16 November 2012
Palestinian firefighters extinguish a smoldering fire after an Israeli airstrike on the building of Hamas’ Ministry of Interior in Gaza City on 16 November. Catholic officials said Israeli and Palestinian leaders must make tough decisions to end the recent violence.
(photo: CNS/Mohammed Salem, Reuters)
Egyptian prime minister’s visit fails to bring lull in Gaza violence (Los Angeles Times) Anyone hoping that Friday morning’s visit to Gaza City by Egyptian Prime Minister Hisham Kandil might ease the growing conflict between Israel and Hamas was sorely disappointed. In a brief two-hour trip, Kandil made no public mention of a cease-fire or ending the violence that has so far killed 23 people on both sides. Instead, he said Egypt’s loyalty rested squarely with Gaza’s people...
European nations discuss arming Syria’s rebels (Associated Press) LONDON Britain’s Foreign Secretary says the U.K. government has discussed whether a European Union arms embargo on Syria could be lifted to allow nations to supply weapons to the country’s opposition. William Hague told BBC radio on Friday that Britain plans talks with other EU nations on the issue. It is likely to be discussed at a meeting of European foreign ministers on Monday...
Christian churches withdraw from Constituent Assembly in Egypt (Fides) The representatives of the Christian Churches in Egypt have announced their withdrawal from the Constituent Assembly charged with drafting the new constitution of the great North African Country. The decision, already in circulation in recent days by the new Coptic Orthodox Patriarch Tawadros II and solicited by many influential members of the Christian community, was taken yesterday in a meeting held in St. Mark’s Coptic Cathedral in Cairo, which was also attended by the Coptic Catholic Bishop Yohanna Qulta and dr. Safwat al-Bayaadi, head of the Anglican Church in Egypt, members of the Constituent Assembly...
What is the status of Egypt’s Christians? (Christian Science Monitor) With the selection of a new pope, Egypt’s Coptic Orthodox Church again has a spiritual leader as the country goes through a turbulent transition that has been particularly difficult for Christians. Tawadros II, the 118th pope, must fill the shoes of a beloved former leader (he died in March) at a time when sectarian attacks have increased, many are fearful of the rise of Islamist politicians, and the church’s political role is being debated...
15 November 2012
Tags: Syria Egypt Gaza Strip/West Bank Coptic Christians
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A priest and devotees of the Ge’ez Catholic Eparchy of Emdibir gather after celebrating the Divine Liturgy at St. Anthony of Padua Cathedral in Emdibir, Ethiopia. (photo: John Kozar)
Monsignor John Kozar visited Ethiopia earlier this year and met people from the many faiths represented in that east African country. In his blog, he wrote about one such visit:
My first exposure to the rich Ge’ez Rite would come at an early morning Divine Liturgy the following morning at St. Anthony of Padua Cathedral. The bishop and most of the eparchy’s priests concelebrated the ancient liturgy. I was taken aback by the beauty of the liturgy, the amazing intricacy of the chanting, not just of the bishop and the priests, but all the many faithful who had assembled as well. The cathedral had a large of number of people for this ordinary weekday eucharistic liturgy, celebrated at 6:20 a.m. All of the faithful are farmers and some regularly walk great distances to attend.
Read more about his visit, “An Ethiopian Odyssey.”
15 November 2012
Tags: Ethiopia Msgr. John E. Kozar Ethiopian Christianity Ethiopian Catholic Church
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In this 2011 image, Rosary Sister Nabila Saleh participates in Mass at the Holy Family Catholic Church in Gaza. There are some 3,000 Christians in Gaza, of which a little more than 200 are Catholic. (photo: CNS/Paul Jeffrey)
Attacks resume in Gaza conflict (New York Times) Israel and Hamas widened their increasingly deadly conflict over Gaza on Thursday, as a militant rocket killed three civilians in an apartment block in this small southern town. The deaths are likely to lead Israel to intensify its military offensive on Gaza, now in its second day of airstrikes…
Aim of ecumenism is unity of divided Christians (VIS) The close ties between the work of evangelization and the need to overcome the divisions that still exist between Christians was the central theme of this morning’s address by the Holy Father to the members and consultors of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity on the occasion of their plenary assembly dedicated to “The importance of ecumenism in new evangelization” …
Russian Orthodox Church plans to increase presence in Holy Land (RIA) The Russian Orthodox Church will encourage pilgrims to travel to Israel, the Palestinian territories and Jordan to thereby widen its presence in the region, Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia said at the end of his five-day visit there. Some of the events on his visit agenda were “aimed at increasing the presence of the Russian Orthodox Church in the Holy Land,” Patriarch Kirill said on Wednesday while summing up the visit…
Comboni nun works to help Eritreans en route to Israel (CNS) Comboni Sister Azezet Kidane is fluent in Amharic, Arabic, Sudanese and Tigrit dialects, so she was a natural choice when a shelter for African refugees needed help. It was only after the nun, known as Sister Aziza, began conducting interviews with Eritrean refugees that she realized the people she was talking to had been tortured. “It is a horror story, what is happening,” she told Catholic News Service from the African Refugee Development Center’s shelter for single mothers and pregnant women in a low-income neighborhood of Tel Aviv…
Toronto’s interfaith director honored (Catholic Register) For Christian-Jewish Dialogue of Toronto, talk is precious and deserves to be honored. With those values front and center, the 50-year-old organization will honor two people who have fostered conversations about faith, trust and our future together. Christian-Jewish Dialogue will fete Franciscan Friar of the Atonement Father Damian MacPherson and Holocaust Education Centre operations manager Mary Siklos at a 26 November dinner in Toronto. Cardinal Thomas Collins will be the keynote speaker for the dinner at the Adath Israel Congregation. For MacPherson, dialogue with Jews is precisely how we are called to be Catholic. “[Dialogue] is not a choice we can arbitrarily make. It has become a responsibility we must assume,” he said. “The Church can only fully be the Church if it’s faithful to its Jewish roots. Knowing the texts is not sufficient. Knowing the people who believe and have preserved the texts, knowing the covenant, is what we’re called to” …
14 November 2012
Tags: Holy Land Ecumenism Russian Orthodox Church Gaza Strip/West Bank Canada
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Cristian Atkinson Abutridy, whose background is Palestinian, celebrates his nephew’s birthday in a Palestinian restaurant in Santiago, Chile in October 2011. (photo: Tomas Munita)
Did you know that Chile is home to the world’s largest Palestinian community outside the Middle East? From the July issue of ONE, Aaron Nelson writes:
The estimated number ranges from 450,000 to a half million. Most are Christians who either hail from or trace their lineage back to the towns of Beit Jala, Beit Sahour and Bethlehem.
The first wave of Palestinians arrived after the Ottoman Turkish government, which then controlled much of the Middle East, allowed emigration in 1896. These early immigrants held Turkish passports; still today, turcos (Spanish for “Turks”) remains a common derogatory term for Arabs in Chile.
Large numbers also migrated to Chile during World War I and, later, when the 1948 war in Palestine erupted. Mass immigration from Palestine then slowed to a trickle in the second half of the 20th century.
During the same period, however, the Chilean government granted asylum to numerous Palestinian refugees. Most recently, in April 2008, it resettled 117 Palestinians — all Sunni Muslim — from the Al-Waleed refugee camp in Iraq, near the Syrian border.
For the first Palestinians, life in Chile was bittersweet. Acceptance in society did not come easily. At the time, native-born Chileans often discriminated against immigrants, particularly those from areas of the world other than northern and Central Europe.
Nevertheless, they flourished in their adopted country. The new arrivals quickly found their way in the workforce as craftspeople, farmers and merchants. By the early 20th century, dozens of Arabic-language newspapers circulated and numerous Arab social clubs were established.
“Family and faith were central to the identity of the immigrants,” says Professor Eugenio Chahuan, codirector of the University of Chile’s Center for Arabic Studies.
To learn more about the Palestinian community in Chile, read the full article, Yo Soy Palestino, in the July 2012 issue of ONE magazine.
14 November 2012
Tags: Palestine Chile
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Smoke rises over the Syrian town of Ras al Ain after an airstrike, as seen from the border town of Ceylanpinar, Turkey, on 13 November. International aid officials met in Lebanon in early November to discuss the situation of Syrians fleeing the violence in their country. (photo: CNS/Osman Orsal, Reuters)
Papal envoy appeals for negotiations in Syria (Vatican Radio) Cardinal Robert Sarah paints a dramatic picture of the situation of refugees fleeing war in Syria. He says the Pope’s $1 million donation in support of the church’s humanitarian response to the crisis is highly appreciated. Reporting on his recently concluded mission as special papal envoy, Cardinal Sarah, president of the Pontifical Council Cor Unum, speaks of the predicament of the refugees in Lebanon and of his hopes for a speedy solution to the crisis...
Car bomb explodes outside church in Syria (Fides) A car bomb exploded in front of the Orthodox Church of the Annunciation, in the city of Raqqah, in northeastern Syria, causing two deaths and injuring a woman. All victims were civilians. As confirmed by Fides sources in the local Christian community, the car bomb damaged the church building, spreading terror throughout the population…
Archbishop Tikhon elected Metropolitan of All America and Canada (OCA.org) Archbishop Tikhon of Philadelphia and Eastern Pennsylvania was elected primate of the Orthodox Church in America during the 17th All-American Council of the Orthodox Church in America at Holy Trinity Church on Tuesday, 13 November 2012. Six hundred and sixty-three hierarchs, clergy and lay delegates, along with observers representing O.C.A. parishes across the United States, Canada, Mexico, and Alaska, participated in the Council…
Onion domes on the Seine: proposed Orthodox cathedral in Paris sparks controversy (Radio Free Europe) Orthodox cathedrals with their trademark golden onion domes are a familiar sight across Russia. And one may soon become part of Paris’s famed skyline, near the Eiffel Tower. French President Francois Hollande has just weeks to decide on a controversial plan to build a massive Russian Orthodox spiritual and cultural center in downtown Paris on the banks of the Seine River, on a UNESCO-protected world heritage site…
Eastern Catholics explain tradition of married priests (CNS) In Eastern Christianity — among both Catholics and Orthodox — a dual vocation to marriage and priesthood are seen as a call “to love more” and to broaden the boundaries of what a priest considers to be his family, said Russian Catholic Father Lawrence Cross. Father Cross, a professor at the Australian Catholic University in Melbourne, was one of the speakers at the Chrysostom Seminar in Rome on 13 November, a seminar focused on the history and present practice of married priests in the Eastern churches. The Code of Canons of the Eastern Catholic Churches insist that “in the way they lead their family life and educate their children, married clergy are to show an outstanding example to other Christian faithful” …
13 November 2012
Tags: Syrian Civil War Orthodox Church United States Violence against Christians Eastern Churches
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Boys play with old tires in "the field," a squatters camp on land where a sports stadium is set to be built. (photo: Peter Lemieux)
In our September 2003 issue, contributor Peter Lemieux reported on struggle and joy in Ethiopia. Of the above picture, captured in the course of his reporting, he had this to say:
An area of wasteland in the Bole section of Addis Ababa, “the field” had long been designated by the government as the site for a future sports stadium. Squatters have lived on the grounds for more than 10 years, having migrated from the countryside to the city in search of a better life. Their dreams have not been realized. Most of the villagers are unemployed and have nothing more than huts scrapped together from trash and mud to show for their efforts. Some mothers even resort to renting their baby to beggars for a pittance [to help them win sympathy]. Yet ironically, even though many living in the field are beggars, they are still willing to give to a beggar. …
“The field” is adjacent to the Bethlehem Day Care, a program run by the Good Shepherd Sisters. The Day Care Center this year alone is enrolling more than 160 children in the CNEWA needy child program — many of whom live in “the field.”
To read more — and view more photos — check out A Flicker of Candlelight Amid the Darkness.
13 November 2012
Tags: Ethiopia Children Sisters Health Care Poor/Poverty
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A Syrian family is seen after crossing from the northern Syrian town of Ras al Ain into the border town of Ceylanpinar, Turkey, on 10 November. International aid officials met in Lebanon in early November to discuss the situation of Syrians fleeing the violence in their country. (photo: CNS/Murad Sezer, Reuters)
Health emergency: bubonic plague reported in Homs (Fides) The health situation in Homs is critical, and now there have been reports of cases of bubonic plague. As reported to Fides, civilians in the city center, including a pharmacist, indicate the serious dangers: corpses buried under the ruins, dust and dirt and stray animals, some of whom are visibly ill, have produced infections in people in the region, and pose the risk of epidemic…
Historic church in Aleppo destroyed (Fides) The historic Arabic Evangelical Church of Aleppo, in the Jdeideh district, was blown up “by armed men, for pure sectarian hatred.” This is what Ibrahim Nasir, spiritual leader of the Arabic Evangelical Church in Aleppo says, in a statement sent to Fides, referring to the explosion that occurred two days ago. Rev. Ibrahim Nasir expressed “bitterness and sadness of all Syrian citizens” for an act that makes Christians “inconsolable”...
Aid groups gather in Beirut to discuss refugee crisis (CNS) Representatives of 26 humanitarian agencies gathered in Beirut to discuss and coordinate efforts to address the increasing Syrian refugee crisis. Cardinal Robert Sarah, president of the Pontifical Council Cor Unum, who visited with Syrian refugees in the Bekaa Valley, presided over the 9 November meeting. During the cardinal’s visit, he also met with Lebanese President Michel Sleiman and participated in the monthly meeting of the council of Maronite Catholic bishops in Bkerke…
Bishop asks for U.S. Leadership to defuse Israeli-Palestinian tensions (CNS) In a 8 November letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Committee on International Justice and Peace took both Israel and Palestine to task for actions that he said undermined the possibility of a two-state solution in the Holy Land. The situation, said Bishop Richard E. Pates of Des Moines, Iowa, calls for “strong U.S. leadership that holds both parties accountable for building a just and lasting peace”…
Russian Orthodox patriarch visits Bethlehem (AFP) Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill visited the Church of Nativity in Bethlehem on Saturday and met with Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas, on the second day of his Holy Land trip. After his visit to the Bethlehem church, built over the site where Christians believe Mary gave birth to Jesus in a stable, Kirill met with the Palestinian president at his office in the West Bank city…
Pennsylvania professor discusses building bridges with Ethiopian Christians (Lancaster Online) In 1910, 82 percent of the Christians in the world lived above the equator. By 2010, 60 percent lived below it. Today, the Lancaster Conference of the Mennonite Church USA has about 15,000 members, while the Meserete Kristos Church, the Mennonite Church in Ethiopia, has well over 200,000. Anne Marie Stoner-Eby, associate professor of history at Messiah College with a research specialty in African history, and her husband, Scott Stoner-Eby, who teaches sociology at Millersville University, sat down recently at Addisu’s Ethiopian Restaurant, 1027 Dillerville Road, to talk about the dramatic shift of Christians to the global south. “This is one of the biggest questions we should be grappling with,” she says, asking: “What does it mean?” To the Stoner-Ebys, who worship at Blossom Hill Mennonite Church and reside with their sons Samuel, 11, and Luke, 7, in Lancaster city, it means building relationships across the divide…
9 November 2012
Tags: Syrian Civil War Health Care Refugees Beirut Ethiopian Christianity
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A Syrian child is pictured at a refugee camp near the Syrian-Turkish border.
(photo: CNS/Abdalghne Karoof, Reuters)
With the situation in Syria deteriorating by the day — a report this morning indicated there could be half a million refugees by next spring — we thought it would be a good time to look at some of the relief efforts underway.
In March, through the Pontifical Mission, our operating agency in the Middle East, CNEWA launched an appeal to help the church provide emergency relief to families forced from their homes.
Here are five specific ways CNEWA is involved:
We’re working with the Sisters of the Good Shepherd to assist people displaced from Homs, helping to provide food rations for over 400 families.
CNEWA’s partnering with the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate to aid over 1,000 needy children displaced with their families to Wadi al Nasarah and villages in areas outside the city of Homs.
We’re raising funds for Winter Survival Kits, offering warm clothes and heating oil to help some 2,000 vulnerable Christian families.
In Aleppo, we have partnered with Father Jules Baghdassarian, the national director of Oeuvre Pontificale Missionaire, who has registered around 1,450 needy displaced families from all confessions, and launched a food distribution program in the basement of a church that so far has helped about 300 families.
Also in Aleppo, we’re working with the Jesuit Refugee Services (JRS) under the leadership of Jesuit Father Mourad Abou Seif and his team.
For the latest, check out this report by Issam Bishara, who runs our program in Lebanon and Syria.
Also, visit our Syria page, which has details on how you can help.
9 November 2012
Tags: Syria CNEWA
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Two members of a folk group, Kecera, sing traditional songs at a seniors’ club in
Jakubany, Slovakia. (photo: Andrej Bán.)
In late 2008, ONE contributor Jacqueline Ruyak visited the Slovakian village of Jakubany and wrote about life in this Rusyn Greek Catholic village for the January 2009 issue of ONE.
Jakubany has a rich cultural heritage, including distinctive folklore, music, dance and dress. Villagers developed traditions in relation to their deep, historical relationship with the forests, pastures and mountains that surround the community.
To read more, and see more images from this lovely village, check out the full article!
9 November 2012
Tags: Slovakia Ruysn
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A man kisses the hands of Bulgarian Orthodox Patriarch Maxim during a memorial ceremony at St. Nedelya Cathedral in Sofia Nov. 8. Patriarch Maxim, who led Bulgaria’s Orthodox Christians for 41 years, died on 6 November at the age of 98. A highlight in Orthodox-Catholic relations came when he received Blessed John Paul II during the pope’s 2002 trip to Bulgaria.
(photo: CNS/Stoyan Nenov, Reuters)
Bulgarians bid farewell to Patriarch Maxim (Associated Press) Thousands of people have joined funeral proceedings in Sofia for Patriarch Maxim, who was at the helm of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church for more than four decades. The 98-year-old patriarch died Tuesday of heart failure at a Sofia hospital. The government has declared Friday a day of mourning...
Refugees in Syria may reach half a million next year (Fides) The number of Syrian refugees who have found refuge in Jordan has reached the threshold of 250 thousand. And if the conflict between Assad’s government loyalists and rebels remains unresolved, it may reach half a million by April 2013...
Kidnappings in Syria now number more than 1,700 (Fides) Austin Tice, American reporter kidnapped in Syria on 13 August and collaborator of the “Washington Post” and “McClatchy Newspapers” group, is one of the most famous victims, but the scourge of kidnapping in the Syrian conflict has currently caused at least 1,753 victims, nearly all civilians. Kidnappings are used by armed groups present in the galaxy of the Syrian opposition or by infiltrated groups, to obtain ransom, revenge, or exchange of prisoners...
Patriarch Kirill makes first official visit to Holy Land (AFP) Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill on Friday will make his first visit to the Holy Land since becoming head of the powerful church in 2009, in a trip which underlines his global influence as a religious leader. Kirill’s first official visit to Israel and the Palestinian territories will be held “under the sign of peace,” spokesman of the Russian Orthodox Church, Father Alexander Volkov, told AFP. The visit will see Kirill meeting with Israeli President Shimon Peres, the Palestinian Authority president Mahmud Abbas and King Abdullah II of Jordan in a new sign of his importance as a global religious figure. His trip “is the most important (religious) visit (to Israel) since that of the Pope Benedict XVI” in 2009, Israel’s foreign ministry said...
Tags: Syria Russian Orthodox Bulgarian Orthodox
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