28 June 2019
After a failed coup attempt in Ethiopia, the state-run television says hundreds have been arrested. (video: AfricaNews/YouTube)
Hundreds arrested in Ethiopia after failed coup attempt (Al Jazeera) Nearly 250 people have been arrested in Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa and the city of Bahir Dar since a coup attempt was foiled, the state-run Ethiopian Broadcasting Corporation reported on Thursday. The state broadcaster did not give any more details on who was arrested or when. But a party based in the northern region — the National Movement of Amhara (NAMA) — earlier said 56 of its members had been detained in Addis Ababa on Wednesday…
U.S. official: Christians in Iraq face uncertain future (CNA) The security of Christians in Northern Iraq remains “tenuous” and will require close attention in the future, the State Department’s religious freedom ambassador told members of Congress on Thursday…
Christians face new threats of persecution in Modi’s India (UCANews.com) With Prime Minister Narendra Modi starting his second term after leading his pro-Hindu Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to victory in India’s recent election, complaints of violence are growing from the country’s persecuted Christians. Christians face a new wave of threats from Hindu groups after the BJP retained its grip on power in May…
Anti-Syrian refugee sentiment rising in Lebanon (Al Jazeera) Anti-Syrian refugee sentiment is on the rise in Lebanon. The country has the highest number of refugees per capita and many blame their presence for its economic crisis. Rights groups say the government is now pressuring Syrians to return home by making it harder to stay...
Egypt’s Coptic Christians claim they are being shut out of football (EuroNews.com) Many call it the People’s Game, but in Egypt there are claims that football is not for everyone. Coptic Christians say they’re being shut out of the sport in the overwhelmingly Muslim country. Football coach Mina Bindari felt so strongly about the issue that he set up his own “Je Suis” football academy for Copts, to provide them with a path to advance in the sport…
27 June 2019
Tags: Ethiopia Iraqi Christians Coptic Christians Persecution
Michael Shami, a seminarian at the Pontifical North American College, is pictured during his ordination as a deacon at the college in Rome on 2 June 2019. Shami was ordained as a deacon using the Antiochene Syriac rite of the Maronite Catholic Church. (photo: CNS/Denis Nakkeeran)
Ancient tones of Syriac chant, columns of incense, ornate oriental vestments and bearded clerics filled the chapel of the Pontifical North American College in early June, creating a rare Middle Eastern atmosphere in the heart of the U.S. church’s flagship seminary in Rome.
The ordination of Michael Shami to the diaconate was the first at the NAC in more than 20 years to use the Antiochene Syriac rite of the Maronite Catholic Church. The new deacon said the ritual underlined the church’s universality for his fellow seminarians and highlighted treasures proper to one of the smallest and most ancient Christian churches.
In the Maronite tradition, “there are no great treatises like in the West with Aquinas,” Deacon Shami explained. “Its strength is in its liturgical contributions.”
For example, he said, in the ordination rite, “when the bishop is imposing his hands upon the candidate, he’s fluttering his hands, and the specific verb used there for the action of the Holy Spirit” is the same verb “used for the Holy Spirit hovering over the primordial waters in Genesis and the descent of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost.”
“Because typology is the primary mode of Syriac theology, it makes a very rich connection between biblical events and historical events and sacramental events and the general life of the believer,” Deacon Shami said.
While most of the altar servers were Latin-rite seminarians of the NAC, who wore their Latin cassocks and albs, many of them had spent three months learning to chant the Syriac prayers and preparing for the demanding liturgy.
“I didn’t see the hodgepodge” of East and West mixing “as an eyesore or lack of uniformity,” Deacon Shami said. “At the same altar, there was a Maronite deacon standing with a Byzantine priest leading him as his sponsor and Latin servers -- it kind of encapsulated the true universalism of the church and it was appropriate that it should happen in Rome.”
Preparing for Maronite ministry at a Latin seminary might be unusual, but Deacon Shami was confident it would help him to be a successful witness to his religious heritage in the United States.
“It provided me with an opportunity to try to communicate to a predominately Latin- or even Protestant-minded United States the value of the Eastern tradition in general, specifically our heavy reliance on patristics and sacramental mystagogy,” he said. “It taught me which idioms were helpful for communicating Eastern theology and which were not.”
Deacon Shami said that he had to put in extra effort to remain faithful to his Eastern spiritual heritage while at the Latin-rite NAC, but even those challenges bore fruit with his confreres.
“I would chant my own Office in my room,” Deacon Shami said, referring to the daily prayers of the Liturgy of the Hours. The other seminarians “hearing my voice, hearing me take such great love in my tradition in worshipping God, they themselves turned and looked more into the Western chant tradition.”
In other areas of life at the NAC, East and West did not mix so well. Fasting — not eating meat or dairy products — is at the heart of Eastern spiritual discipline and there are long periods of fasting throughout the liturgical year.
“It was very difficult to fast at the NAC. I tried my best, though,” he said, and there, too, it became an opportunity to share with the Latin-rite seminarians the idea of fasting as an ascetical practice.
The NAC also asked Deacon Shami not to wear his Eastern-style outer cassock, he said, because it would break up the uniformity of the seminarians’ attire. Other challenges were making time to visit Eastern-rite liturgies in Rome that would often conflict with the NAC’s schedule.
Deacon Shami is among the few young Maronite-rite seminarians in the United States. At 25, he is aware that his choice to remain faithful to the Christian heritage of his ancestors is counter-cultural. His own father, for instance, “Latinized” when he moved to the United States.
Like many U.S. immigrants from Lebanon, where the Maronite church is centered, “my father stopped attending (the Maronite liturgy) and simply started going to the local Latin parish” because it was more convenient.
As an adolescent, Deacon Shami said he took an interest in the Syriac language and developed his skills while an undergraduate at New York University.
“In my parish assignment last summer, I offered a free Syriac class and I had attendance of upward of 25-30 persons,” Deacon Shami said. “Even people of other backgrounds, with Italian last names, were coming” because Syriac is close to “the language Christ spoke.”
Deacon Shami completed his stint at the NAC in June and plans to visit Lebanon before returning to the United States for a parish assignment that will last until his priestly ordination in May 2020. As a new priest, he hopes to help revive Maronite traditions that have been lost.
A recent liturgical reform in the Maronite church “had a lot of simplification and elimination,” he said.
“One of them is when the priest elevates the host as he’s offering it, and he recounts all the great patriarchal sacrifices of old, from Abraham and Noah to David on the Threshing-Floor of Ornan,” Deacon Shami explained.
“The last sacrifice (the priest) mentions in this anamnesis is the sacrifice of the widow who puts the two pence in the treasury vault,” he said. “It really kind of encapsulates this idea that the greatest sacrifice, as St. Aphrahat says, is the sacrifice of the heart, and so the priest is asking that this sacrifice be akin to that sacrifice, the sacrifice of the widow.”
“Those kinds of prayers have been completely eliminated,” Deacon Shami said, because there was an assumption that many of them were “too complex” for people to understand.
“We need to have a reclamation of sorts,” Deacon Shami said.
27 June 2019
Tags: Maronite Catholic
CNEWA-Pontifical Mission marked 70 years of service to the church of Jerusalem with Mass at the chapel of the Notre Dame of Jerusalem Centre. (photo: CNEWA)
On 18 June 2019, our Jerusalem team marked 70 years of service to the peoples of the church of Jerusalem with a celebration of the Eucharist at the chapel of the Notre Dame of Jerusalem Centre. Archbishop Leopoldo Girelli, Apostolic Nuncio to Israel and Cyprus and Apostolic Delegate in Jerusalem and Palestine, presided. The solemn Mass was dedicated to all those who have served CNEWA-Pontifical Mission.
A special assembly was held after the liturgy. Regional Director Joseph Hazboun offered words of welcome to the guests, which included Mar Gabriel Dahho, Syriac Orthodox Bishop of Jerusalem; Bishop Boulos Marcuzzo of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem; Father Francesco Patton, Custos of the Holy Land; representatives of the Melkite Greek Catholic Church in Galilee and Jerusalem and the Syriac Catholic Church; priests, religious sisters, representatives of local Catholic aid organizations; and directors of partner institutions. The program included a short film highlighting the work of CNEWA-Pontifical Mission, a bagpipe performance of the Palestinian National Anthem by the Melkite Greek Catholic Scout Troop in Jerusalem and a Dabke dance performance by Siwar Association for Culture and Arts.
The Melkite Greek Catholic Scout Troop performed the Palestinian National Anthem on bagpipes after the liturgy. (photo: CNEWA)
The event marked, to the day, Pope Pius XII’s establishment of the Pontifical Mission for Palestine, an ad hoc committee founded to coordinate and deliver worldwide Catholic aid for Palestinian refugees displaced by the Arab-Israeli war of 1948. Placed by the pope under the direct administration of CNEWA, the Pontifical Mission’s activities have been expanded under succeeding pontiffs to include care for all those displaced by war and migration throughout the Middle East, as well as the support for the pastoral and humanitarian works of the churches of the region.
In collaboration with local Christian institutions, aid through our Jerusalem office has reached thousands of families, especially the most vulnerable, such as children and youth, the sick and the elderly, all of whom need basic services, especially in areas of the West Bank and Gaza Strip where resources are very limited. Over the years, the agency has also supported programs that help preserve Palestinian culture and heritage, and helped fund educational and formation initiatives for children, especially underserved communities in Palestine and Israel, including the children of migrants from Africa and Asia.
CNEWA-Pontifical Mission’s enduring presence in the Middle East is a tangible sign of the Holy Father’s sincere concern for the needy, the dispossessed, the refugee and the underprivileged.
To learn more about CNEWA-Pontifical Mission’s activities in the Middle East, please visit here.
27 June 2019
Tags: CNEWA Jerusalem CNEWA Pontifical Mission
A Catholic church destroyed by Islamic State militants in Karamdes, Iraq, is examined by a priest following the 2016 liberation of the predominantly Christian town. The U.S. State Department has released a new report detailing continued attacks against religious minorities around the world. (photo: CNS/courtesy Archdiocese of Irbil)
U.S. report documents attacks on religious freedom worldwide (CNS) The State Department’s newly released annual report on international religious freedom shows continued attacks and abuse by governments and societies against religious minorities in their respective countries…
Russian Orthodox Church plans ’Orthodox Vatican’ for Moscow (The Moscow Times) The Russian Orthodox Church has developed plans to construct its own Vatican to the tune of $2 billion in the Moscow region, the Vedomosti business daily reported on Thursday. Church officials have been in talks with officials in the city of Sergiyev Posad to transform it into the capital of Orthodoxy since 2017...
Gaza arson balloons spark 19 fires (The Times of Israel) Incendiary balloons launched from the Gaza Strip started 19 fires in southern Israel on Wednesday, according to authorities. The southern branch of the Fire and Rescue services said the blazes were quickly extinguished and that investigators determined they were started by arson balloons…
Catholics battle human trafficking in India (UCANews.com) The Global Slavery Index estimates that there are some eight million trafficking victims living in India, but the figure can vary according to definitions that are applied. For example, according to Indian government statistics, 8,132 cases of human trafficking were reported in 2016. Nonetheless, even the official figures indicated that the problem is getting worse as this constituted a 20 percent increase on 2015. Caritas-India in 2017 launched the ‘Swaraksha’ (self-defense) anti-human trafficking program near the Indo-Nepal border where most cases are reported…
Canadian-Indian development group with Sisters of St. Joseph offers support in rural India (Catholic Register) After 42 years of digging wells, setting up water purification systems, organizing villagers to demand better education, health care, roads and infrastructure, a little Canadian-Indian development agency estimates it has helped four million people live a better life in rural India…
Attacks threaten Ethiopia’s reforms (Reuters) The attacks, described by the government as part of a coup attempt in Amhara, highlight the dangers Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed faces as he rolls out ambitious reforms in Africa’s second most populous nation — a regional powerhouse whose economic boom is now threatened by deepening ethnic and regional fissures…
26 June 2019
Tags: India Gaza Strip/West Bank Russian Orthodox Church Persecution
Archbishop Elpidophoros of America stands with his crosier during his enthronement as the seventh archbishop of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America at the Cathedral of the Holy Trinity in New York City on 22 June. Also pictured are retired Metropolitan Avgoustinos of Germany and Archbishop Demetrios, who headed the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America from 1999 to 2019.
(photo: CNS/Dimitrois Panagos, courtesy GOA)
26 June 2019
In this image from 2016, women walk along a street in Asmara, Eritrea. Eritrea's Catholics are being asked to pray and fast in response to the government's move to close Catholic hospitals.
(photo: CNS/Thomas Mukoya, Reuters)
Eritrea’s faithful praying, fasting after closure of Catholic hospitals (Vatican News) Seventeen days of fasting and prayer. That’s what Eritrea’s Catholics are being asked to do in response to the government’s decision to nationalize all Church-run hospitals. Archbishop Abune Menghesteab Tesfamariam, of Asmara, announced the move in a letter dated 22 June. In his letter, the Archbishop condemned the decision to close Catholic-run health facilities, saying “only the Lord can console us and resolve our problems”…
Ethiopia’s chief of staff killed in failed coup plot (Vatican News) Security forces have deployed in strength across the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa. Internet access and some telephone circuits have been blocked. The personal bodyguard of General Seare Mekonnen — the chief of staff of the Ethiopian army — shot him dead after he and another officer attempted to prevent a coup against the administration in the northern Amhara region…
Thousands of refugees returning to Syria face prison, torture (NPR) President Bashar al-Assad has called on the millions of Syrians who’ve fled the brutal civil war to return home, but thousands who have come back end up imprisoned and often tortured…
Mob lynchings spread to India’s heartland (UCANews.com) The mob lynching of a Muslim man in India’s Jharkhand state shows religious hate is spreading to the peace-loving people in the tribal heartland, church leaders and tribal activists say. The death of 24-year-old Tabrej Ansari was the third incident in the state in two years and the latest in a series of such incidents at the hands of Hindu groups who want to make India a Hindu-only nation…
25 June 2019
Tags: Syria India Ethiopia Eritrea
Syriac Catholic bishops from around the world met for their annual synod in Lebanon last week, led by Syriac Catholic Patriarch Ignace Joseph III Younan. (photo: CNS/courtesy Syriac Catholic patriarchate)
Faced with the migration of Christians from Syria and Iraq, Syriac Catholic bishops meeting in Lebanon for their annual synod called upon church members “scattered everywhere in the East and West” to cling to their faith with hope so they “can be witnesses to the joy of the Gospel wherever they are.”
In a statement at the conclusion of the 17-22 June gathering led by Syriac Catholic Patriarch Ignace Joseph III Younan, the bishops acknowledged the suffering of the faithful in the face of “endless wars, persecutions, acts of violence, terrorism, displacement, murder and destruction, and the uprooting of a large number of nationals from the land of fathers and grandparents -- Syria and Iraq -- and their dispersion throughout the world.”
Yet the bishops stressed that they also are optimistic, “thanking God for the return of many displaced people to their villages” in Iraq and Syria.
The prelates noted that Christians “are an authentic component and founder in these two countries.” They called for solidarity among all citizens to build peace, hope and unity.
Synod participants came from dioceses and patriarchal and apostolic offices in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Egypt, the United States, Venezuela and Australia. They were joined by the patriarchal vicar in Rome.
In studying pastoral service in the countries where Syriac Catholics relocated -- primarily Europe, the Americas and Australia -- the bishops acknowledged the plight of migration “to the country of alienation and painful assimilation” and the importance of sending “priests of good quality.” They pointed to visits from the patriarch and bishops to Syriac Catholics worldwide in which the faithful were called “to preserve the deposit of faith and trust for their churches, the Syriac heritage and native lands.”
The bishops reiterated their demand to stop wars and “resolve disputes through dialogue and peaceful means, and to achieve a just, comprehensive and lasting peace.” They called for the return of all displaced persons, refugees and abductees to their homelands.
The synod also stressed “the right of the Palestinians to return to their homes and establish their state on their land,” emphasizing that Jerusalem “is a holy city for the followers” Christianity, Judaism and Islam.
They called on Lebanon’s president, prime minister “and all concerned” to find an immediate solution to the country’s economic recession and crisis in the housing sector that pushes Lebanese youth, in particular, to emigrate.
In their statement, the prelates welcomed efforts made “to obtain the official recognition of our Syriac Church in Jordan.”
They also praised the establishment of a Syriac Youth Meeting in Syria in early July and plans for a World Youth Meeting in 2021, which both follow the first World Youth Meeting in Lebanon in the summer of 2018. The bishops recommended such meetings be held in eparchies and other countries.
25 June 2019
Tags: Syriac Catholic Church Syriac Catholic Patriarch Ignatius Joseph III Younan
Security personnel investigate the scene of a bomb explosion on 9 April 2017, inside the Orthodox Church of St. George in Tanta, Egypt. The Holy See is calling for tolerance and inclusivity to combat terrorism against religion. (photo: CNS/Khaled Elfiqi, EPA)
Holy See urges tolerance to combat terrorism against religion (Vatican News) The Holy See is urging patience, perseverance, wisdom, courage and leadership in countering terrorism against every religion by fostering tolerance and inclusivity. ”I hope we will all become part of the short- and long-term solution,” Archbishop Bernardito Auza, the Holy See’s Permanent Observer to the United Nations in New York, urged on Monday at an event on countering terrorism and other acts of violence against all religious believers by fostering a culture of tolerance and inclusivity…
Iran president calls U.S. sanctions ’outrageous and idiotic’ (USA Today) Iran President Hassan Rouhani on Tuesday mocked President Donald Trump’s decision to impose “outrageous and idiotic” new sanctions, saying the effort to target top Iranian authorities reflects confusion at the White House…
Melkite bishops call for peace in Syria during synod (CNS) Melkite Catholic bishops from around the world, gathering in Lebanon for their annual synod, called for reconciliation and peace in Syria. In Syria, the war is almost over, but the horizon is unclear,” the bishops said in a statement following the 17-21 June gathering, which was led by Melkite Catholic Patriarch Joseph Absi…
The biggest displacement crisis that almost no one is talking about (Slate) The world’s largest new population of displaced people results from a conflict that has received shockingly little international attention: More than 1.5 million people were displaced by violence in Ethiopia last year, nearly all of them internally. This increase doubled the total number of displaced people in the country…
Indian cardinal celebrates Corpus Christi in Italy with a special chalice (Vatican News) Indian Cardinal Oswald Gracias, Archbishop of Mumbai, celebrated the solemnity of Corpus Christi in the Cathedral of Orvieto, Italy, on Sunday, bringing along with him a precious chalice where it originated over five decades ago. For the occasion, a delegation from Mumbai Archdiocese brought the “Golden Lily” chalice which Pope St. Paul VI had gifted the archdiocese when he visited the western Indian city in December 1964…
24 June 2019
Tags: India Ethiopia Holy See Melkite
CNEWA’s ONE magazine took home top honors from the Catholic Press Association at its annual awards last week.
CNEWA’s flagship publication, ONE, took home top honors at the Catholic Media Conference in St. Petersburg, Florida, last week.
The magazine was named Magazine of the Year (Mission Magazine category) at the Catholic Press Association Awards, and won 26 others in a wide range of categories including writing, photography, blogging and design.
In addition, the magazine’s publisher, Msgr. John E. Kozar, received the prestigious Bishop John England Award, which annually honors a publisher who has been a staunch defender of press freedom.
In one magazine category, Best Layout or Article Column, CNEWA’s graphic designer Paul Grillo swept all the awards — and also won second place in the All Member Awards for Graphic Artist/Designer of the Year.
Citing the overall quality of the magazine, the judges praised the “great work” of the staff, cited the “excellent” layouts, singled out the “beautiful, informative coverage” and made a point to underscore the “exceptional journalism” that has become a hallmark of the publication.
The judges included faculty from Spring Hill College, Loyola University, Marquette University and media professionals and journalists from around the country.
A complete list of the awards can be found below, with links to the winning stories:
Magazine/Newsletter of the Year (Mission Magazines)
Best Layout or Article Column (Mission Magazines): This, Our Exile by Paul Grillo
Best Feature Article (Mission Magazines): For I Was in Prison by Don Duncan
Best Reporting on a Special Age Group: Windows to the World by Mark Raczkiewycz
Best Writing — In-Depth: Confronting Abuse of Women in Georgia by Molly Corso
Best Multiple Picture Package — Feature: This, Our Exile by Petterik Wiggers
Best Single Photo, Color: Thoroughfare in Mai-Aini refugee camp by Petterik Wiggers
Best Electronic Newsletter: “Discover ONE Online”
Graphic Artist/Designer of the Year: Paul Grillo
Best Blog — Group or Association: One-to-One by CNEWA Staff
Best Layout or Article Column (Mission Magazines): ‘For I Was in Prison’ by Paul Grillo
Best Coverage — Immigration:
Inspiring the Faithful in Jordan by Dale Gavlak
This, Our Exile by Emeline Wuilbercq
A Refuge in Lebanon by Doreen Abi Raad
Best Feature Article (Mission Magazines): This, Our Exile by Emeline Wuilbercq
Best Writing — In-Depth: A Source of Light by Gayane Abrahamyan
Best Multiple Picture Package — Feature: Windows to the World by Ivan Chernichkin
Best Layout or Article Column (Mission Magazines): A Letter From Iraq by Paul Grillo
Best Coverage — Ecumenical/Interfaith Issues:
Defining ‘Christian’ in Palestine by Samar Hazboun
‘For I Was in Prison’ by Don Duncan
Healing the Forgotten by Anubha George
Best Reporting of Social Justice Issues — Option for the Poor and Vulnerable: Healing the Forgotten by Anubha George
Best Cover, Color: ONE magazine, June 2018 by Paul Grillo and Nazik Armenakyan
Best Online Content Not Published in Print: CNEWA Connections by Elias D. Mallon, S.A., Ph.D.
Best Essay (Mission Magazines): A Letter From Iraq by Sister Clara Nacy
Best Reporting of Social Justice Issues — Option for the Poor and Vulnerable: Confronting Abuse of Women in Georgia by Molly Corso
Best Reporting of Social Justice Issues — Solidarity: Signs of Hope by Magdy Samaan
Best Reporting of Social Justice Issues — Life and Dignity of the Human Person: Windows to the World by Mark Raczkiewycz
Best Story and Photo Package: This, Our Exile by Emeline Wuilbercq and Petterik Wiggers
Best Writing — In-Depth: A Refuge to Mend and Grow by Anubha George
Best Multiple Picture Package — Feature: For I Was in Prison by Don Duncan
24 June 2019
Tags: CNEWA Catholic Press
In this image from 2018, Pope Francis greets Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople outside the Basilica of St. Nicholas in Bari, Italy. Continuing a longstanding custom, the Ecumenical Patriarch will send a delegation to Rome this week to mark the feast of Sts. Peter and Paul.
(photo: CNS/Vatican Media)
Ecumenical Patriarch’s delegation to visit Rome (Vatican News) An official delegation from the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople in Istanbul, Turkey, will be in Rome, 27-29 June, on the occasion of the feast of Sts. Peter and Paul, 29 June. St. Peter, the first ?bishop of Rome, ?and St. Paul, the Apostle of the Gentiles, were both martyred in Rome and are patrons of the Eternal City. Their feast is a holiday both in Rome and in the Vatican. Each year, the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the Vatican send delegations for the feasts of their respective patrons. The Vatican sends a delegation to Istanbul on the 30 November feast of St. Andrew, the patron of the Patriarchate…
Tent collapse kills 14 at Hindu event in India (Vatican News) Locals in the Barmer district of India’s northwestern state of Rajasthan were gathered on Sunday for a Hindu religious event that took place during heavy rain and a thunderstorm. Video footage showed the man leading the event, Murlidhar Maharaj, shouting for the assembly to disperse, as wind could be heard rattling the venue. Witnesses said a stampede-like situation followed…
Russian Orthodox Church reconsiders blessing of missiles (The Telegraph) The Russian Orthodox Church is reconsidering the popular practice of priests blessing weapons including nuclear missiles. A document drafted by a commission on church law last week recommended that clergy perform benedictions for soldiers rather than military equipment…
UN warns of humanitarian disaster in Syria’s Idlib (Al Jazeera) In Syria, the devastation of continued air raids on Idlib is being laid bare. Nearly 500 civilians — many of them women and children — have been killed since the Russia-backed Syrian government offensive began nine weeks ago…
Iran faces new U.S. sanctions, threatens to shoot down another drone (CBS News) President Trump planned to unveil new sanctions against Iran on Monday as the U.S. and Iran traded more threats of military action. The tension could reach a new high with the expected sanctions, the latest response from Washington to Iran’s shooting down of a U.S. spy drone. Iran insists the drone and an accompanying U.S. manned military plane violated its airspace, but the Pentagon says the aircraft remained over international waters…
Conflict between Christians, Muslims in Ethiopia over planned mosque (BBC) For Ethiopia’s Orthodox Christians, the ancient city of Aksum is a sacred place, home to the Biblical Queen of Sheba and Ark of the Covenant. The ark is believed to contain the 10 commandments handed down to Moses by God, and is said to be under the guard of monks in the city. Some Muslim groups are campaigning to build a mosque in the city — a suggestion rejected by Christian leaders, saying they would rather die…
Tags: Syria India Ethiopia Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I