Elias Chacour on Relationships in the Middle East

Posted on Nov 14, 2016

At the 2007 Presbyterian Global Fellowship Conference, Father Elias Chacour, Palestinian peace activitst and Archbishop of Galilee of the Melkite Catholic Church, speaks to American Christians about relationships with Jews and Christians in the Middle East. It is worth listening to this 52-minute video again.

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Palestinian Christians write Annunciation Icon in one of England’s prestigious medieval cathedrals

Posted on Nov 4, 2016

Palestinian Christians write Annunciation Icon in one of England’s prestigious medieval cathedrals

by Saher Kawas, Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem | Photos: ©BIC – ©Chris Lockwood

ENGLAND – During the Summer of 2016, three Palestinian students from the Bethlehem Icon Centre (BIC) participated in writing two Icons of the Annunciation in Lichfield, UK. The Icons are displayed in the nave of Lichfield Cathedral, one of England’s prestigious medieval cathedrals.

Repairing books in Library

The Lichfield Annunciation: Palestinian apostles sharing their deeply rooted Christian art

The project, entitled The Lichfield Annunciation, was brought to fruition as a result of the partnership between the Bethlehem Icon Centre in Palestine and the Very Rev. Adrian Dorbar, the Dean and Chapter of the Lichfield Cathedral.

The three Palestinians; Nicola Juha, Noura Sleibi and Loris Matar, all hailing from the city of Bethlehem, took pride in the Christian art that they brought from the Holy Land and were honored to contribute to the Cathedral’s 1,500-year spiritual heritage. “This project means a lot to me as a Palestinian Christian,” Noura explained. “There we proclaimed the word of God through the Icon of the Annunciation, which is now a part of the Cathedral’s heritage”.

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Sister Monika from Jerusalem, witness of unity close to the sick

Posted on Nov 1, 2016

She draws her strength from the communion of saints.

Sister Monika from Jerusalem, witness of unity close to the sick

by François Vayne, Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre

JERUSALEM – Thanks to the support of the Order of the Holy Sepulchre, the Saint-Louis Hospital in Jerusalem has been able to meet regulations and avoid closure; new double bedrooms, each with a restroom, and a new large ‘Kosher’ kitchen. The director of this establishment gives testimony of her activity in persevering in the service of interreligious dialogue near to the suffering, and of her spiritual commitment in following Christ.

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Updates from Gaza: a day-by-day support through many projects

Posted on Oct 29, 2016

Photo : © Andres Bergamini

GAZA – Interview with Sami El-Yousef, regional director of the Catholic Near East Welfare Association for Palestine and Israel.

Sami El-Yousef, you are the Regional Director of CNEWA – Pontifical Mission in Jerusalem. Could you tell us more about the history of this organization and its present-day action in the Holy Land?

The Mission was established in 1949 by Pope Pius XII as a temporary mission to aid the Palestinian people, 750.000 of whom became refugees as Israel was created in 1948. Of significance is that 30 percent of all Christians of the Holy Land became refugees then. In the first 20 years of operation, the Mission was mostly involved with the distribution of humanitarian aid and supplies. Thereafter and when it became clear that the refugee issue is becoming a long term one, the mandate was expanded to provide more sustainable support and thus the main focus became to aid the local churches in supporting communities, mostly in education, health, and social services. Pastoral support through the local churches continues to play an important element.

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Extremism, dialogue and peace are focus of Christian-Muslim joint communiqué

Posted on Oct 27, 2016

151126 World Council of Churches logo

World Council of Churches – Interreligious dialogue and cooperation provided the basis of talks on 30 September and 1 October 2016 addressing the theme “Towards an Integrated World,” a series of high-level discussions among the Muslim Council of Elders led by the Grand-Imam of Al-Azhar, based in Cairo, and representatives of the World Council of Churches (WCC), its member churches and ecumenical partners including the Lutheran World Federation.

The joint meeting at the Ecumenical Centre in Geneva was followed by a public lecture at the WCC Ecumenical Institute in Bossey, Switzerland, where the Grand Imam spoke on “The Role of Religious Leaders in Achieving World Peace.”

Photo: Peter Williams/WCC

A joint communiqué adopted by participants in the Geneva sessions pledged a continuation of practical cooperation among religious communities.

The statement added: “The overriding concern of the meeting was peace, and particularly the role of religions, religious leaders and faith-based organizations in creating a culture of peace and practices of peacemaking. As children of Abraham, we agree that humanity was created to share the gifts of love and compassion, peace and mercy, honesty and sincerity.”

At the end of the meeting, both parties agreed to continue and convene a following meeting in 2017 in Cairo, Egypt.

Read full text of the joint communiqué of 01 October 2016

Download high resolution photos from the joint meeting

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Thirty-five children join the “Scouts and Guides of France” adventure

Posted on Oct 26, 2016

Thirty-five children join the “Scouts and Guides of France” adventure.

by Cécile Klos, Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem

JERUSALEM – Recently, a group of “Scouts and Guides of France” was initially launched in Jerusalem.   The first gathering took place on September 24 and was attended by 35 children and adolescents in the gardens of Maison d’Abraham

Shortly before summer, the idea of establishing this group was initiated by French parents: “A scout group gathered some French and English-speaking children in recent years and had to stop with the departure of the responsible leaders. It was thought necessary for the group to continue.  There are already several locally existing Scout groups but there was a language constraint for the young people who wanted to be Scouts. There was a high demand among the French-speaking children and parents.  The French parents were ready to be involved and take the initiative to revive the Scouts group.”

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Book Review | America’s War for the Greater Middle East: A Military History

Posted on Oct 25, 2016

Reviewed by Roger Bergman* in America Magazine, the National Catholic Review, October 3, 2016

Andrew Bacevich is clear about what he hopes to accomplish in America’s War for the Greater Middle East: A Military History. He will link “aims to actions to consequences” regarding the role of the U.S. military from 1980 to the present. Bacevich, a 1969 graduate of West Point who served 23 years before retiring as a colonel, and who recently retired from teaching diplomatic history at Boston University, does not shy away from expressing his own conclusions about this war in the Islamic world, now in its fourth decade. “We have not won it. We are not winning it. Simply trying harder is unlikely to produce a different outcome.”

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‘We have faced the mercy of God’ – An interview with Cardinal Koch

Posted on Oct 24, 2016

Orthodox churches of the East and the Roman Catholic Church in the West

1K 0 1K Cardinal Kurt Koch, President of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity. Credit: Daniel Ibáñez/CNA.


By Paul Badde

Rome, Italy, Sep 28, 2016 / 12:34 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Hundreds of years before Martin Luther broke away from the Roman Catholic Church and the Pope in the western world, the Great Eastern Schism created a division between Rome and Constantinople.

The split of Christianity in the Orthodox churches of the East and the Roman Catholic Church in the west was formally completed in the year 1054. On December 7, 1965, Pope Paul VI in Rome and the ecumenical Patriarch Athenagoras in Istanbul terminated the mutual excommunications “from memory and from the midst of the Church” and committed them “to oblivion.”

But efforts toward healing have taken place.

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The Franciscan Order calls for ending hostilities in Aleppo, Syria

Posted on Oct 20, 2016

A look at the Syrian city of Aleppo

The Catholic Center for Studies and Media in Jordan, October 4, 2016 – Franciscan Minister General Fr. Michael Perry, alongside the superior of the Franciscans based in Syria and Custos of the Holy Land Fr. Francesco Patton, on Tuesday, October 4, issued a statement calling on the international community to take the necessary measures to help bring relief to the people of Aleppo.

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The Holy Synod of the Syriac Orthodox Church demands peaceful and immediate resolutions to the wars of the region

Posted on Oct 19, 2016

Syrian Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch

Patriarchal Residence – Atchaneh, Lebanon, October 1, 2016

At the invitation of His Holiness Mor Ignatius Aphrem II, Patriarch of Antioch and All the East and the Supreme Head of the Universal Syriac Orthodox Church, the Holy Syriac Orthodox Synod of Antioch convened from September 27 to October 1st, 2016.

The members of the Holy Synod, discussed the matters listed on the agenda. The most important matters discussed are:

1- The situation of Christians in the Middle East and the persecution which they face as well as forced migration due to the war in Syria and Iraq. The Fathers prayed for peace in Syria, Lebanon and Iraq. They urged the International Community to seriously seek immediate peaceful solutions for the conflicts, and to work hard to liberate the two abducted Archbishops of Aleppo Boulos Yaziji and Mor Gregorius Youhanna Ibrahim, who are forcefully kept away from us and from their Archdioceses. Moreover, the Fathers demanded the international organizations to help Christians remain in their homeland and live in dignity. They urged the Syriac faithful to remain in the Middle East and expressed their commitment to help their people in all possible ways to live in dignity, preserving their roots in the land of the forefathers. The Fathers affirmed the importance of the ecumenical relations among the churches and the Christian-Muslim dialogue that deepen the peaceful coexistence based on the principle of equal citizenship. Therefore, it was decided to convene a conference in which the Fathers of the Holy Synod will participate as well as selected specialists and experts in politics, economy, and social sciences who will be invited from the different Archdioceses of the Church throughout the world. The conference will study and discuss the current situation and the future of Christians in general and Syriacs in particular, in the Middle East.

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