Posts made in November, 2016

New Catholic Relief Services’ chairman has strong Middle East focus

Posted on Nov 29, 2016

Bishop Gregory J. Mansour will be the next chairman of Catholic Relief Services. “I have seen firsthand the suffering of Christians and others violently forced from their homes in the Middle East,” he said. “But it is heartening to see the compassionate work that CRS continues to do in the midst of chaos.”

(Credit: CNS/courtesy Jeffrey Bruno, EWTN.)

Catholic News Agency, November 28, 2016

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Bishop Gregory John Mansour, a Maronite bishop with experience in Middle East issues, will be the next chairman of Catholic Relief Services, the foreign aid arm of the U.S. bishops.

“It is my honor and privilege to be appointed as chairman of the CRS board of directors,” Mansour said on November 22. “As a member of the CRS board, I’ve witnessed CRS’s tremendous work among the most vulnerable.

“I have seen firsthand the suffering of Christians and others violently forced from their homes in the Middle East. Witnessing their plight was difficult, but it is heartening to see the compassionate work that CRS continues to do in the midst of chaos.”

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Religious freedom report highlights threat of ‘Islamic hyper-extremism’

Posted on Nov 29, 2016

A new report from the papal charity Aid to the Church in Need finds a mounting spiral of violence and persecution for religious reasons around the world, including what it describes as the lethal impact of the rise of “Islamist hyper-extremism.”

Young Christians in the Middle East march in protest against persecution by ISIS. (Credit: AP.)

Inés San Martín, Vatican Correspondent, Crux, November 28, 2016

ROME- “Why don’t you talk about us? Because we’re not European?”

This was the challenging question posed by Sister Guadalupe Rodrigo, an Argentine-born missionary in the Middle East to hundreds gathered last April in the Roosevelt Hotel in New York for the #WeAreN2016 congress, dedicated to the theme of anti-Christian persecution.

“Do you remember the attacks in Paris? The reaction of the people was spectacular, the media, the social networks…It happened on a Friday. Imagine there was another attack on Saturday. And then one on Sunday,” she said. “Imagine what the reaction would have been.”

“This happens every day in Syria,” she deadpanned.

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Seven-million-piece Mosaic Uncovered in Jericho after 80 Years

Posted on Nov 29, 2016

Hisham’s Palace is one more part of this history, making Jericho a crossroads of Islam, Christianity, and Judaism in the West Bank.

The huge mosaic lies in the bath house at Hisham's Palace, five kilometers north of the West Bank city of Jericho.

by Oren Liebermann, CNN, November 29, 2016

Jericho, West Bank (CNN)The beauty of the mosaic is only overshadowed by its size.

Seven million mosaic stones, each less than one square centimeter, cover the floor of the main hall of Hisham’s Palace in Jericho, West Bank.

For years, this work of art remained hidden, but last month it was briefly uncovered ahead of being officially opened to the public. The mosaic was first discovered in 1935 by Palestinian archaeologist Dimitri Baramki and the British archaeologist Robert Hamilton — but had been buried under sand to protect it from erosion.

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“Building Bridges” : Scouting for a better relationship between communities

Posted on Nov 29, 2016

“Building Bridges” : scouting for a better relationship between the communities

AMMAN – The International Catholic Conference of Scouting for the Europe Mediterranean Region was held in Amman from the 24th till the 27th of November at the center Our Lady of Peace, under the theme “Building Bridges”. Fr. Imad Twal, General Administrator of the Latin Patriarchate, who conducted the first session of the meeting, explained how peace is not only a concept but also an aspect of culture and how the scouts can make a difference in the region for a better coexistence. Below the full text of his intervention.

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Christian heritage site found ransacked after monastery retaken from ISIS

Posted on Nov 29, 2016

ISIS issued an ultimatum to Christians: pay a tax, convert to Islam, or die by the sword.

The Mar Behnam Christian monastery near Mosul, Iraq. . (photo credit:REUTERS)

By REUTERS \ November 22, 2016

KHIDIR ILYAS, Iraq – The history pages of Iraq’s Christian community lie in charred fragments on the floor of a fourth-century monastery near Mosul which Islamic State militants ransacked during a two-year occupation that ended over the weekend.

The jihadists at the Mar Behnam monastery burned a collection of books about Christian theology, scraped off inscriptions written in Syriac – the language used by Jesus [sic] – and demolished sculptures of the Virgin Mary and the monastery’s patron saint.

They removed the site’s crosses and tried to erase any mention of Behnam, the son of an Assyrian king who, according to popular legend, built the monastery as penance for killing both his children after they converted to Christianity.

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Underground Church movement grows in Iran despite regime’s efforts

Posted on Nov 29, 2016

Christians in Iran are being driven to worship in secret house churches, and even there, they may face arrest. (Reuters)

By Perry Chiaramonte | November 28, 2016 | Fox News

Despite the Iranian regime’s best efforts to stop the spread of Christianity, a large underground church movement is growing.

Hundreds of Iranian citizens have been converting to Christianity, and many are being baptized in large ceremonies in underground churches held in private homes across the country. This month, Christian ministry ELAM estimated that more than 200 Iranian and Afghans were secretly baptized in a service just across the Iranian border.

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In Syrian monastery, priest who escaped ISIS sees signs of hope

Posted on Nov 29, 2016

Father Jacques Mourad, who escaped from Islamic State. Credit: Terre Sainte Mag.

Father Jacques Mourad,SJ, who escaped from Islamic State. Credit: Terre Sainte Mag.

By Andrea Gagliarducci

Homs, Syria, Nov 27, 2016 / 06:48 am (CNA/EWTN News).- The fourth-century saint Mar Elian’s relics survived the Islamic State’s destruction of the Syrian monastery that bears his name, and a priest who escaped captivity says these are among the signs of hope for Syria.

“In Mar Elian, we have always hoped to welcome everyone. Mar Elian was really a sign of hope for the Syrian people,” Jesuit Fr. Jacques Mourad told CNA. “Everything changed when I was taken hostage. But we can still build something. We must, however, await the end of this war.”

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Religious Leaders’ Summit for Peace in the Middle East: “Religion can no longer be an obstacle”

Posted on Nov 28, 2016

Photo © Communication Office of the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs

by Myriam Ambroselli | Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem

ALICANTE – An interreligious meeting was held on November 14-16, 2016 in Spain, which brought together Jewish, Christian, and Muslim religious leaders. At the heart of the debate was the responsibility of religious leaders in the construction of peace in the Middle East. They reiterated their appeal against violence and incitement to hatred between religions.

“Relentlessly seek peace in the Holy Land”: at a time of extreme religious and political tensions between Israelis and Palestinians, a group of Jewish, Christian, and Muslim community leaders gathered in Spain for a three-day meeting, at the conclusion of which a joint denunciation against violence and incitement was issued.

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What Reformation Means in Palestine

Posted on Nov 28, 2016

World Council of ChurchesBishop Munib Younan of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land speaks about the significance of the Protestant Reformation for Christians in Palestine today. Freedom, education, gender justice, transformation and orientation towards the neighbour are topics that spring to his mind.

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Inauguration and Blessing of Saint Rachel Center in Jerusalem

Posted on Nov 28, 2016

Inauguration and Blessing of Saint Rachel Center in Jerusalem

Vivien Laguette | Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem

JERUSALEM – The Apostolic Administrator of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, Archbishop Pierbattista Pizzaballa, blessed St. Rachel Center for Children on Thursday, November 10, 2016, in the presence of many children.

The new St. Rachel Center, which opened on September 1, 2016 2016, welcomes children of migrants, from the early months until the age of 12, and supports their healthy development. Its ultimate goal is to enable children to integrate into the Israeli society: learning the rhythm of life and teaching in Hebrew.

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