28 August 2019
In this image from April, displaced Syrian children walk with bread at a camp in Hassakeh, Syria. A children’s charity has raised alarm over the number of children impacted by ongoing military operations in Syria. (photo: CNS/Ali Hashisho, Reuters)
Children’s charity voices alarm over child deaths in Syria (Vatican News) Speaking about the alarming situation in the region, Save the Children’s Media Manager for the Middle East, Joelle Bassoul said, “the civilian population is paying the price for this military operation and children who number one million in Idlib are at the forefront and sadly the numbers are increasing by the day…”
Kerala flood and landslide rescue team ends search efforts (Gulf News) Nearly three weeks after rain waters and a landslide buried a mountainside at Kavalapara near Nilambur in Kerala’s Malabar region, the search and rescue team officially ended its operations on Sunday. At least 59 people are believed killed in the incident, and 48 bodies have been recovered so far…
Patriarch urges Christians to return to Turkey (The Tablet) The Orthodox Ecumenical Patriarch has urged Christians to return to Turkey, a century after a hundreds of thousands fled following a Greek-Turkish war and the redrawing of bilateral frontiers. ”My homeland continually waits to embrace its estranged children, to tell them it’s alive and breathing”, Bartholomew I told a congregation at Saint Theodore’s church in his home village of Imros…
Gaza on state of alert (Al Jazeera) The Gaza Strip is on a “state of alert” after explosions killed three policemen in the Palestinian enclave in apparent suicide attacks. The police officers died in “two explosions targeting police checkpoints” late on Tuesday, the interior ministry in the Hamas-controlled coastal territory said in a statement…
Jerusalem begins work on underground cemetery (UPI) Running out of places to bury the dead, the holy city of Jerusalem is building an underground cemetery for thousands of new graves. In Jerusalem’s Givat Shaul neighborhood, construction on the underground section of the Har HaMenuchot Cemetery is underway, and the first 8,000 burial spaces will be available this fall. Officials said the underground cemetery will be able to hold 30,000 plots…
27 August 2019
Tags: Syria Jerusalem Kerala Turkey
In this image from June, Syriac Catholic Archbishop Nathanael Nizar Semaan celebrates his first liturgy as bishop on Pentecost Sunday, two days after his episcopal ordination, in the Church of the Immaculate Conception in Qaraqosh. He has been named the Diocese of Hadiab-Erbil and all Kurdistan. To the left is Syriac Catholic Patriarch Ignace Joseph III Younan.
(photo: Syriac Catholic Patriarchate)
To support the faithful and encourage them to stay in their homeland, the Syriac Catholic Church has reestablished a diocese for the Kurdistan region of Iraq.
Syriac Catholic Patriarch Ignace Joseph III Younan celebrated the new diocese at a liturgy at Queen of Peace Syriac Catholic Church in Erbil, Iraq, on 24 August. In his homily, he commended the faithful for being “the embodiment of the living faith, and a testimony to the challenge and steadfastness amid takfiri terrorism and in the face of evil forces that wanted to kill hope in your believing souls.”
“I say and repeat: You have carried the cross on the example of the Savior, our divine teacher, and you have persevered in your faith, your heritage and your hope, which has been admired around the world, East and West alike,” Patriarch Younan said.
Archbishop Nathaniel Nizar Semaan heads the new Diocese of Hadiab-Erbil and all Kurdistan. Previously, the area was under the Mosul Archdiocese’s jurisdiction.
Archbishop Semaan was ordained a bishop on 7 June as the coadjutor archbishop of Mosul; then he was named archbishop of the new diocese when it was erected 28 June. He had served as a priest in London for 14 years.
The Hadiab Diocese was founded in the 13th century, but had dissolved by the mid-17th century.
In the summer of 2014, some 120,000 Christians were uprooted from Mosul and the Ninevah Plain by the Islamic State, fleeing to Irbil in the Kurdistan region. While dozens of families have since migrated to the West, some families have returned to liberated areas in the Ninevah Plain, and others have settled in the Kurdistan region.
Patriarch Younan noted that, during their synod in June, the Syriac Catholic bishops decided to revive the diocese “in order to activate the episcopal care of the clergy and believers residing in the Kurdistan region.”
The Kurdistan regional government has provided two plots of land in Ainkawa and Dahuk, each dedicated to the construction of a Syriac Catholic church.
Patriarch Younan also celebrated Mass in the refurbished Syriac Catholic church of St. Behnam and St. Sarah in Qaraqosh, which had been destroyed by ISIS. In his homily during the 25 August liturgy, the patriarch recalled that he had participated in the church’s consecration 18 years earlier.
He referred to the faithful from Qaraqosh, located in the heart of the Ninevah Plain, as “the pearls of our church” as they constitute the largest Syriac Catholic congregation in the world. Noting that immigrating to the West does not necessarily result in happiness, the patriarch reminded Catholics that “the blessed land that was watered in the sweat of our fathers and grandfathers and with their bright blood must continue to bear witness to the Lord Jesus, even if our number is reduced.”
In 2003, there were approximately 1.5 million Christians in Iraq. Their presence dates back to apostolic times. Now that number has dwindled to about 250,000.
Prior to visiting Iraq, Patriarch Younan participated in the International Pilgrimage for Politicians and Family Summit in Fatima, Portugal. On the sidelines of the summit, along with Syriac Orthodox Patriarch Ignatius Aphrem II, Patriarch Younan met with acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney.
The patriarchs called attention to the violence, terrorism, kidnapping, killing and uprooting, particularly in Syria and Iraq, and warned that, if it continues, it would lead to Christians leaving the land.
27 August 2019
Tags: Iraq Iraqi Christians Syriac Catholic Church
Villages throughout India are struggling to recover from massive flooding from this month’s monsoons. (photo: CNEWA)
Flooded villages cry out for government help (India Today) Phool Kalan village of Punjab’s Roopnagar district has been partially torn through by a torrent of floodwater and mud which hit the village during the recent floods. The floodwater rose as high as 5 to 6 feet and entered every household in Phool Kalan. The water after receding left behind a picture of destruction. Despite the widespread damage caused to the houses, the residents are busy struggling to put their life back on track...
Ahead of meeting, Turkey expects Russia to help rein in Syria (Reuters) President Tayyip Erdogan will seek steps from Russia’s Vladimir Putin to safeguard Turkish troops in the face of an offensive by the Syrian army in the country’s northwest when the two leaders meet on Tuesday, a senior Turkish official said…
Indian faithful urged to support constitution (UCANews.com) Political and social leaders in India addressing centenary celebrations of the nation’s oldest lay Catholic organization have urged church members to stand up for constitutional democratic and secular values. The chief minister of New Delhi, Arvind Kejriwal, stressed the importance of the All India Catholic Union (AICU) safeguarding the multireligious ethos of society…
Russian Orthodox leader: pacifists misinterpret the Bible (The Moscow Times) The head of Russia’s Orthodox Church has said the modern pacifist movement misunderstands Jesus Christ’s sermon about turning the other cheek. ”If we confine ourselves to these words [“if anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn the other also”], we could draw the wrong conclusions from a literal interpretation,” Patriarch Kirill said Sunday...
UN calls for eliminating violence against religion (Vatican News) The United Nations on Thursday marked the first-ever International Day Commemorating the Victims of Acts of Violence Based on Religion and Belief, urging for an end to the persecution of religious groups. ”On this Day, we reaffirm our unwavering support for the victims of violence based on religion and belief. And we demonstrate that support by doing all in our power to prevent such attacks and demanding that those responsible are held accountable,” said UN Secretary-General, António Guterres in a message for the occasion…
Amid 2018 floods, new smiles were born (The New Indian Express) Little Subhaan, Aaradhya and Hanna Mariya will be celebrating their first birthday, as the state observes the first anniversary of the worst flood in a century, amid the prospect of another devastation now. Their mothers — Sajitha Jabeel, Krishnendu and Jismi — were in the advanced stage of pregnancy when floodwater inundated their houses last year. In deep anguish, they perched on top of their houses amid gushing waters and crumbling buildings. But, in the nick of time, rescue workers managed to shift them to relief camps. From there, Navy helicopter crew airlifted them to the INHS Sanjeevani Hospital at Kochi Naval Base…
26 August 2019
Tags: Syria India Russian Orthodox Church Persecution
In this image from February, Pope Francis and Sheik Ahmad el-Tayeb, grand imam of Egypt’s Al Azhar mosque and university, are seen in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. Pope Francis welcomed Abu Dhabi’s formation of an international committee to implement the "Document for Human Fraternity for World Peace and Living Together," which he and Sheik el-Tayeb signed in the country in February. (photo: CNS/Paul Haring)
At a time when conflict and division dominate the world’s headlines, people need to know there are a growing number of important initiatives to promote interreligious dialogue and understanding, Pope Francis said.
The pope welcomed the Abu Dhabi government’s formation of an international committee to implement the document on “human fraternity,” which he and Sheik Ahmad el-Tayeb, grand imam of Egypt’s al-Azhar mosque and university, signed in Abu Dhabi in February.
“Although sadly evil, hatred and division often make news,” the pope said, “there is a hidden sea of goodness that is growing and leads us to hope in dialogue, reciprocal knowledge and the possibility of building, together with the followers of other religions and all men and women of goodwill, a world of fraternity and peace.”
The Vatican press office published the pope’s remarks on 26 August, a week after Abu Dhabi’s crown prince, Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, announced the initiative to promote meetings of religious leaders, academic study of the document and support legislation to broaden religious liberty and tolerance.
Spanish Bishop Miguel Angel Ayuso Guixot, president of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, was named a member of the committee.
In an interview with Vatican News, Bishop Ayuso said the document is an appeal to build a “civilization of love,” and should not lead to a fear that Catholics will stop believing that the fullness of salvation lies in Christ.
“I think fear is the number one enemy of interreligious dialogue,” he said. “The Catholic Church remembers the value of its own identity, the courage of otherness and the sincerity of intentions” of those who engage in dialogue.
“It is not about creating a ‘melting pot’ in which all religions are considered equal,” he said, “but that all believers -- those who seek God and all people of good will without religious affiliation -- are equal in dignity.”
26 August 2019
Tags: Muslim Interreligious Abu Dhabi
Pope Francis and Missionaries of Charity nuns pray in front of a statue of Mother Teresa at the Mother Teresa Memorial during a meeting with religious leaders and the poor in Skopje, North Macedonia, 7 May 2019. (photo: CNS/Paul Haring)
Mother Teresa’s nuns remember her birthday (UCANews.com) Missionaries of Charity nuns celebrated the birthday of their founder St. Mother Teresa of Calcutta three years after her canonization, breaking a Catholic convention. Archbishop Thomas D’Souza of Calcutta led a Mass on 26 August, marking the nun’s 109th birth anniversary in the headquarters of Missionaries of Charity in the eastern city of Kolkata, formerly called Calcutta...
Eleven years after India’s anti-Christian violence, faith still growing (Vatican News) It was on 25 August 2008, that hell broke loose on the Christians of Kandhamal, with Hindu extremists attacking them for the 23 August murder of Hindu leader Swami Lakshmanananda Saraswati, even though Maoist rebels claimed the assassination. In the rioting by radical Hindus that went on unabated for months, some 100 people were killed, thousands were injured, 300 churches and 6,000 homes were destroyed, and 50,000 people were displaced, with many forced to hide in nearby forests where many died of hunger and snakebites. Eleven years on, Archbishop John Barwa of Cuttack-Bhubaneswar says the faith of Christians is growing, the people have no fear, and “they can face any challenge with faith and trusting in God”…
‘Religions for Peace’ pledge concrete actions (Vatican News) The 10th World Assembly of “Religions for Peace”, the world’s most representative, multi-religious gathering of religious communities, concluded on Friday in the German town of Lindau, with participants committing themselves to common action for the common good of humanity. Some 900 senior religious leaders, 100 representatives of governments, intergovernmental organizations and civil society groups, and youth and women of faith from over 125 countries came together, 20-23 August, to discuss their theme “Caring for our Common Future—Advancing Shared Well-Being…”
How a settler saved an Ethiopian family (The Jerusalem Post) Many Ethiopian Jews died on the way to Sudan, and many others who managed to reach Sudan were somehow left behind. A chance meeting in 1999 between Rabbi Aron Katsof and Adina, a young woman who had come from Ethiopia as an eight-year-old child and was going back as a volunteer, added a new dimension to Operation Moses, in that Katsof, too, became part of an historic rescue operation, and succeeded in re-uniting a family from among those who had been left behind…
Pope welcomes new UAE committee to promote human fraternity (Vatican News) Pope Francis and the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, Ahmed el-Tayyeb, signed the Document on Human Fraternity for World Peace and Living Together in Abu Dhabi in February 2019. Now that document has led the UAE to set up a high committee to spread the principles of tolerance and cooperation, especially through education…
23 August 2019
Tags: Syria India Ethiopia
Alexander and Margarita Mamin show one of their icons with a religious theme, which stands in stark contrast to the secular work the Soviets had insisted upon. Read more about the religious icons being created after the fall of the Soviet empire in New Reality, Same Artistry from the March-April 2004 edition of our magazine. (photo: Sean Sprague)
23 August 2019
Tags: Russia Icons
Monsoons have caused flooding that has destroyed homes and farmland throughout India.
(video: Al Jazeera/YouTube)
Monsoons batter India, destroying homes, farmland (Al Jazeera) Thousands of people in the southern Indian state of Kerala have lost their homes and livelihoods after weeks of heavy rain. The monsoon rains triggered floods and landslides across India…
Turkey vows not to quit army post surrounded in Syria (AFP) Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Friday that Turkish troops will not quit a military observation post in northwestern Syria where they are surrounded by government forces. ”We are there, not because we can’t leave but because we don’t want to leave,” he told a news conference in Lebanon, denying that Turkish troops had been “cut off” by a government advance into the jihadist-ruled Idlib region…
Archbishop says Christians are close to Muslims in Indian Kashmir (AsiaNews) Archbishop Sebastian Shaw of Lahore released a video message saying that Pakistan’s religious minorities are “praying for the people of Indian Kashmir.” The prelate was reacting to the decision by the Indian government to scrap Jammu and Kashmir’s special autonomy, which sparked renewed tensions between India and Pakistan…
Israel encouraging Gaza residents to emigrate (Irish Times) Palestinians have reacted angrily after Israeli officials confirmed that efforts have been made to encourage residents of the Gaza Strip to emigrate. Israeli officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, confirmed that the security cabinet held at least five discussions on the plan, which involved providing financial assistance to residents of Gaza who wanted to leave and allowing them to depart via an airport in southern Israel…
22 August 2019
Tags: India Gaza Strip/West Bank Turkey
In this image from 2017, Pope Francis meets Nadia Murad Basee Taha, who escaped from ISIS slavery in Iraq. She is now a human rights activist and is a UN goodwill ambassador for its office that fights human trafficking. (photo: CNS/L’Osservatore Romano, handout)
Slavery is a permanent stain on the soul of humanity. As a reminder, on Friday 23 August the United Nations (UNESCO) observes the International Day of Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition.
It is an observance; it is not a celebration — and one that resonates deeply today, especially in the world CNEWA serves.
The roots of slavery are sunk deep into human history and its bitter fruits are still present. In the ancient world, the economies of almost every great empire were built on slavery. Those slaves could be prisoners of war, criminals, poor people forced to sell themselves into slavery and those born into slavery. Slavery was taken for granted and, while the Bible makes some modifications, even it simply accepts slavery as it is. In Exodus, we find laws about slaves. Hebrew slaves are to be freed in the seventh year of their servitude. However, if the owner “gives him [the slave] a wife and she bears him sons and daughters, wife and children shall belong to the master, and the man must leave alone” (Exodus 21:4). The inhumanity of the law is overwhelming in our contemporary world.
Scholars estimate that the economy of the Roman Empire during the time of Jesus was built almost entirely on slave labor. Some estimates set the number of slaves in Italy around the time of Christ to be about two million, or one slave for every three free people. In his work On Mercy 1:24 Seneca (65 AD) wrote “It was once proposed in the Senate that slaves should be distinguished from free people by their dress, but then it was realized how great a danger this would be, if our slaves began to count us.”
The Greek word doulos, “slave,” appears 127 times in the New Testament. The word diakonos, often translated “minister” or even “deacon,” refers sometimes to a slave of a higher class, perhaps a slave entrusted with running the household of his own. Paul’s letter Philemon throws an often-overlooked harsh light on the ethos of the time. Paul writes to Philemon, a Christian whose slave, Onesimus, has run away and whom Paul is now sending back to his master. While Paul does ask Philemon to take Onesimos back as a brother (Phil 16), he does not ask him to free him. It is fair to say that for the Bible (and for millennia thereafter) slavery was considered part of the natural order.
Slavery is a social and economic reality. Until the middle of the 19th century the economies of the United States and other countries were heavily dependent upon save labor. For thousands of years this was seen as “natural.” Slavery, however, is also a moral and spiritual reality. It is built on the belief that God has created some to be slaves and some to be free. Changing the title of a film (later play) by Hesper Anderson and Mark Medoff, slaves are “Lesser Children of God,” often lesser in every way than the “free” children of God.
It is difficult to pinpoint precisely when slavery as an institution began to unravel (at least in some places). The United States was one of the last countries in the European-based world to abolish slavery, which began in Virginia in 1619 — exactly 400 years ago — and was ended by the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863.
While slavery has been made illegal and dismantled in many parts of the world, it is far from gone as a social and economic reality. The UN and the Catholic Church often speak of “contemporary forms of slavery.” These include trafficking human beings for labor or for the sex trade. This is still a frightening reality, even in countries where slavery is illegal. The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNDOC) has studied thousands of case of trafficking and slavery throughout the world. Social and economic slavery in modern dress still stalks our world, preying on women, children, the weak and the poor.
Slavery persists, as well, as a moral and spiritual reality. It is still alive in far too many places, where it can be more subtle and even more poisonous. The belief that some people (any people) are somehow of less value and less deserving of dignity and freedom can bring about that racism, that crippling of the soul that affects almost all of us. Racism is a shape-shifting chimera, born of the belief that some people are “naturally” lesser; it is capable of taking many forms. Some of those forms are crude and open. Other forms are more subtle and even genteel. In any case, all forms are toxins for the soul.
Racism can be the subconscious underpinning of so much in society. What should be, for example, the equal access to resources such as health care and education is often limited by racial foundations which are tolerated as being “the way things are.” Inequalities and lack of access to resources — once they become “normalized” — are little more than an updated version of the ancient belief that some people were created by nature to be slaves and underlings.
Slavery must be abolished on all levels — social, economic, and moral/spiritual.
It is something CNEWA can never forget. CNEWA works among the poorest of the poor and the weakest of the weak on our planet. The people we serve are constantly threatened by all forms of contemporary slavery. The UN Day of Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition is a challenge and perhaps, even, an indictment. Slavery —and its hateful spawn, racism — are alive and well in our world. As followers of Jesus we are obliged to make Paul’s words a reality: “In Christ there is no Jew or Greek, slave or free person…you are one in Christ” (Gal. 3:28) and “when Christ freed us, he meant us to remain free” (5:1).
22 August 2019
In this image from 2018, the Rev. John Szada, chaplain of the Carmel of Jesus, Mary and Joseph in Elysburg, Pennsylvania, distributes Communion during an annual Marian pilgrimage at Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Ukrainian Catholic Church. This year’s pilgrimage will be held on Sunday. (photo: CNS/Chris Heisey, The Catholic Witness)
With the mass shootings that have taken place in this country in recent weeks and “the state of our society in our big cities and small towns,” this is a time “when we all need to turn to God,” said the pastor of a historic Ukrainian Catholic church in Pennsylvania.
The Rev. Michael Hutsko, pastor of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Ukrainian Catholic Church in Centralia, made the comments in an interview with SSPTV of Hazelton, Pennsylvania, ahead of the annual Call to Prayer Marian Pilgrimage set to take place at the church on 25 August.
The white church, with its distinctive three onion-shaped blue domes, sits on a hill to the north of the town, which has been almost entirely condemned as a result of underground mine fires that have undermined the stability of the ground.
“People are coming from all over the East Coast (to) make their way here to pray,” Father Hutsko said. “It truly is a day of prayer and we try to keep the property as peaceful and calm as possible, not to turn it into a reunion or a picnic. It’s a place to experience to God and this mountain is conducive to that.”
The fact the church sits high above the town, escaping the underground mine fires is “something providential, “ the priest added. “Only God knew it would be a place to call people and remind people of his presence.”
Today, while the town is a memory, the church still serves a thriving parish family, with congregants driving to the hilltop on Sundays and holy days from communities throughout the area.
This year’s annual Marian pilgrimage will feature five bishops who will concelebrate the Divine Liturgy: Metropolitan-Archbishop Borys Gudziak of the Ukrainian Catholic Archeparchy of Philadelphia; Bishop Paul P. Chomnycky of the Ukrainian Catholic Eparchy of Stamford, Connecticut; Bishop Ronald W. Gainer of the Latin-rite Diocese of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania; Bishop Alfred A. Schlert of the Latin-rite Diocese of Allentown, Pennsylvania; and Auxiliary Bishop John Bura of the Ukrainian Catholic Archeparchy of Philadelphia.
Metropolitan-Archbishop Gudziak will be the homilist. Father Deacon Paul Spotts will serve as deacon. Responses to the Divine Liturgy will be congregational singing led by Dennis Hardock, cantors from local parishes, members of St. Nicholas Choir in Minersville, Pennsylvania, and Holy Family Ukrainian National Shrine Choir in Washington.
After the Divine Liturgy, a procession from the church will take the Icon of Our Lady of Pochaiv to the outside chapel where the icon will be placed for veneration.
Priests will be available for much of the day offering the sacrament of reconciliation for pilgrims at various locations on the church grounds.
A living rosary will be prayed in the afternoon before the Icon of Our Lady of Pochaiv. Afterward the Akafist Prayer to the Dormition (Assumption) of Mary will be sung.
The schedule also will include a 5 p.m. a candlelight procession with the icon from the Pochaiv Chapel to the church for the celebration of a “moleben,” or prayer of (prayer of supplication) to the Mother of God. At the conclusion of the moleben, prayers for healing and the anointing with holy oils for the healing of soul and body will take place.
“During this Marian pilgrimage, as we are called to prayer,” Father Hutsko said, to ask that Mary “extend her mantle of protection over us and lead our nation toward a spiritual conversion of mind, heart and soul.”
The first pilgrimage to the Centralia church was held in 2016 and the story of this unique pilgrimage site has been told throughout the world. It was the cover story for the Christmas 2018 edition of Reader’s Digest and BBC News did a feature story in February 2018.
During a 2015 visit, Major Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk of Kyiv-Halych, Ukraine, the head of the worldwide Ukrainian Catholic Church, marveled at the continuing presence of the church in Centralia. He also noted how this coal region parish fostered vocations of four men to the priesthood and three sisters to religious life.
With the visit of Major Archbishop Shevchuk and the encouragement of now-retired Metropolitan-Archbishop Stefan Soroka of the Ukrainian Catholic Archeparchy of Philadelphia, the place was designated a holy site of pilgrimage.
22 August 2019
Tags: Ukrainian Catholic Church
Dozens of houses have been destroyed by landslides caused by massive rain and flooding in parts of Kerala. CNEWA has received urgent requests for aid, and is launching an appeal to support those whose homes and livelihoods have been wiped out. (photo: CNEWA)
CNEWA launches emergency appeal for flood-ravaged Kerala (CNEWA) Catholic Near East Welfare Association has received urgent requests for aid from partners in flood-ravaged Kerala in southern India. The Syro-Malabar Catholic Eparchy (diocese) of Palghat reports that torrential rains have triggered landslides in the hilly areas of the Palakkad District, burying houses, people, livestock and patches of agricultural lands in mud several feet deep. CNEWA’s regional director in Kerala, M.L. Thomas, adds that flash floods have ravaged the lower regions of the district, destroying houses and fields located along its rivers and streams. ”Raging floodwaters have caused massive mudslides in the hilly areas,” he writes. “Farm lands have been wiped out and houses have disappeared. It is heartbreaking to watch…”
Caritas India responds to monsoon disaster (Vatican News) Caritas India, the relief and development arm of the Catholic Church in the country, is collaborating with its local partners in various dioceses to bring relief to millions of people affected by the floods and landslides caused by heavy monsoon rains…
Syria opening ’humanitarian corridor’ (Al Jazeera) Syria’s Foreign Ministry has said it is opening a “humanitarian corridor” for civilians to leave the rebel-held northwestern region of Idlib and northern Hama, where the army has advanced against armed fighters with fierce air and ground attacks…
How geopolitics tore apart the Orthodox Church (Financial Times) The Russian church severed ties with Constantinople, creating one of the biggest rifts in Christianity since the Great Schism of 1054, when the Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches divided. Far from being an arcane squabble over centuries-old church doctrine, Patriarch Bartholomew’s decision had geopolitical significance. The fallout has affected the lives of priests and politicians, of ordinary worshippers and oligarchs…
Tags: Syria India Kerala Russian Orthodox Church