raphael Ava Mina, Pachomius al-Soriany and Saravim al-Soriany.

New concerns over European Muslims hoping to fight in Syria (Associated Press) European governments have been among the most vocal supporters of Syria’s rebels — to a point: Last week, Muslims in Britain and France accused of trying to join the fight against the regime were detained. For security officials, the fear is that extremists with European passports who are alienated and newly trained to wage war will ultimately take skills learned in Syria and use them back home. In France, where an Islamic extremist trained in Pakistan attacked a Jewish school and a group of soldiers earlier this year, the fear is particularly acute.

Egyptian Catholics promoting political training courses (Fides) In the coming weeks the Egyptian Catholic communities will promote social and political training courses. The initiative aims to revive the pilot experience already inspired by the Coptic Catholic Patriarchate after the end of the Mubarak regime. Botros Fahim Awad Hanna, Coptic Catholic auxiliary bishop of Alexandria, explains: “[T]he pastoral Council of the Catholic Church in Egypt recommended enhancing this work of formation, indicating it as a priority for all the Egyptian Catholic communities of different rite. ... We are waiting for the new Constitution. One makes choices designed to affect our individual lives and community. When the first draft of laws come out, we need to have the tools to be able to analyze, to know how to express a clear opinion, so one can say yes or no to the new Constitution in a reasonable manner.”

Remembering Canada’s Bishop Roman Danylak (Catholic Register) Roman Danylak, retired bishop of the Ukrainian Catholic eparchy of Toronto, was remembered for never turning away a person in need. “He was very much a pastor,” said his sister Olga Danylak. “He was very much a people person.” The bishop passed away at age 81 on 7 October. He was laid to rest at St. Volodymyr Cemetery in Oakville, Ontario, on 11 October following a funeral service at St. Jospahat’s the same day.



Tags: Egypt Syrian Civil War Muslim Canada Coptic Orthodox Church

15 October 2012
Greg Kandra




Pope Benedict XVI greets Maronite Catholic Patriarch Bechara at the start of Mass on the waterfront in Beirut on 16 September. (photo: CNS/Paul Haring)

Patriarch of Antioch: catechists and missionaries are “special envoys” for Year of Faith (Fides) More than 700 priests, nuns, lay people, educators, leaders and catechists received a solemn “missionary mandate” for the Year of Faith by His Beatitude Bechara, Maronite patriarch of Antioch and all the East and president of the Assembly of Catholic Patriarchs and Bishops in Lebanon.

At Istanbul World Forum: religion can be a catalyst for peace (Vatican Radio) The secretary of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, Father Miguel Angel Ayuso Guixot says the pope’s remarks on justice and religious freedom on his recent trip to Lebanon inspired his discourse to participants at the Istanbul World Forum on 13-14 October. The theme of the forum was “Justice and the Construction of a New Global Order.”

Coptic Christians in Egypt living in fear (Haaretz) After a long history of persecution as a minority in Egypt, in these days the nonetheless resilient Copts face a dire moment.

Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre meets in Tulsa (Tulsa World) Eight hundred knights and ladies of a 1,000-year-old Catholic order devoted to supporting Christianity in Israel and the Palestinian territories are meeting this weekend in Tulsa.

Patriarch Kirill arrives in Minsk, praises common past and future (Belarusian Telegraph Agency) The people of Belarus, Russia and Ukraine have a shared heritage and destiny, Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia said at a dedication ceremony for the memorial to Patriarch Alexy II at the Church of all Saints in Minsk on 14 October. “Belarus, Russia and Ukraine are three brotherly nations united by the common fate, common past and, I am confident, have a common future,” the patriarch said.

Vatican marks International Day of Rural Women (Vatican Radio) On 15 October, we observe the International Day of Rural Women. Established by the United Nations in 2008, it recognizes “the critical role and contribution of rural women, including indigenous women, in enhancing agricultural and rural development, improving food security and eradicating rural poverty.” Rural women play a critical role in the rural economies of both developed and developing countries.



Tags: Lebanon Ukraine Pope Benedict XVI Russia Maronite Patriarch Bechara Peter

12 October 2012
Greg Kandra




Pope Benedict XVI exchanges the sign of peace with Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew during a Mass in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican on 11 October to mark the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council. The Mass also opened the Year of Faith.
(CNS photo/Paul Haring)


Mass celebrating Vatican II highlight’s council’s openness to world (Catholic News Service) Celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Second Vatican Council with a Mass outdoors was a reminder of the fact that the council called the Catholic Church to live and work in the world, said Bishop Gerald F. Kicanas of Tucson, Ariz. “One of the things that was beautiful today was that we were outdoors, outside the beautiful Basilica of St. Peter, which is what I think John XXIII really wanted: to open the doors, to have the church in the world and transforming the world,” the bishop said Oct. 11. Cardinal Oswald Gracias of Mumbai told Catholic News Service that for Catholics in India the council’s teaching on interreligious dialogue “was extremely important and gave us a whole new perspective on how to deal with everybody else,” recognizing “that everybody is searching for the truth; we are brothers and sisters on the same journey.”

Holy See to participate in Istanbul World Forum this weekend (Vatican Radio) Within the phenomena of the Arab Revolutions, there is a meaningful and active search for justice, equality, representation and dignity. The Istanbul World Forum this weekend will address this issue of justice under various themes focusing on “Justice and the Construction of a New Global Order.” The Forum will take place in the Turkish capitol on October 13-14, 2012, gathering together political as well as religious leaders, academics and business persons, artists and media representatives to present Justice in the light of their particular professions delineated in 6 different thematic areas: Justice and the Global Order, Justice and Politics, Justice and History, Justice and Economy, Justice and Art, and Justice and Religion.

India court affirms freedom to pray at home (Fides) The freedom to carry out prayer meetings in private homes, of any religion, cannot be prevented, according to a ruling by the High Court of Madras, capital of the state of Tamil Nadu in South India.

U.S. stamp for Christmas shows Holy Family fleeing to Egypt (Catholic News Service) The U.S. Postal Service Oct. 10 released a Christmas stamp featuring an image of the Holy Family fleeing to Egypt. A ceremony to celebrate the first day of issue of the stamp took place at the Washington National Cathedral of the Episcopal Church. The portrayal of the Holy Family is a change from the traditional image of Madonna and child used almost every year since the first Christmas stamp was issued in 1962.



Tags: India Egypt Pope Benedict XVI Vatican Turkey

11 October 2012
Greg Kandra




Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan of New York arrives for a Mass celebrated by Pope Benedict XVI in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican on 11 October. The Mass marks the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council, as well as the beginning of the Year of Faith. (photo: CNS/Paul Haring)

Pope opens Year of Faith (CNS) On Thursday, Pope Benedict XVI celebrated a Mass marking the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council and launching the Year of Faith. The pope called on Catholics to revive the “authentic spirit” of Vatican II by re-proposing the church's ancient teachings to an increasingly secular modern world. Vatican II, the Holy Father said, had been “animated by a desire ... to immerse itself anew in the Christian mystery so as to re-propose it fruitfully to contemporary man.” The full text of his homily can be found on the Vatican's news site.

Ecumenical patriarch speaks at Vatican II anniversary celebration (Vatican Radio) At the conclusion of the Mass to celebrate the anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople addressed Pope Benedict XVI and the bishops and faithful gathered in St. Peter’s Square. In his remarks, Patriarch Bartholomew — the “primus inter pares,” or “first among equals” in the Eastern Orthodox Communion — said he was honored to be invited and to attend “this solemn and festive commemoration of the Second Vatican Council.”

Pope prays for Middle East Christians in Arabic (Catholic News Agency) After his recent visit to the Church in Lebanon, Pope Benedict XVI added Arabic to the list of official languages used at his weekly general audiences, launching the effort by offering the promise of his prayers in Arabic. “The pope prays for all the people who speak Arabic. God bless you all,” he said in Arabic at the 10 October general audience, which was held in St. Peter’s Square. For the first time, a priest also read an Arabic summary of the pope’s remarks on how the Second Vatican Council was a “moment of grace” in the Catholic Church’s history. Going forward, Arabic will join the ten other official languages in which a brief explanation is delivered.

Turkey detains Syrian passenger plane (Vatican Radio) Turkey scrambled fighters and briefly detained a Syrian passenger plane yesterday, suspecting it of carrying military equipment from Moscow. The plane was on route to Damascus with 30 passengers on board when Turkish military fighter jets forced it to land at Ankara airport.

Russian Orthodox Church stakes out territory on social issues (The World) The reawakening of religion in Russia, 20 years after the end of the atheist Communist system, comes as the church tries to find a new place and relevance in Russian society.



Tags: Syria Pope Benedict XVI Vatican Turkey Russian Orthodox Church

10 October 2012
Greg Kandra




In this image from 16 October 2011, Coptic Christians conduct a candlelight protest at Abassaiya Orthodox Cathedral in Cairo, one week after more than two dozen people were killed during clashes with soldiers and riot police. (photo: CNS/stringer via Reuters)

Thousands march to remember killing of Egypt Copts (Associated Press) Several thousand Egyptians marched for miles through Cairo on Tuesday, marking the year anniversary of a military crackdown on Christian protesters that killed 26 people and demanding retribution against army leaders they hold responsible for the deaths. Muslim clerics, Christian priests, activists and liberal former lawmakers joined the procession, filling large boulevards to memorialize the “Maspero massacre,” referring to the name of the state TV building overlooking the Nile River where the violence took place a year ago.

In Syria, “humanitarian emergency increases” (Fides) As the conflict continues, “humanitarian crisis increases more and more: although we do our best, we are not able to meet all the needs of refugees. We urgently need other humanitarian aid.” That is how the lay Catholic Pascal Kateb, secretary general of Caritas Syria, describes the situation in Syria to Fides.

Warm welcome for Apostolic Nuncio in Malyankara (Indian Express/IBN) Malyankara is the place where the light of Christianity was ignited first, and it has to glow brightly shedding the light all over the world, said Apostolic Nuncio Archbishop Dr. Salvatore Pennacchio to the believers while visiting the St. Thomas Pilgrim Center at Malyankara on Monday. The Mar Thoma Pontifical Shrine, at the Pilgrim Center, is a monument to St. Thomas situated at Marthoma Nagar at Kodungallur.

Some Russian Orthodox call for closing gay clubs in Moscow (The Moscow Times) A group of Russian Orthodox believers on Monday called for the closure of all gay clubs in Moscow as part of the drive to ban the promotion of homosexuality. The People’s Council, a nationalist Orthodox organization, said in a statement that homosexuality is “a grave sin” and that it was seeking to close gay clubs that “entice fragile members of society into the gay community,” Interfax reported.

Christians show love of Israel in Jerusalem (Huffington Post) The mainstream news media can leave the average Israeli with the impression that much of the world has hostile, hateful feelings towards the Jewish state or, at the very least, does not want to be friends. It gets a little lonely at times in the Middle East. But there was love in the air of Jerusalem this past Thursday afternoon. Marching through the streets of Jerusalem, approximately 6,000 Christian friends of Israel made their way with flags and smiles, which they readily shared with Israeli bystanders — from secular to ultra-orthodox Jews of all ages and backgrounds. Israeli Tourism Minister Stas Misezhnikov welcomed the Christian visitors, who were led by evangelical Protestant community leaders visiting from across the world to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles, the Christian celebration of the seven-day Jewish holiday of Sukkot.



Tags: Syria India Egypt Israel Violence against Christians

9 October 2012
Greg Kandra




Rubble runs up to the foot of the altar inside a church damaged during shelling in Homs, Syria, on 5 October. (photo: CNS/Shaam News Network,  handout via Reuters)

Fighting intensifies in Homs, church damaged (The Guardian) Homs could fall at any moment as the Syrian army takes street after street, a resident of the central Hamidiya district told the Guardian. Khalid Majied said the Free Syrian Army was doing little to help civilians and appeared to be on the verge of pulling out of the city.

Arabic to become a part of the pope’s general audience (VIS) Beginning on Wednesday 10 October, during the Holy Father’s weekly general audience, an Arabic speaker will join the other speakers who provide a summary of the papal catechizes in various different languages. In this way, in the wake of his recent trip to Lebanon and the publication of the post-synodal apostolic exhortation “Ecclesia in Medio Oriente,” the Holy Father intends to express his perpetual concern and support for Christians in the Middle East, and to remind everyone of their duty to pray and work for peace in the region.

Patriarch Gregory III: “May the Year of Faith be the Year of Reconciliation” (Fides) “May the Year of Faith be for Syria the Year of Reconciliation: [this] is the hope of Christians and all the Syrian people.” This is what the Melkite patriarch of Damascus, Gregory III Laham, now in the Vatican to attend the Synod on the New Evangelization, declared in an interview with Fides on the eve of the opening of the Year of Faith. “We Christians in the Middle East,” Patriarch Gregory III explains of the Greek Catholic community that in Syria has over 150,000 faithful, “feel an integral part of the Arab world and in this moment of difficulty, problems, fear, we have greater need to strengthen our faith: to be bearers of the Gospel.”

Catholic bishops of the Holy Land offer guidance on living the Year of Faith (Fides) In a newly published pastoral letter, the Assembly of Bishops of the Catholic Ordinaries of the Holy Land offers its contribution to the itinerary that the universal church is called to fulfill in the Year of Faith. The pastors of the Catholic churches in the region, citing Pope Benedict XVI’s exhortation, remind everyone: “The example of the first community of Jerusalem can serve as a model to renew the current Christian community.”

Kerala Catholics prepare to begin Year of Faith (Asian Age) The Year of Faith beginning in Catholic Church on Thursday will see faithful in the state joining others across the world for special prayers in homes and churches. Though the Catholic Church in Kerala does not expect a situation like that in Europe, where church attendance is in alarming decline, it still is keen on the yearlong stress on reaffirming faith.

Tom Hanks to be featured on posters promoting Christianity in Russia (Hollywood Reporter) Tom Hanks will appear on posters promoting Orthodox Christianity in Russia and neighboring states alongside prominent local cultural and sports figures. The Russian Orthodox youth movement Soboryane said it is launching a massive poster campaign during a missionary event entitled “My Pravoslavnye” (“We Are Orthodox Christians”) on 13 and 14 October in Russia, Belarus and Ukraine.



Tags: Syria Middle East Christians Pope Benedict XVI Kerala Russian Orthodox Church

5 October 2012
Greg Kandra




An image of Mary is seen near a hole in a church after shelling in the old city of Homs, Syria, on 30 September.(CNS photo/Shaam News Network handout via Reuters)

Mother superior from Syria says Christians “cleared” by rebel forces (The Australian) The mother superior of a 1500-year-old monastery in Syria warned yesterday during a visit to Australia that the uprising against Bashar al-Assad has been hijacked by foreign Islamist mercenaries, with strong support from Western countries. Mother Agnes-Mariam de la Croix was forced to flee to neighboring Lebanon in June when she was warned of a plot to abduct her, after she revealed that about 80,000 Christians had been “cleared” by rebel forces from their homes in Homs province.

Apostolic Exhortation: a document that gives hope to Christians in the Middle East (Fides) Christians and Muslimss read, spread, photocopy, and study the Post-Synodal Exhortation “Ecclesia in the Middle East”, issued by Pope Benedict XVI during his visit to Lebanon. As reported by local sources of Fides Agency, people are studying the document in Lebanon but also in Syria, Jordan and the Holy Land. The Christian faithful, of all confessions, pending the release of an official document in Arabic by the Vatican Publishing, print the exhortation from the Vatican website, photocopy it, read it and study it in the various communities.

Coptic children accused of insulting Islam released (Fides) The Egyptian Prosecutor General ordered yesterday afternoon, October 4, the release of the two Coptic Orthodox children who had been taken the previous day to a juvenile detention after being accused of urinating on some pages containing the verses of the Quran, in a village in the southern province of Beni Suef.

Russian Orthodox clergy allowed to run for office (Interfax) The governing body of the Russian Orthodox Church has allowed clerics to run for elected office in government “in the event of dire ecclesiastical necessity.”



Tags: Syria Egypt Lebanon Middle East Muslim

4 October 2012
J.D. Conor Mauro




Pope Benedict XVI uses incense in front of a statue of Our Lady of Loreto as he celebrates Mass outside the Sanctuary of the Holy House in Loreto, Italy, on 4 October. (photo: CNS/Paul Haring)

At Marian shrine, pope entrusts Year of Faith, synod to Mary (CNS) During a visit to the Shrine of Our Lady of Loreto, Pope Benedict XVI formally entrusted to Mary the world Synod of Bishops and the Year of Faith. The pope's visit marked the 50th anniversary of Blessed John XXIII's visit to the Marian shrine, about 175 miles northwest of Rome, when he entrusted to Mary's care the Second Vatican Council. "Fifty years on, having been called by divine providence to succeed that unforgettable pope to the See of Peter, I, too, have come on pilgrimage to entrust to the Mother of God two important ecclesial initiatives: the Year of Faith. ... I wish to entrust to the Most Holy Mother of God all the difficulties affecting our world as it seeks serenity and peace," the pope said.

Turkey approves military operations in Syria (Al Jazeera) Turkey’s parliament has authorized cross-border military action against Syria, if deemed necessary by the government. The mandate, valid for one year, was passed by 320 votes in the 550-seat Turkish parliament, the Anatolia news agency reported on Thursday. Besir Atalay, Turkey’s deputy prime minister, said the authorization was not a declaration of war but was intended as a deterrent. The vote came as Turkey resumed shelling Syrian government military positions on Thursday morning in retaliation for a mortar attack which landed over its border in southeastern Turkey killing five of its citizens — a woman and four children from the same family.

Two Egyptian Coptic Christian boys charged with defiling a Quran (New York Times) Two Coptic Christian boys have been detained by the authorities on charges that they defiled the pages of a Quran, the latest in a spate of recent cases involving accusations that people have insulted Islam. The boys, ages 9 and 10, are being held in juvenile detention in the village of Ezbet Marco, south of Cairo, according to Ishak Ibrahim, a researcher with the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights who is investigating the case. The charges seemed likely to add to growing anxieties in Egypt about free speech rights, the sway of hard-line Islamists and the status of the country’s Christian minority, which fears an erosion of rights under an Islamist government.

Syro-Malabar Catholic Church plays matchmaker (Indian Express) Going beyond its traditional role of performing weddings, the Kerala-based Syro-Malabar Catholic Church has started an online matchmaking service to ensure that its members marry from among the state’s Catholic community. The church recently registered syromalabarmatrimony.org, controlled directly by its headquarters in Cochin. Bishop Joseph Porunnedam, head of the church’s internet mission, said: “Catholic youths are migrating in drives to various places in India and abroad for education and employment. ... In such a scenario, the chances of our men and women tying the knot with persons from other religions are high. If that happens, in future, they may even abandon the Catholic faith. Hence, we decided to launch a matrimony service.”

Papal exhortation gives hope to Middle East Christians (Fides) Christian and Muslim communities are reading, spreading and studying the post-synodal exhortation “Ecclesia in Medio Oriente,” issued by Pope Benedict XVI during his visit to Lebanon. As reported by local sources of Fides Agency, the widespread interest is not exclusive to Lebanon but stretches to Syria, Jordan and the Holy Land. “Muslim communities that are studying it appreciate it. Christians of all denominations — Catholics, Orthodox, Protestants — underline a very important point: the invitation ’not to be afraid’, to live in the Middle East building peace and coexistence. It is a key phrase that remains etched in the minds of Christians, in the context in which we live today,” says Wissam Lahham, a member of the Assembly of Eastern Christians, an N.G.O. based in Beirut.

Egyptian Copts hold memorial service for Maspero victims (Daily News Egypt) The Coptic Orthodox Church held a liturgy on Wednesday at St. Mark’s Cathedral in Cairo. The service commemorated the protesters who died almost a year ago in Maspero Square. On 9 October 2011 a large group of predominantly Christian protesters marched from the Cairo neighborhood of Shubra and were confronted by the army near the state television and radio building, leading to an assault that left many Christian protesters dead. While S.C.A.F. conducted an investigation and claimed the army was not at fault, video and witnesses indicate that the army ran over many of the demonstrators with tanks. Wednesday’s liturgy marked the end of a three-day church-wide fast in preparation for the next stage of the papal election process.



Tags: Egypt Middle East Christians Pope Benedict XVI Syro-Malabar Catholic Church Coptic Christians

3 October 2012
J.D. Conor Mauro




Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, the Vatican observer at the United Nations in Geneva, speaks at a town hall discussion on migration hosted by the U.S. Embassy to the Holy See at the Pontifical North American College in Rome on 8 March 2012. (photo: CNS/Paul Haring)

Archbishop urges solidarity and protection for refugees (Vatican Radio) Archbishop Silvano M. Tomasi, Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations and Other International Organizations in Geneva, made a statement before the 63rd session of U.N.H.C.R.’s Executive Committee: “Mr. Chairman, The surge in the number of recent conflicts has produced new waves of refugees and displaced persons. ... Forcibly uprooted people challenge the international community, which has failed to prevent it, to respond to their vulnerability. ... [A]s armed clashes persist and new uprooted people are obliged to seek survival in exile and in precarious conditions of physical and psychological suffering, it becomes our common responsibility to search and apply more creative and concrete forms of solidarity and protection.”

More than 40 killed as 4 bombs strike Aleppo (New York Times) Four huge explosions struck a government-held district of Aleppo, Syria, on Wednesday, shearing off the fronts of two tall buildings, killing more than 40 people and filling the streets with rubble in a square near the area’s public park, according to video, photographs and reports from the Syrian government and its opponents. The bombings hit a central square bordered by a graceful public garden, a downtown district full of hotels and offices, and the Christian neighborhood of Aziziyeh, where many people had sought refuge over the weekend.

Huge turnout for Sukkot blessings in Jerusalem (Haaretz) Tens of thousands of Jewish worshipers descended upon Jerusalem’s Western Wall on Wednesday to hear the traditional priestly blessing that is considered a hallmark of the annual Sukkot festival. “The aura was just amazing,” said 38 year-old Emily of Massry of Brooklyn, New York, who attended the event for the first time, along with three of her friends. “We felt the achdut, the unity, of so many different communities coming together.”

Study: Orthodox Christians in Russia lack churches (RIA Novosti) Orthodox Christians constitute 43 percent of the Russian populace, but they have less churches and parishes per believer than any other major confession in the country, according to a new study presented on Wednesday. “There’s a huge demand for faith, which is not being met” due to a shortage of religious facilities, said sociologist of religion Roman Lunkin of the Sreda polling service at a presentation in Moscow.

Explosion in east Lebanon kills at least four (Lebanon Daily Star) An explosion that ripped through a house in east Lebanon killed at least four people and wounded three more, according to security sources. It is not yet clear what triggered the blast. A local official in Nabi Sheet, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told The Daily Star that the explosion most likely targeted a “Hezbollah arms depot.”



Tags: Lebanon Jerusalem Syrian Civil War Vatican Russia





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