Archaeologists discover a treasure-laden shipwreck from the Crusades

Posted on Mar 16, 2017

Coins are the key to linking the wreck to the fleeing Crusaders (Philippe Bohstrom)

Jeva Lange | The Week

The year 1291 A.D. was a dark year for Christian Crusaders in the Holy Land. When the Crusader capital of Jerusalem was lost to Saladin in 1187, the Haifa Bay port of Acre became the new landing site for European soldiers, knights, and horses as well as an international trading hub for the export of sugar, spices, glass, and textiles back to Europe. But by the spring of 1291, an Egyptian sultan, Al-Ashraf Khalil, had moved in with 100,000 cavalry and foot soldiers to banish the Crusaders from the Holy Land once and for all.

Marine archeologists have now discovered the remains of a treasure-laden Crusader ship that they have reason to believe was one of many vessels that tried to flee Acre when the sultan stormed the city, Haaretz reports. The wood on the ship dates back to between 1062 and 1250 A.D. but among the keel and planks that remain the archaeologists also discovered 30 gold coins.

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Bishop Pizzaballa’s pastoral visit to Cyprus: “Jerusalem is the symbol of our unity”

Posted on Mar 16, 2017

Myriam Ambroselli | Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem

CYPRUS – From March 11-13, 2017, Archbishop Pierbattista Pizzaballa, Apostolic Administrator of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, visited the Cyprus parishes, priests and Knights of the Holy Sepulcher. There were many moments of fraternity, sharing, and ecumenical interaction.

The two-day visit began with a Mass in the parish of Nicosia, one of the four Latin parishes of Cyprus. The small island of the Diocese of Jerusalem actually has three parishes run by the Franciscans (Nicosia, Larnaca and Limassol) and a parish run by the Community of the Incarnate Word in Paphos. Mass in the parish of Nicosia was an opportunity for the Archbishop to recall how “the Patriarchate includes different realities, Jordan and Cyprus, for example, but Jerusalem unites us, Jerusalem is the symbol of our unity.”

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An “invisible” Catholic organization celebrates 90 years of humanitarian work

Posted on Mar 16, 2017

A religious sister is seen comforting a sick woman in 2016 at Snehadam Old Age Home in Gurgaon, India. Catholic Near East Welfare Association is celebrating 90 years of service to Eastern Catholic churches and the poor in the Middle East, northeast Africa, India and Eastern Europe. (CNS photo/courtesy John E. Kozar, CNEWA)

Beth Griffin | Catholic News Service in America Magazine | March 15, 2017

An “invisible” Catholic organization celebrated 90 years of quiet service to the poor in the Middle East, northeast Africa, India and Eastern Europe.

Msgr. John E. Kozar, secretary of the Catholic Near East Welfare Association, said the agency maintains a low profile because it works through and with the local church.

“They know best how to represent the face of Christ. We trust their experience, holiness and knowledge about how to govern and care for their people,” he said in a Feb 28 interview with Catholic News Service.

The mission of the organization is to serve and accompany Eastern Catholic churches in pastoral and humanitarian activities, generally at the level of the diocese or eparchy, Msgr. Kozar said. A secondary mission is to share the needs of the Eastern churches with people in North America who may be confused about where Eastern churches fit in the larger Catholic picture.

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Urgent! Help protect Palestinian shepherds! Thursday at the Jordan Valley with Taayush

Posted on Mar 15, 2017

gush shalomAdam Keller of Gush Shalom writes:

A group of volunteers heads out every Thursday to the Jordan Valley, where the Israeli Occupation has been systematically demolishing Palestinian villages, restricting access to water supplies and grazing lands, and incessantly limiting Palestinian’s freedom of movement.

This coming Thursday, March 16, we will be heading again to our activity in several locations in the area, accompany Palestinian farmers and shepherds to their lands and help them stand up for their rights. 

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Iraqi refugees put pieces of their lives back together in ‘City of Mosaics’

Posted on Mar 14, 2017

Iraqi refugees apply mosaic skills gained within the Living Mosaic project in Madaba (Photo by Rula Samain)


By Rula Samain | The Jordan times | Mar 12,2017

MADABA — Aimed at helping people displaced by war and terror rebuild their lives, a project in the “City of Mosaics” is training Iraqi refugees with skills to face future challenges.

The Living Mosaic project in Madaba, 30km southwest of Amman, is financially supported by the Patriarchate of Jerusalem in cooperation with the Knights of the Holy Sepulcher of Germany, according to Father Imad Twal, a Catholic priest in Jerusalem.

The initiative teaches Iraqi refugees to design and craft mosaics in order to earn a living.

Nihad, not her real name, is one of thousands of Iraqi Christians who took refuge in Jordan after the Daesh terror group took over parts of Iraq in 2014, forcing them to leave their country or risk death.

“I used to be a biology teacher and I loved it. Now I am a refugee, broken, tired and very much desperate, and I say that on behalf of everyone I know,” the 37-year-old told The Jordan Times.

For Nihad and 15 others, life has become a little more bearable since joining the Living Mosaic project.

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Perhaps the Messiah Will Come

Posted on Mar 11, 2017

gush shalomby Uri Avnery

IF SOMEONE had told me 50 years ago that the rulers of Israel, Jordan and Egypt had met in secret to make peace, I would have thought that I was dreaming.

If I had been told that the leaders of Egypt and Jordan had offered Israel complete peace in return for leaving the occupied territories, with some exchanges of territory and a token return of refugees, I would have thought that the Messiah had come. I would have started to believe in God or Allah or whoever there is up there.

Yet a few weeks ago it was disclosed that the rulers of Egypt and Jordan had indeed met in secret last year with the Prime Minister of Israel in Aqaba, the pleasant sea resort where the three states touch each other. The two Arab leaders, acting de facto for the entire Arab world, had made this offer. Benyamin Netanyahu gave no answer and went home.

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Book on conditions of Christians in region launched

Posted on Mar 11, 2017

Panelists discuss the Arabic edition of Nael Gerges’ book ‘Christians of the Middles East: Towards Citizenship’ at the Orthodox Club in Amman last week (Photo by Rula Samain)

By Rula Samain | The Jordan Times | Mar 11,2017

AMMAN — Documenting the situation of Christians and their rights in four Arab countries, the Arabic edition of Nael Gerges’ book Christians of the Middles East: Towards Citizenship was launched in Amman on Tuesday.

The book discusses ways of improving the conditions of Christians in the region and creating a new Middle East based on religious and political pluralism, with the aim of minimizing Christian emigration.

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Swiss Guards Make Pilgrimage to the Holy Land

Posted on Mar 10, 2017

Holy Land Christians need to know they still have a lot to give to the Christians of the world. When pilgrims come from China, from South Africa, from Rome, it affirms that this place is special and that they are special.  –Franciscan Father David Grenier from the Custody of the Holy Land

Church of the Holy Sepulcher (Pixabay)

Michele Chabin | National Catholic Register | March 10, 2017

JERUSALEM — The first organized Holy Land pilgrimage in Pontifical Swiss Guard history quietly took place last month, with none of the attention the Pope’s foot soldiers ordinarily attract.

Dressed in their civilian clothes and not their distinctive orange-purple-and-red uniforms, 12 of the 110 guardsmen who protect the Pope toured Christian holy sites throughout Israel and the Palestinian territories Feb. 13-19.

“The main purpose of the trip was to learn more about the places where Jesus lived, where he preached, where he died and was resurrected,” said Father Thomas Widmer, the group’s chaplain, during a visit to the Pontifical Institute Notre Dame in Jerusalem. “For most of us, it is our first time here, and we are full of impressions.”

The pilgrimage included visits to Bethlehem, Jerusalem and the Galilean sites of Nazareth, Tabgha and Capernaum.

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WCC gravely concerned over Israel’s travel ban

Posted on Mar 9, 2017

Church in Bethlehem. ©Albin Hillert/WCC

World Council of Churches

March 9, 2017 -The World Council of Churches (WCC) today expressed grave concern about a new law passed on Monday by the Knesset which reportedly forbids granting entry visas to foreign nationals who call for economic, cultural or academic boycotts of either Israel or the Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories. The ‘Entry to Israel Act (Denial of Visa to Non-Residents Who Knowingly Call for a Boycott on Israel)’ apparently makes no distinction between boycotting Israel proper and boycotting products of the settlements, which are widely considered illegal under international law.

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A festive crowd in Bethlehem welcomed the victory of the young Christian Yacoub Shaheen

Posted on Mar 9, 2017

A festive crowd in Bethlehem to greet the victory of the young Christian Yacoub Shaheen

by Myriam Ambroselli | Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem | Feb. 27, 2017

BETHLEHEM – Hundreds of Palestinians rejoiced in the streets of Bethlehem on Saturday evening, February 25, 2017, after the victory of the young Christian singer, Shaheen Yacoub, who became second Palestinian to win the Arab TV contest, Arab Idol, one of the most popular programs of the Arab world, a competition for young talent.

Yacoub Shaheen, 23, a Syrian Christian and son of a Bethlehem carpenter, won Saturday night’s Arab Idol competition, competing with another Palestinian and a Yemeni in the final, in Lebanon.

Yacoub (in English, James), a young acolyte of the Syrian parish of Bethlehem, has been able to follow the star. He became the second Palestinian to win this prestigious competition, after Mohammed Assaf, in 2013, who grew up in a Palestinian refugee camp in the Gaza Strip.

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